For the first time, in Europe, diesel vehicles sales have fallen behind that of electric vehicles. More than 20% of new vehicles sold in all 18 European markets including the UK consist of electric vehicles according to Matthias Schmidt, an EV analyst from Berlin.
From the data collected for Financial Times by Matthias Schmidt, December 2021 saw a record sales volume of 175,000 electric vehicle units sold that constitutes to about 20.4% of all passenger vehicles across Western Europe. In all the 18 markets of Europe, 11.2% of all the new cars sold were pure electric BEVs. This is a 4.2% increase from that of the previous year.
With Volkswagen’s dieselgate scandal and more pure electric models being introduced, 2021 December saw a fall in sales (161,000 units) of the diesel-fuelled vehicles that were previously known for their superior fuel economy. This 18.7% penetration only persists with a slowly dwindling interest in markets like Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, and Southern Europe.
“The diesel death march has been playing on repeat since September 2015 when ‘Dieselgate’ was first unveiled — causing VW to draw up the first plans of the ID.3 within 30 days of the scandal coming to light,” said Schmidt.
Volkswagen has remained the top producer of electric vehicles in Europe and sold more than 310,000 battery-powered models in 2021, out of the 3.5 million units in total.
Additionally, with the government backing low-emission vehicles by the announcements of generous subsidies, EV sales are gradually gaining pace in the run against fossil fuel-run automobiles. The OEMs were forced to favour higher-emitting but more profitable models, due to the ongoing semiconductor crisis, that had to be offset by BEVs in order to reach CO2 compliance.
Daniel Clarke, Automotive Analyst at GlobalData commented, “There has been a clear focus on the demand-side, with incentives, infrastructure and charging stations, however, much more focus should be given to the supply side, specifically ensuring that the EU is not dependent on China for batteries or battery metals.”
According to the report by Matthias Schmidt in his Automotive Research, 2022 can expect further growth in sales of BEV units, especially with Tesla’s new facility in Germany. The Tesla Model Y made up almost 40% of all the BEVs registered in Western Europe last year.
To reach the CO2 targets, European manufacturers will only increase the sales volume in the future. This will be in result of them choosing to promote the SUVs that cause heavier pollution during the semiconductor shortage. Germany is Europe’s largest car market and sees an uncertain future in the resale of diesel vehicles with the new government’s intention to increase the tax credits for diesel.
Christian Dahlheim, Head of Sales, Volkswagen Group said, “The sources of income will progressively shift further from conventional petrol engines to zero-emissions electric cars and from sales of vehicles to software and mobility services, underpinned by the key technology of autonomous driving.”