Overall European car sales in January 2020 fell 7.3% year on year, however electric and hybrids bucked the trend with dramatic rises. Pure Electric vehicle sales rose dramatically by 204% from 1,334 to 4.054. Petrol sales were down 9.5% (101,44 to 91,836) and Diesel sales down a dramatic 36% (46,264 to 29,605).
However the highest growth rate in car sales were Diesel Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (D MHED) at 721% (559 to 4,591), Petrol MHED sales grew 215% (1,732 to 5,464). These relatively new to market cars have light electric assistance and cannot actually power the vehicle alone. There are various types of light systems. They generally add power when needed i.e. heavy acceleration and are charged by regenerative braking. Some allow the cars to switch off the main power unit while coasting. Examples of MHED cars include the Suzuki Swift, Range Rover Evoque and the Audi A8/A7. MHED cannot be considered EVs in the traditional sense.
PHEV sales grew 111% (2,268 to 4,788) and HEV grew 6% (7,412 to 8,941). Overall the hybrid and electric vehicles (not MHED) grew by 61% (11,014 to 17,783).
Market share of hybrid and electric vehicles grew from 7% to 12% in January YOY. The growth in market share of MHEDs was dramatic, from 1% to 7%.
The overall shift to pure electric vehicles is encouraging. This will continue as global warming concerns push Governments to incentivise pure electric cars more and more. The growth in Hybrids is slowing as Government grants are reduced or removed for these vehicles.
The lack of charging infrastructure is still the biggest barrier to growth and at the forefront of potential buyers minds.
The disturbing growth in MHED vehicles which are more about performance enhancement than removing carbon based power plants is concerning. This trend will need to be monitored.
Figures supplied by SMMT.