The electric vehicle industry is booming. Of that, there is no question. The signals have been there for some time now, with EV sales and market shares edging upwards. Often at double-digit annual growth rates; occasionally even triple-digit in somemarkets, in some years. But when the starting point is so low, it takes a long time to build momentum. In 2019, EVs accounted for little more than 3% of new car registrations across Europe.
Norway, the poster child of the European EV industry, has consistently led the way. Incredibly, in 2019, there were more fully electric cars sold in the country than all other fuel types put together. Other countries were following Norway’s lead, but at a more gradual pace. 2020 changed everything. The year when the world stood still, European EV sales clicked into overdrive.
Car sales plummeted in Europe last year. In Germany, new car registrations fell by 19%. In France, they fell by 26%. In the UK, by 29%. Across the continent, the rapid spread of COVID-19 put the brakes on our economies, and we were collectively plunged into a world of uncertainty and economic gloom.
In spring 2020, as we faced a long year ahead mainly confined to our homes, there was an expectation that EV sales would be hit in much the same way. In fact, the opposite happened. There were more than twice as many EVs sold across Europe in 2020 compared to 2019. In previous years, we had become used to EV market shares of 2%, 3%, 4%. In 2020, the UK achieved over 10% EV car sales. In Germany it was 13%. In the Netherlands, 25%. Of course, the fall in conventional vehicle sales allowed EV shares to rise almost artificially.
The question is: can the strong growth levels be sustained long term? At Delta-EE, we believe the answer is ‘Yes’. In this paper, we share our opinions on why the European EV industry is shifting faster than anyone was predicting even 12 months ago and give our view on the uptake rates we expect to see in the period to 2030.