The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) has recently published new registration figures in the EU for buses, trucks (from 3.5 tonnes) and vans in 2019 by the type of drive. The figures for buses and trucks have more than doubled since the previous year and the electric utility vehicle segment is currently on a steady increase.
Vehicles with electrically rechargeable sources of power such as batteries, fuel cells and plug-in hybrids have seen increases in all vehicle categories compared to 2018. Buses and trucks have seen the most growth at 170.5% and 109.2% respectively. Vans are currently at a 22.9% increase. While a much smaller increase, it still shows that EU electric utility vehicle registrations are on the rise but there’s still a long way to go compared to the number of vehicles using diesel and alternate fuels.
Falling Diesel Registrations
The published figures show that diesel vehicle registrations are still overwhelming electric alternatives. For example, around 85.0% of buses in the EU are still using diesel with electricity accounting at 4.0%, hybrid at 4.8% and alternate fuels at 6.2%. There’s still a long way to go before the EU begins to adopt electricity as the main source of fuel for its utility vehicles.
Despite the overwhelming figures, diesel demand has fallen by 3.1% by 34,123 units. In fact, four of the five major EU markets experienced losses for new diesel bus registrations:
- Spain -13.8%
- UK -12%
- Italy -11.8%
- Germany -10.1%
- France +2.4%
Spain currently leads the charge in reducing the reliance of diesel with 13.8% fewer diesel bus registrations compared to last year. The UK, Italy and Germany are also following the downward trend. France has seen minor growth in terms of new diesel bus registrations, but the county has still made huge strides in adopting electric utility vehicles.
Gasoline continues to play a tiny role in the market with only eight new vehicles being registered in the EU as a whole in 2019.
EU Bus Registrations
In 2019, electric utility vehicle registrations in the EU rose by 170.5%. This is an increase from 594 units sold in 2018 to a staggering 1,607 buses sold in 2019. Currently, the Netherlands leads this figure with 381 new electric buses, establishing themselves as the strongest market. This is followed by France at 285 and Germany at 187. According to ACEA figures, these three countries account for over half of all-electric buses sold in the EU last year.
The biggest contributors to new electric utility vehicle registrations are Denmark and Finland. Denmark had only 2 new registrations in 2018 compared to 100 in 2019 (an increase of 4,900.0%) and Finland went from 1 registration in 2018 to 40 in 2019 (an increase of 3,900.0%).
One country that stands out in declining electric bus registrations is Slovakia. In 2018, the country had 18 new registrations for electric buses but the figure has dropped to 0 in 2019.
Hybrid buses also saw an increase of 59.7% with 1,918 new vehicles sold in 2019. Germany currently accounts for the largest share with 454 new units, followed by Spain at 427, Belgium at 371 and Italy at 255 new hybrid bus registrations.
The majority of hybrid registrations are currently concentrated in six countries; Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy, France and the Netherlands. Poland, Sweden and Portugal only make up 76 new hybrid bus registrations. Other EU countries did not register any new hybrid-electric buses.
Italy has contributed to the most growth, registering 236 more hybrid buses in 2019 than 2018, an increase of 1,242.1%. On the contrary, Poland seems to be cutting back on hybrid and electric buses with a decrease of 14.29% in electric and 74.50% in hybrid buses.
EU Truck Registrations
Trucks (defined as medium and heavy vehicles over 3.5 tonnes) have also seen a large increase in terms of electric-chargeable and hybrid electric adoption. Germany has led this category with 608 new electrically-chargeable trucks being registered in 2019 alone, up from 279 in 2018. This is a 117.9% increase from the previous year and is the largest number of new electric truck registrations in the EU.
However, Italy, the Netherlands and France have also made contributions to rising electric utility vehicle registrations.
● Italy – 10 new registrations up from 3 in 2018 (233.3% increase)
● The Netherlands – 76 new registrations up from 25 in 2018 (204.0% increase)
● France – 24 new registrations up from 9 in 2018 (166.7% increase)
Overall, these countries contributed the most together with Germany in terms of new electrically-chargeable truck registrations, totalling 747 new registrations up from 357 the previous year, an increase of 109.2%.
However, hybrid electric trucks saw a small decrease in new registrations. In Total, the EU saw 272 new registrations down from 305 the previous year, a decrease of 10.8%. The biggest contributors to this value are:
● Spain – 91 new registrations up from 85 in 2018 (7.1% increase)
● Italy – 74 new registrations down from 138 in 2018 (46.4 decrease)
● France – 64 new registrations up from 49 in 2018 (7.1% increase)
While Italy is 2nd in terms of new hybrid electric vehicle registrations, they have actually decreased their overall numbers.
Despite the promising increases, diesel still accounts for around 97.9% of all new truck registrations in the EU, overshadowing the 0.2% market share for electric and 0.1% for hybrid. In 2019, diesel saw a slight increase of 3.5% new registrations across the whole of the EU with Germany making the biggest contribution at 96,625 new registrations.
EU Transporter Registrations
Transporters, or light commercial vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes, have seen steady growth terms of new electric utility vehicles.
A total of 26,107 new electrically-chargeable transporters were registered, up from 21,242 in the previous year (a 22.9% increase). The biggest contributors to this were France (8,087), Germany (6,704) and the United Kingdom (3,427). These three countries make up over 85.7% of new electrically-chargeable transporter registrations in the EU.
For hybrid electric vehicles, there was an even large increase of 159.8%. New registrations in 2019 totalled 4,577 up from 1,762 in 2018. The two biggest contributors to this figure were France (1,861) and Italy (1,296). The values also show 9 EU countries registering their first hybrid electric transporters up from 0 in the previous year. This is a great sign that EU countries are starting to look towards electric utility vehicles as practical alternatives to petrol and diesel which are still dominating the markets.
However, this could also be due to a lack of information regarding hybrid transporter registrations. Considering the market share for HEV transporters is just 0.2% in the EU, these triple-digit increases are somewhat misleading and don’t tell the full story. In fact, transporters are still dominated by diesel registrations at 92.8% in 2019.
The EU is undoubtedly seeing a steady rise in electric bus, truck and transporter registrations across many of its countries. However, it’s still only a small number of nations that are largely responsible for the increases. For example, Germany is the largest contributor in new electrically-chargeable truck registrations, but they are also responsible for the most diesel truck registrations too. Similarly, France, Germany and the United Kingdom are responsible for the largest increases in both electrically-chargeable and diesel transporters.
This shows us that new electric utility vehicle registrations do somewhat correlate with diesel, petrol and alternate fuel registrations for larger nations. It appears that smaller countries are beginning to test electric utility vehicles with some countries clearing pushing for initiatives based on their political and environmental stances. A great example of this is the Netherlands which is responsible for the largest number of electrically-chargeable bus registrations two years in a row but also has one of the smallest increases in diesel bus registrations at just 1.2% more than the previous year.
Some sectors, such as hybrid transporters, are seeing triple-digit growth mainly due to the lack of figures from the previous year for a meaningful comparison. While the percentage increases and decreases can be somewhat deceiving, it’s still a great sign that electric utility vehicle adoption is on the rise in the EU and we hope to see continued growth in addition to the decrease of diesel utility vehicle registrations.