Automotive: electric vehicles continue to conquer the European market in 2022 – Science et Avenir

Battery-powered vehicles accounted for 12.1% of new car sales for the year, up from 9.1% in 2021 or 1.9% in 2019, according to data released on Wednesday by the European Manufacturers Association (ACEA). In a post-pandemic logistically constrained automotive market that has collapsed to 1993 levels, electric vehicle sales are up 28% from 2021, with more than 1.1 million vehicles sold.

In Norway, 4 out of 5 new cars are electric

These sales were largely driven by the German market, where they accelerated at the end of the year, just before the drop in purchase bonuses. The electric ones were also very successful in Sweden or Belgium. In Norway, a record four out of five new cars (79%) were electric. The Kingdom, a major oil producer, aims to end heat engines for new registrations by 2025. This is ten years earlier than in the EU.

The Italian market was the only one to slow down this engine in 2022 (-26.9%). Plug-in hybrids (diesel or petrol) also continue to win the market (+8.6%) and account for 22.6% of sales with 2,089,653 vehicles sold.

EU new car sales (AFP – Laurence SAUBADU)

Sales of plug-in hybrids, these vehicles equipped with an internal combustion engine and a small, rechargeable electric motor at a plug or terminal, hit an all-time high for the first time, with 874,182 vehicles sold (+1.2%). Overall, sales of electrified vehicles (hybrid and all-electric) since the end of 2021 have surpassed sales of gasoline vehicles, accounting for 36.4% of sales in 2022 (-12.8%, almost 3.3 million vehicles sold).

Electric cars remain expensive

Diesel, hit by the diesel engine scandal, heavy fines and reduced supply in the range of manufacturers, continues to decline (-19.7%), with 1.5 million vehicles sold. Dissatisfaction with diesel fuel was especially noticeable in France and Belgium. Faced with a planned European ban on heat engines, most manufacturers have begun expanding their offering of electric and hybrid vehicles. The car, the main means of transportation for Europeans, is responsible for just under 15% of CO2 emissions in the EU.

“We are moving fast, unfortunately faster than in other sectors. This transition cannot be limited to the automotive sector,” Renault CEO and new ACEA President Luca de Meo said on Tuesday during a meeting on Tuesday at a press conference in Brussels. . He highlighted the need for charging stations, which are limited to 2,000 per week installations in the EU, compared to the 14,000 required by the industry, and with strong disparities across countries.

Renault General Manager and new ACEA President Luca de Meo during a press conference in Brussels, January 31, 2023 (AFP - Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD)Renault General Manager and new ACEA President Luca de Meo during a press conference in Brussels, January 31, 2023 (AFP – Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD)

De Meo noted that European automakers are investing 250 billion euros in their electrification. Due to their high prices, electric vehicles are currently being bought by “wealthy” households, according to the ACEA president, but this should change with the spread of electric vehicles. If EV market leader Tesla cut its prices sharply in early 2023, then neither Renault nor Volkswagen want to enter a price war in this still lucrative sector.

“In the end, everyone is trying to protect their margin. Unleashing a price war at the start of operations is not the best thing that can happen to the market. We need to invest,” De Meo said.

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