By Taimaz Szirniks
PARIS—Electric car sales set a new market share record in the European Union in 2022, industry figures showed Wednesday, as the region seeks to rid itself of fossil fuel cars.
Battery-powered electric cars accounted for 12.1 percent of new car sales, compared to 9.1 percent in 2021 and 1.9 percent 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 the 27-nation bloc’s effort to build a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.
Sales of electric vehicles rose 28 percent last year, with more than 1.1 million vehicles sold.
These rises were notably driven by the German market, where sales accelerated at the end of the year, just before a drop in purchase bonuses.
In Norway, a record four out of five new cars (79 percent) sold last year were electric, in a major oil-producing country that aims to end the sale of new fossil fuel cars by 2025—a decade ahead of the EU’s ban.
The Italian market was the only one to put a brake on the electric engine in 2022, with sales falling by 26.9 percent.
It was also a strong year for hybrid cars, which achieved a market share of 22.6 percent.
Traditional petrol and diesel-fueled cars continued to lose ground, despite still accounting for more than half of EU car sales in 2022 at 52.8 percent.
Diesel, hit by heavy penalties and a shrinking offer in manufacturers’ ranges, continues on its downward slope, dropping by almost 20 percent with 1.5 million vehicles sold.
European automakers are investing 250 billion euros ($272 billion) in their electrification, said Luca de Meo, ACEA president, and chief executive of French automaker Renault.
“The auto industry is moving fast,” he said on Tuesday.
But De Meo said Europe needs more public charging stations, with installations limited to 2,000 per week in the EU, while 14,000 are needed weekly to ensure the continent’s transition.
“Despite many announcements and recent progress, infrastructure development is lagging behind the industry efforts,” De Meo said.
With their high prices, electric cars are currently being purchased by “wealthy” households, but that should change with the generalization of electric cars, according to ACEA president.
While electric market leader Tesla sharply lowered its prices at the beginning of 2023, De Meo warned that getting into a price war would be counterproductive, adding: “We need to invest.”