Electrified cars outsold diesels in Europe for the first time last month

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It’s official, electrified cars are now more popular than diesels in Europe.

That’s according to the latest data from industry analysts Jato Dynamics, which today reported that registrations of battery electric, plug-in hybrid and conventional hybrid cars overtook diesel for the first time on record in September.

One in four new models bought in 27 European nations were alternative-fuelled vehicles, though petrol remains well ahead with almost half the market share of registrations last month.

Changing of the guard: Electrified vehicles - which includes battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and conventional hybrid cars - outsold diesel in September

Changing of the guard: Electrified vehicles – which includes battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and conventional hybrid cars – outsold diesel in September

The September report said there had been ‘clear signs that Europe is all set for an electric revolution’, with the caveat: ‘In fact, this revolution has already started.’   

It marks the first time in the modern era that alternative-fuelled vehicles have outsold one of the two internal combustion engine types but also signifies the substantial fall from grace for oil-burning engines.

Just five years ago, around the time the Dieselgate scandal hit headlines, diesel cars were the dominant force in Europe. 

Overall, registrations climbed by 1.2 per cent year-on-year in September, with 1.3 million passenger cars bought across nations.

That’s despite petrol and diesel suffering double-digit drops compared to September 2019.

In September, diesel made up just 24.8 per cent of vehicles registered on the continent, while petrol accounted for 47 per cent. 

Industry analysts said European passenger vehicle registrations in September were a clear sign that the 'electric revolution has already started'

Industry analysts said European passenger vehicle registrations in September were a clear sign that the ‘electric revolution has already started’

In contrast, electric vehicle demand spiked by 139 per cent to a records 327,800 units – the first time that EVs have broken the 300,000 units monthly mark, and only the second time that they have counted for more than 20 per cent of registrations. 

Commenting on the change of guard for fuel types, Felipe Munoz, global analyst at Jato Dynamics said: ‘The shift from ICEs to EVs is finally taking place. 

‘Although this is largely down to government policies and incentives, consumers are also now ready to adopt these new technologies.’

In the UK, demand for BEVs and PHEVs is surging, while diesel continues to decline. In September alone, some 60,647 pure electric and hybrid cars were purchased compared to just 46,996 diesels

In the UK, demand for BEVs and PHEVs is surging, while diesel continues to decline. In September alone, some 60,647 pure electric and hybrid cars were purchased compared to just 46,996 diesels

The report reflects a similar shift already taking place in the UK market.

So far this year, battery electric vehicle demand is up a massive 165 per cent, while plug-in hybrid sales are ahead by more than 80 per cent.

In September alone – which is traditionally a big month for car retailers with the arrival of a new registration number and deals to incentivise sales of models with the fresh plates – some 60,647 pure electric and hybrid cars (both plug-in and conventional) were purchased.

That compared to just 46,996 diesels.

It means alternative-fuelled vehicles (not including ‘mild hybrids’) had a market share of 18.5 per cent, overtaking oil burners which accounted for just 14.3 per cent of all new cars bought last month.

The launch of the new ID.3 has made VW the brand with the second highest electrified vehicle registrations in Europe, ironically after its Dieselgate scandal sparked the decline in diesel demand in 2015

The launch of the new ID.3 has made VW the brand with the second highest electrified vehicle registrations in Europe, ironically after its Dieselgate scandal sparked the decline in diesel demand in 2015

A year ago, electrified cars made up just 11% of vehicle registrations. Now they account for one in four

A year ago, electrified cars made up just 11% of vehicle registrations. Now they account for one in four

The car brands taking advantage of the electric switch

While Dieselgate is the moment earmarked as the beginning of the downfall for diesel, Jato Dynamics said Volkswagen has ‘overcome the scandal to become a new protagonist in this chapter of vehicle electrification’. 

Last month, the German car maker registered 40,300 electrified vehicles in Europe, with the all-new ID.3 racking up 7,897 sales last month to become the third most-bought battery electric car in Europe.

Only the Tesla Model 3 (15,702) and Renault Zoe (11,023) outsold the ID.3 hatchback.

In fact, VW was the second largest electrified vehicle seller behind only Toyota, which continued its dominance from within the hybrid segment.

The Tesla Model 3 is the most-bought battery electric vehicle in Europe. That has also been the case in the UK during 2020

The Tesla Model 3 is the most-bought battery electric vehicle in Europe. That has also been the case in the UK during 2020

‘Like with its SUVs, Volkswagen Group arrived late to the EV boom, but its competitive products are catching up quickly, and it is now becoming a leader’ Munoz said.  

SUVs continue to top the sales charts, grabbing 41.3 per cent of the market, with the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008 and Ford Puma most in demand. 

Despite the dominance of utility vehicles, the most registered overall car in Europe was the VW Golf with 28,731 bought last month. It was closely followed by the Vauxhall Corsa (26,269).

The VW Golf was the best-selling car in Europe in September, with over 28,700 registered

The VW Golf was the best-selling car in Europe in September, with over 28,700 registered

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