In Europe, where petrol costs have historically been quite expensive in comparison to many other regions, diesel automobiles have been popular for decades. It has long been difficult to find a small, affordable hatchback in Europe that isn’t a diesel, and the same was true of large sedans, particularly in the UK.
However, new battery-electric vehicle (BEV) sales in the European Union have now surpassed those of diesel models for the first time ever, with statistics from June 2023 indicating a 15.1% market share for BEVs, according to information provided by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). That is an increase of 66.2% from the same month in 2022 when BEVs comprised 10.7% of the EU market.
Still, the growth for BEVs has not been reached proportionately throughout all of the EU countries. The Netherlands had a growth of 90.1%, while Germany and France came in second and third, with a surge of 64.4% and 52.0%, respectively. The fact that plug-in hybrids have actually decreased over the previous year in several specific EU markets—by as much as 39.2% in Germany—is another trend worth pointing out. Overall, gasoline-powered vehicles continue to dominate the market in Europe with a 36.3% share, followed by hybrid vehicles with a 24.3% share.
Another important aspect is that, in recent years, some major European cities have experimented with diesel model bans, keeping them out of city centers in advance of a union-wide aim for zero-emission car sales by 2035, which was ratified by the European Parliament earlier this year. Diesel demand was also hampered by Volkswagen’s own, now almost ten-year-old scandal, which also impacted brands like Audi, Skoda, and SEAT.
Another interesting aspect of BEVs that deserves attention is the fact that many popular models aren’t even made by European manufacturers. The BEV market has been easily dominated by Tesla’s Model Y in the first 6 months of 2023, and a number of Chinese EVs are also currently doing extremely well in the European market, however, hardly any EU-originated EV makes its place among the bestsellers.
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com