BEVs make up just 1.2pc of EU cars

Heavy focus is put on share of new sales, but the share of EVs of total European fleet tells a different story

BEVs make up just 1.2pc of EU cars
EV share of new car sales does not tell the whole story

BEVs make up only just over one in a hundred cars on Europe's roads, despite their much higher share of new sales, according to a new report from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, or Acea. The findings show that rising all-electric sales are still not yet significantly displacing ICE cars in Europe's parc.

Through a combination of factors — not least that cars might have a lifespan of 15 years or more and European BEV sales across the 2010s as a whole were negligible — the c.15pc BEV market share of new sales does not map to a similar share of total cars on the road.

"Despite battery electric cars now being the third most-popular choice for new car buyers, with a market share of almost 15pc of sales, they only represent 1.2pc of vehicles on EU roads," the report finds.

Acea further finds that the average age of cars in the continent is increasing, meaning that, as much as EVs might gain share of the new car sales market, the influence of preceding years when their penetraion was extremely low is also not receding quickly.

"The data underlines the fact that it can take several years, even decades, for older vehicles to be replaced by newer ones equipped with cleaner and greener technologies," Acea says.

And Acea is wary that an increasing average age of cars could lead to a scenario where rather than replacing older polluting vehicles, new EVs may only be supplementing them on the roads.

"The car continues to build on its popularity as an important means of transport, as the number of cars per 1,000 inhabitants grew yet again," Acea says. "There [were] 252mn cars on EU roads in 2022, a 1pc increase from the previous year."

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Only six European countries have higher than a 2pc share of battery electric vehicles on the road. Norway leads the way with 20.8pc of its parc being BEV, followed by Iceland at 7.3pc, with Denmark and Sweden both on 4pc.

Of all vehicle types, buses lead the way, but with only just under a 2pc share being battery electric.

"The report demonstrates that, while legislative targets can help steer change, this is only part of the puzzle for decarbonising road transport. Europe needs a broader set of framework conditions, such as charging infrastructure and purchase and tax incentives, to stimulate demand for new models and replenish vehicles on Europe’s roads with the cleanest and greenest models," Acea concludes.

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