In August it finally happened. For the first time, more new plug-in cars than diesel-engined cars were registered in Europe. According to Jato Dynamics, a global supplier of automotive business intelligence, this is mainly due to a significant increase in the number of electric vehicles last month. In addition, a relatively small number of new cars were registered as a result of the ongoing semiconductor crisis. This also affects the relationships between the different drive types.

Semiconductor shortage leads to long delivery times and bottoming out

Data from Jato Dynamics, from the 26 European markets, shows that the number of new registrations fell by 18 percent in August to 713,714 units. This is the lowest number of cars registered in August since 2014. Now that the worst measures related to the corona pandemic are behind us, the sales volume for the current year is higher than last year. There were 8,095,419 new vehicles registered in Europe from January to August. Last year that was 7,192,839 units in the same period.

“The shortage of chips is a major setback for automakers, who are still dealing with the effects of the pandemic,” said Jato analyst Felipe Munoz. “Production issues and delays in the delivery of new vehicles have had a negative impact on sales. The lack of availability at dealerships forces many consumers to either look for used cars or simply postpone their purchase. Normally, consumers have to spend many months waiting for a new Ferrari. Now they are experiencing the same delay for regular models.”

Numbers of BEVs, PHEVs and ICEs in Europe © Jato Dynamics

Strong increase in new BEVs and PHEVs

Thus, for the first time in Europe, more fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids have been registered than diesel models. Despite the various challenges, interest in electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles continues to grow. Demand rose sharply last month. As a result, these vehicles achieved their second-highest market share in the month at 21 percent. The increase in the number of plug-in cars is significant this year. With the 151,737 cars registered in August, the number of registered plug-in cars increased by no less than 61 percent on an annual basis.

Munoz: “While offers and incentives have played an important role in driving demand, we have seen a fundamental shift in purchasing behaviour, as more attractive models have entered the market. Consumers have also become more aware of the benefits of electric vehicles.”

As a result, electric cars and plug-in hybrids outperformed their diesel counterparts by 10,100 units in August. If we look at last year: then the volume of plug-in cars was still 158,300 units lower than that of diesel vehicles.

Volkswagen ID.3 most popular BEV in Europe


According to Jato Dynamics, the demand was mainly for electric cars. The Volkswagen ID.3 was the best-selling electric car in August, closely followed by the Tesla Model 3. The VW ID.4 came in third. A striking newcomer was the Tesla Model Y. This has only been delivered in Europe since August, but has already managed to conquer eighth place.

The Renault ZOE, which we can now count among the older electric models, still manages to maintain itself remarkably well with a fourth place between the much newer Volkswagen ID.4, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Skoda Enyaq iV. The Fiat 500, Peugeot e-208, Hyundai Kona Electric, Opel Corsa-e and Kia e-Niro were also unabatedly popular.

The plug-in hybrids were therefore significantly less popular than fully electric cars. If we look at all cars with a plug, the most popular PHEV (Ford Kuga) only comes in eighth place. The VW ID.3 was the most popular plug-in car in Europe last month. But if we look at the registrations of all drive types, it only comes in 15th place. In that respect, there is still a long way to go for plug-in cars. The Dacia Sandero was again the car with the highest number of new registrations in August. The VW Golf and Toyota Yaris followed in second and third place.

Tesla Model Y newcomer BEV Europe 8th place

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