Western Europe's plug-in car market, encompassing PHEVs and BEVs, is expected to reach 1 million annual new registrations with one month of the year still remaining, according to the next edition of the European Electric Car Report which covers the original EU member states prior to the 2004 enlargement plus EFTA member states Norway, Switzerland and Iceland, as manufacturers race to reach new average CO2 fleet emission targets, phased-in this year.
During the opening 10-months of the year the 18 market region reached 897 thousand units, or just 3,000 units behind China during the same period according to Schmidt Automotive Research's own European database and Chinese data supplied by CAAM – although Chinese volumes also include commercial vehicle data.
The West European plug-in market was split 53/47% in favour of BEVs (pure electric vehicles with no local tailpipe emissions) or just under 480,000 units, while PHEVs (plug-in electric vehicles that can run on average for around 45km in pure electric mode, before switching to a conventional petrol or diesel engine ) made up the remaining just under 420,000 units.
In October however, PHEV monthly volumes surpassed BEV new registrations for just the second time this year, recording 76,000 (7.4% mix, BEV: 7% mix) of the tax-saving plug-in hybrids. PHEVs have largely been driven by company car drivers attempting to lower annual tax returns, rather than lowering emissions, with little incentives for them to actually drive in EV mode once they take delivery, it has been argued. This helped drive combined plug-in volumes to their second highest monthly volume of the year (147,000) and consequently the highest monthly mix of the total passenger car market reaching over 14 per cent for the first time. The plug-in mix covering the periods January to October was 10.2 percent or every tenth new passenger car rolling onto West European roads this year. Contributing heavily to that total has been the strong second half push that witnessed more than 0.5 million plug-in units registered across the region in just 4 months between July-October according to Schmidt Automotive Research data. German plug-in passenger car market almost double the size as the next largest market Germany, boosted by private purchase government and OEM funded subsidies as well as fiscal benefits for company car drivers, controlled every fourth BEV regional unit during the opening 10-months of the year according to the report's own exclusive data, while almost every third regional PHEV was registered in Europe's largest economy also, leading to a whisker under 30 per cent of the total plug-in market, narrowly double the share of the next largest market, France, during the same period.
Full data and trends are published each month in The European Electric Car Report.
* Western Europe is classified by the report as: 18 Markets: EU Member States prior to the 2004 enlargement plus EFTA markets Norway, Switzerland and Iceland, plus UK