The European car market is increasingly electrified, although petrol and diesel vehicles remain the dominant ones. Data emerging from a report by Acea – the association of European manufacturers – which highlights that in 2021, hybrid cars accounted for 19.6% of all new registrations in the EU, compared to 11.9% in 2020. Even rechargeable vehicles – therefore electric and plug-in hybrids – recorded a strong increase in sales, constituting 18% of the registrations, up from a share of 10.5% in 2020.
At the same time, the downturn in the auto market negatively impacted both diesel and gasoline vehicles. However, in 2021 cars powered by conventional fuels still dominated in terms of market share, accounting for 59.6% of all new registrations: petrol cars are worth 40% of the total, while 19.6% do. diesel.
It is worthwhile, however, to analyze the trend of the last quarter of 2021 as well, with registrations of petrol and diesel cars that recorded double-digit drops: petrol ones decreased by 33.5% to 778,450 units. As a result, the share of gasoline fell from 40.6% in the last quarter of 2020 to 35.8% in the same period of 2021. It was worse for diesel, which suffered an even stronger thud (-50.9 %), going from 729,446 units in the last part of 2020 to 358,083 units in the last quarter of 2021: the share of diesel therefore fell from 25.3% in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 16.5% last year .
In contrast, in the last quarter of 2021, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) recorded the strongest growth (+ 24.9%) of all types of fuel, with a total of 309,598 units across the EU. Sales of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), on the other hand, fell 1.8% in the fourth quarter. Looking at the full-year results, PHEV registrations increased 70.7%, from 507,917 units in 2020 to 867,092 last year. Battery electric vehicles recorded similar growth (+ 63.1%) throughout 2021, from 538,734 to 878,432 cars sold.
Hybrid vehicles (HEV, a category that includes the “mild” and “full” hybrid models) reported a modest increase (+ 0.4%) in the last three months of the year. With 439,172 units sold, hybrids accounted for 20.2% of the market in the fourth quarter. In the course of 2021, registrations of hybrid cars increased by an impressive 60.5%, (1,901,239 units), outpacing diesels by a whisker (1,901,191).