Electric Cars Overtake Diesels in Europe in 2021

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【Summary】This new data only focuses on all-electric vehicles and not electrified cars like hybrids and plug-in hybrids. It marks the first time battery-powered electric cars have outsold diesels in Europe.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Mar 01, 2022 3:00 PM PT
Electric Cars Overtake Diesels in Europe in 2021

Quite a few European drivers have decided to make the switch to an electrified vehicle. In September 2020, we heard that electrified vehicles, which include electric vehicles, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids, outsold diesel-powered cars in Europe. Now, the Financial Times reports that all-electric vehicles outsold diesel-powered vehicles in Europe for the first time in December 2021 across 18 different European countries.

EVs Push Diesels Out

The new data reveals that car buyers purchased 176,000 new electric cars in Western Europe compared to 160,000 diesels last month. That figure means electric cars accounted for 20 percent of the market share of all vehicles. While it may not seem like a big deal for people in the U.S., diesel remains a popular choice for drivers in Europe because of the subsidies for the fuel. In Europe, owners of diesel-powered vehicles pay a cheaper fuel tax compared to gasoline.

With European nations offering more incentives on electric vehicles, more consumers are moving toward all-electric cars. Additionally, quite a few nations in Europe have come out with bans on the sale of new gas- and diesel-powered cars as soon as 2030 in some areas. There are a few automakers that have introduced plans to stop selling gas-powered vehicles in Europe, too. Some consumers may want to get a head start on learning and getting used to how EVs work before the ban kicks in.

While sales of EVs are growing in Europe, they aren't taking off in a similar fashion in the U.S. In Europe, electric cars made up roughly 14 percent of all new vehicle sales in 2021 reports banking and financial services company ING. In the U.S., electric cars made up just 4 percent of all vehicles sold in 2021.

Will EVs Become Popular In America?

European consumers have a lot more electric options to choose from than consumers in America. While electric vehicles in Europe don't have the same amount of range as ones found in America, they're smaller and more affordable.

Electric cars could become more popular in the U.S. once President Biden implements stricter fuel economy standards for the country. The Biden administration has also outlined ways to increase the sale of EVs in the country and lofty goals of having 50 percent of new vehicles sold in the country by 2030 to be powered by batteries.

In the country, California is one of the few that matches Europe the best with a plan to ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035. We'll have to wait and see if these changes push consumers toward EVs, but other factors that need to be considered include charging stations, range, and price.

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