Electric vehicles accounted for eight percent of car sales in Europe in the first half of the year, paving the way for a three-fold increase in market share this year, according to an analysis by the NGO Transport & Environment (T&E).
Although the Covid-19 pandemic has cut car sales, sales of electric cars, which T&E has defined as battery-powered and hybrid models, have risen.
Thus, electric cars more than tripled their market share in the European Economic Area (EEA), compared to the first half of last year, T&E data show.
Direct sales of such vehicles are expected to double approximately this year, to one million units, the analysis said.
T&E attributes the increase in sales to stricter standards for exhaust emissions in the European Union, which came into force this year, and incentives to buy in Germany and France.
The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) believes that the sales of electric vehicles is driven by national support programs to boost economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, but that this trend does not necessarily have to be long-term.
“It is difficult to predict future long-term shifts in consumer behaviour based on such artificial growth driven by subsidies,” ACEA analysts say.
T&E has urged the EU to set stricter emission reduction targets in the future, which would ensure that models that significantly pollute the environment are being pushed out of the market and replaced by electric cars.
This primarily refers to SUVs, which, although “fuel-devouring” also increased their market share in sales, to 39 percent in the first half of 2020.
Meanwhile, the European Commission has outlined plans to further tighten limits on car carbon emissions as part of its proposal to tighten the EU's 2030 climate targets.