Over the past month, demand for diesel has dropped, gasoline has found new fans, but the biggest news is that sales of alternative fuel vehicles – the term used to denote hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric cars – has surged across the European Union to represent 5.5% of all vehicle sales during October.
According to Jato Dynamics, despite ongoing financial uncertainty within Europe, October was a very good moth for car sales with 1 202 877 vehicles registered, a 5.6% improvement on October 2016’s figures and the best October in terms of sales since 2009.
Furthermore, if sales continue at this rate then 2017 is shaping up to be another big year for car companies. Jato forecasts a 3.6% improvement over 2016.
However, it’s the mix of vehicles making up those record sales that’s the big news. After a 20-year+ love affair with diesel, European buyers are going through a messy divorce. Diesel sales dropped by 9.9% over the last month (compared with October 2016) across the continent, and by 12.2% in the UK.
The void left by diesel being shown the door has been filled primarily by gasoline-powered cars – registrations represented 51.5% of all October sales (a 5.1 percentage point increase) – but also by cars with a battery on board.
Sales of electric and hybrid vehicles registered during Europe reached a remarkable 66 000 in October. That’s a 5.5% share of the total market. To put that figure in perspective, in October 2007, alternative fuel vehicles represented 0.3% of European market sales.
“When looking at the AFV data, hybrids still lead the way, accounting for 59% of the total volume for the AFV category, compared to PHEV and fully electric vehicles, which accounted for 23% and 17% respectively,” said Felipe Munoz, Global Automotive Analyst at JATO Dynamics.
However, as well as fuel type, vehicle type is steering sales. Some 373 978 SUVs were sold over the course of October, or 31% of total vehicle sales for the month and a 21.3% increase compared with October 2016. And, as Munoz points out, the choice of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicle types is still small and that could be one of the reasons why alternative Fuel Vehicle sales aren’t growing at an even greater pace.
“Growth of electric and hybrid vehicles has accelerated during the last four months and consumers are more aware of the choices available. But, despite a series of launches, there’s still limited AFV choice in categories such as the SUV segment,” he said. – AFP Relaxnews