Europe overtook China in 2020 to become the world’s largest market for electric vehicles, amid a pedal-to-the-metal push to increase EV adoption from governments and supercharged demand from consumers.
The registrations of new electric vehicles topped 1.33 million in the key European markets last year, compared with 1.25 million in China, according to a report based on public data by automotive analyst Matthias Schmidt.
The 18 markets include the European Union states—minus 13 countries in Central and Eastern Europe—as well as the U.K., Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland.
And growth will only continue, according to Schmidt, who publishes the European Electric Car Report. He projects that electric vehicles’ share of the European car market will rise from 12.4% in 2020 to 15.5% in 2021 — that is 1.91 million vehicles out of a total of 12.3 million, and an increase of 572,000 from 2020.
Key trends have emerged as Europe races to become the most important region for EVs, highlighted in the report that Schmidt shared with MarketWatch.
Among them are that the Renault Zoe is now the most popular electric vehicle in Europe, overtaking Tesla’s Model 3, which took the top spot in 2019. In fact, Tesla’s success in Europe has declined across the board over the last year, with the U.S. company delivering nearly 12,000 fewer cars across the continent in 2020 than in 2019.
Here’s what you should know:
SUVs are leading the growth
When you think of environmentally-friendly vehicles, sport-utility vehicles and crossovers probably don’t spring to mind. But this class is by far the most popular type of battery-electric vehicle in Europe, representing 27% of all registrations in 2020 and 29% in December alone.
SUVs and crossovers are even more popular with hybrid buyers — accounting for 53% of plug-in hybrid electric-vehicle volumes last year.