Sales of electric vehicles set a new record for market share in the European Union in 2022, industry data shows, as the region moves to wean itself off fossil fuel-powered cars.
Battery electric cars account for 12.1% of new car sales, compared to 9.1% in 2021 and 1.9% in 2019, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).
The EU has agreed to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035 as part of efforts by the bloc's 27 countries to build a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.
Sales of electric vehicles increased by 28% last year, with over 1.1 million vehicles sold. This growth was mostly driven by the German market, where sales accelerated at the end of the year, just before purchase bonuses fell.
In Norway, a record four in five new cars (79%) sold last year were electric, in one of the main oil-producing countries, which aims to end the sale of new cars powered by fossil fuels by 2025 y - a decade before the EU ban.
The Italian market is the only one to put the brakes on electric motors in 2022, with sales falling by 26.9%.
The year was also strong for hybrid cars, which achieved a market share of 22.6 percent.
Traditional cars with petrol and diesel engines continue to lose ground, although in 2022 they will still account for more than half of EU car sales at 52.8%.
The diesel engine, hit by heavy sanctions and shrinking supply across manufacturers' ranges, continued its slide, falling almost 20 percent with 1.5 million vehicles sold.
European car manufacturers are investing 250 billion euros in their electrification, said Luca de Meo, president of ACEA and CEO of French carmaker Renault. "The auto industry is moving fast," he said Tuesday.
But De Meo said Europe needs more public charging stations, with installations limited to 2,000 a week in the EU, while 14,000 a week are needed to ensure the continent's transition.
"Despite many announcements and recent progress, infrastructure development has lagged behind industry efforts," De Meo said.
With their high prices, EVs are currently being bought by "affluent" households, but this should change as EVs become more widespread, according to ACEA's president.
While electric car market leader Tesla has sharply cut prices at the start of 2023, De Meo warned that getting into a price war would be counterproductive, adding: "We have to invest."
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