Every eleventh new car registered in Western Europe was a zero emission vehicle in November

Updated: Dec 18, 2020

West European plug-in car sales history 2015 - 2020


Schmidt Automotive Research

During November a new milestone was achieved across the West European passenger car market: every eleventh new model that entered the 18 market region was a pure electric zero emission BEV vehicle according to exclusively compiled data in the next edition of the European Electric Car Report, published by Schmidt Automotive Research. Across the region, monitored on a monthly basis, 1.06 million new combined pure electric BEV and PHEV plug-in hybrids vehicles entered Europe’s roads this year, with the majority (53 per cent) being pure electric BEV models achieving a volume of 562,000 units – lead by the Renault Zoe – with one month of the year remaining. PHEVs narrowly failed to hit the 0.5 million cumulative mark with 499,000 models registered so far this year. During November the market penetration from BEVs reached an all time monthly high of 8.7 per cent of the total market, thanks to the second highest BEV volume on record.

Crucially the 82,100 units recorded in November was a month that wasn't contributed to by an end of quarter Tesla delivery boost, which means the end of quarter monthly volume level may now likely surpass the 100,000 level in a single month for the first time next month, although December may be impacted by negative headwinds from returning COVID-19 lockdowns in several European markets, notably Germany that accounts for every fourth BEV registration in the region. PHEVs achieved an almost equal 81,200 units in November which means during the past three months, combined PHEV/BEV units narrowly failed to reach 0.5 million units, recording 465,300 units during the September to November three month period.

Half a million quarterly plug-in volume just around the corner During the whole of last year (2019) 354,000 BEVs were recorded across the region. With one month of the year still remaining, the report’s 2020 pure electric forecast remains at over 620,000, or more than every twentieth new car for the whole of the year.


The main driver of the market has undoubtedly been manufacturers' race to reach new European Union average CO2 fleet emission targets, phased-in this year. The target has been made easier to achieve two-fold by a depressed total market meaning fewer plug-ins have to be registered in order to meet compliance levels, and secondly governments' willingness to increase both purchase and fiscal incentives – in light of the corona pandemic – in key markets such as Germany which has contributed to mouthwatering electric car leasing deals for under €100 per month on offer.

The main contributor to Western Europe’s plug-in market boom has come from Germany, thanks to some of those generous combined government and manufacture incentives where a purchase subsidy for a moderately priced pure electric car of up to €9,000 is on offer.

Germany, now accounts for 30 per cent of Western Europe's plug-in (BEV/PHEV) market

Europe’s largest car market, Germany, now accounts for 30 per cent of the Western Europe's plug-in registered across the 18 market region, or twice as large as the next largest market, France. Following November’s registrations, Schmidt Automotive Research can also confirm that the German passenger car market has become the first in the region to achieve over 0.5 million plug-in passenger cars in circulation. The government’s target is 1 million new plug-in vehicles on the road by the end of 2021.


This is just a summary of the European Electric Car Sales Monthly Market Intelligence Report which is published on a monthly basis and are available here.