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Electric car registrations in 2023 in Europe

We analyse data on electric car registrations in 2023 in several European countries: Norway, Sweden, Germany, the UK, Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy

María Rodríguez
Jan 15, 2024
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We start the new year by taking a look at the evolution of electric vehicle registrations over the last twelve months, comparing data with the year 2022 to try to understand the current EV situation in eight European markets: Norway, Sweden, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.

The typical debate about the possibility of making long journeys in an electric vehicle has long since become unfounded, thanks in part to the development of the fast-charging infrastructure in Europe. The reasons for switching to electric mobility are varied and very personal, but we can see that the trend is booming in most of the countries we analyse, in some cases with very significant growth. Not just for cars, but also for vans, as in the case of Spain and France, which we mentioned a few months ago.

Other countries, however, are suffering from cuts in incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles. While this may not be the only cause of stagnation or even a slowdown, rising inflation in 2023 is another important factor.

passenger car registrations in Europe per source of energy, 2023 - Electromaps

The arrival in 2024 of new electric cars with more competitive prices and a wider price range could mean a good year for sales and registrations.

For the time being, we are sticking to this year's analysis.

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Fully electric cars account for 82.4% of Norwegian registrations

passenger auto registrations in Norway in 2023 - Electromaps

It seemed very difficult to surpass the 79.3% BEV share that Norway ended 2022 with; however, fully electric car registrations accounted for 82.4% of the market in 2023. Norway reached its 87% electric milestone in September.

The year 2024 started with tax changes in the automotive sector, and although they affected all energy sources, BEV were not affected as much as PHEV (up to 10% increase in average vehicle price) or internal combustion vehicles (up to 4% increase in their average price).

Perhaps this is the reason why there was a strong recovery in plug-in hybrids (16% market share) in December and a decline in electric cars (73.5% market share).  

In total, PHEV accounted for 90.4% of new registrations in Norway in 2023, up from 87.8% the previous year. PHEV saw a slight decline of half a point (8% of the market), but still remain ahead of HEV (6%), diesel (2.4%) and petrol (1.3%).

Electric cars grow by 18% in Sweden in 2023

passenger auto registrations in Sweden in 2023 - Electromaps

With almost the same number of new passenger cars placed on the Swedish market in 2023 as in the previous year (+0.4%), BEV increased by 18%, from 33% to 38.8% of the total market

Plug-in vehicles, with a total of 173,132 units, now account for 59.9% of registrations in Sweden, despite an 8.3% drop in PHEV, which lost two percentage points of market share

2022 experienced a spectacular rise in fully electric cars in Sweden, especially in the last quarter of the year, when they reached 44.4% market share (51.3% in December). The reduction of incentives at the beginning of 2023 seems to be the main reason for this growth. Even so, the graph about the evolution of electric vehicle registrations shows a stable growth of this type of vehicle. 

HEV and internal combustion cars continue to drop gradually, with diesel passenger car registrations falling by 28.2%.

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Did the ZEV Mandate affect EV sales in the UK in 2023?

passenger auto registrations in the UK in 2023 - Electromaps

The UK has started the year 2024 with its new ZEV Mandate, a regulation that aims to reduce greenhouse gases by establishing a mandatory percentage of zero-emission vehicles for car manufacturers. Thus, BEV must account for 22% of new registrations by 2024. This percentage will increase every year until reaching 80% in 2030 and 100% in 2035. This is very much in line with the European Union's regulation, so the UK delays by five years its first objectives of banning the sale of new combustion cars by 2030.

ZED Mandate zero emissions vehicle target per year, UK - Electromaps

Looking at the net numbers, fully electric cars are up 17.8% year-on-year, with a total of 314,684 registrations in 2023. But this is almost the same increase (actually 0.1 less) than overall registrations. So BEV sales remind flat in the UK last year. However, PHEV have increased their market share (from 6.3% in 2022 to 7.4% in 2023), achieving a 24% share for plug-ins overall, up from 22.8% in the previous year.

Taking into account the ZEV Mandate, under which carmakers will be fined if they fail to meet the targets, it is very likely that the number of electric vehicles sold in the last few months of the year were intentionally reduced to try to achieve an upward effect in 2024 and meet the targets set by the government.

Petrol and diesel cars have lost some weight in the last twelve months, falling from 42.3% to 40.7% and from 5.1% to 3.8% respectively.

Looking at registrations in the last quarter, BEV fell by 16.9% compared to the same period last year, from 22.6% to 16.9% between October and December.

Plug-in cars fall by 15.9% in Germany

passenger auto registrations in Germany in 2023 - Electromaps

A strong December 2022, with a 33.2% share for zero-emission registrations in Germany and 22.2% for plug-in hybrids, was the response to the reduction in incentives in January 2023, which hit the latter particularly hard during the year. Meanwhile, BEV registrations suffered in the early months, but reached 31.7% of the market in August, probably due to the increased budget for the eco-rebate in July. In mid-December, however, the government made a sudden U-turn by announcing the immediate abolition of incentives for the purchase of BEV, although this had been planned for 2025. This decision resulted in the loss of up to 3,000 euros in government support and a 47.6% drop in sales compared to the previous year. Brands tried to mitigate the losses by maintaining their own incentives.

Despite these drawbacks, the annual balance of BEV penetration in Germany is positive, with an 11.4% increase compared to 2022 and a 18.4% market share (up seven tenths of a percentage point).

Plug-in hybrids, however, experienced a 51.5% drop - minus 7.5 points of market share-, closing the year at 6.2%. This decline also helped the total for plug-in cars to fall from 31.4% to 24.6%.

Internal combustion car registrations remained at very similar levels to those of 2022 in terms of market share.

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BEV grow by 39.9% in France

passenger auto registrations in France in 2023 - Electromaps

We finished 2023 with a 15.3% increase in the number of passenger cars registered in France. Most striking, however, is the 39.9% increase in zero-emission vehicles compared to last year. Fully electric cars gained three points in market share to 16.8%. The increase in this type of vehicle is significant, especially in the last quarter: in November and December BEV accounted for more than 20% of new registrations.

PHEV sales increased by 28.8% and accounted for 9.2% of the market, one point more than in the previous year. As a result, plug-in cars (electric and hybrid) made up 26% of the market in France, behind only petrol cars, which stood at 36.2%, eight tenths of a point less than in 2012. 

The share of diesel cars registered a 28.2% fall. 

Portugal doubles BEV sales in 2023

passenger auto registrations in Portugal in 2023 - Electromaps

We've been commenting on Portugal's evolution in terms of electric vehicle penetration and new zero-emission car registrations for several months now, so we're not too surprised by the huge growth of 101.9% of these vehicles in 2023. Fully electric cars accounted for 18.2% of the market last year, up from 11.5% in 2022.

Plug-in hybrids also increased their registrations with a share of 13.6% (10.2% in 2022). As a result, plug-in vehicles ended the year with a 31.8% share of sales in the country.

Petrol and diesel cars lost 5.5 and 5.8 percentage points respectively in one year, reaching shares of 36.1% and 12% in 2023.

From August onwards, we can see a recovery of BEV, with shares reaching 23.8% in December last year and 23.2% in the last quarter of the year.

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Lack of trust in electric mobility in Italy: plug-in cars fall

passenger auto registrations in Italy in 2023 - Electromaps

Year 2023 was not very good for electric mobility in Italy, as we can see from the passenger car registrations data: plug-in cars are down to 8.6% market share, 0.2 points less than in 2022.

Fully electric cars are up slightly, from 3.7% to 4.2%, representing a 34.5% growth last year, but in a context where total passenger car registrations also increased by 19%.

Plug-in hybrids ended the year at 4.4%, losing 0.7 points of market share.

Petrol and diesel remain the largest purchase option for new passenger cars, with a 46.1% market share (1.3 points less than in 2022). HEVs are still on the rise, increasing by 2.1 points last year to 36.2% of the market.

By quarters, we also note that BEV registrations have been stagnant for a few years, although there was a slight upturn in the last two months of the year, with a 5.6% and 6.0% share in November and December.

Some experts point to Italians' lack of knowledge and confidence in the country's charging infrastructure, as well as the still high selling price of electric cars compared to their internal combustion counterparts. Regarding the charging infrastructure, Maximilien Kauffmann, CEO of Electromaps, clarifies that "the network of charging stations on our map covers 84.3% of Italy's infrastructure. With more than 41,000 public charge points there on our app, we offer a dense choice for all EV drivers. But, the coming years will be critical to expand and even further densify this network to ease the access to a charge point everywhere in Italy."

BEV are up 69.4% in Spain, but still not enough

passenger auto registrations in Spain in 2023 - Electromaps

2023 reflects a 69.4% increase in BEV registrations compared to the previous year. This increase is even more representative when we consider that total sales of passenger vehicles increased by 16.7%. In net terms, 51,716 fully electric cars were registered in 2023, representing 5.4% of the market, compared to 30,520 units in 2022, 3.8% of the share.

PHEV also rose by 30.1%, from 5.9% to 6.5%. Thus, the total number of plug-in hybrids ended the year with a 12% share of registrations, 45.4% more than in 2022. These figures are still far short of the government's target of 5.5 million plug-in vehicles by 2030, when the current fleet of plug-in vehicles is 464,860, according to AEDIVE (data as of 31 December 2023).

Petrol cars continue to dominate with a 40.8% market share, very similar to 41.9% from the previous year. However, diesel cars continue to decline, losing five percentage points

The last quarter of the year experienced a peak in fully electric cars registrations, with a 80.2% year on year growth. In November, the share of pure electric cars reached 7.7% and in December the share of plug-in cars reached 15.2% (7.2% electric, 8% plug-in hybrid).

In fact, 7.7% BEV share milestone was achieved in November; and 15.2% plug-in cars milestone (7.2% BEV, 8% PHEV) in December.

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María Rodríguez
Jan 15, 2024
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