European Demand for EVs, Hybrids Jumps 27%

Sales of electrified passenger cars surged 27% to a record 900,000 units in western Europe last year, nearly double the volume in 2016, says LMC Automotive.

Demand for all-electrics climbed 47% to 190,000 vehicles, outselling plug-in hybrids by a small margin for the first time. LMC says the switch in positions reflects headwinds for plug-ins in the form of regulatory delays, higher taxes and fewer incentives—none of which affected EVs.

Norway, with 45,000 registrations of all-electric cars in 2018, accounted for 25% of all such sales in western Europe. Last year 30% of all new cars sold in the country were EVs, including 45% in December. The next-biggest EV market was the Netherlands with a 5% share.

Sales of conventional hybrids, which have a limited range in all-electric mode, grew to 515,000 cars in 2018. LMC says demand is being driven by the market’s shift away from diesels. Most such hybrids are coming from Japanese and Korean carmakers.

LMC notes that sales of plug-ins with more powerful 48-volt architectures surged last year to about 60,000 vehicles. Many 48-volt systems offer the same fuel-saving benefits of plug-in hybrids but at lower cost.