European Electric Vehicle Sales Outshine Chinese Market

For the past few years, China has had the largest electric vehicle (“EV”) market on the globe. Although the electric vehicle market is still growing, China has consistently managed to bag a large percentage of it, at least until recently. According to a new report from Bloomberg, the European electric vehicle sales have finally surpassed the Chinese market for the first time since 2015. The European EV market kept growing due to Europe’s automotive CO2 regulations as well as new model launches from automakers, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Bloomberg reports that around 380,000 electric vehicles were sold in the first six months over the 16 main European markets. Over the first eight months of 2020, people across Western Europe bought over half a million electric cars, according to the European Electric Car Report industry publication. On the other hand, China, widely considered the world’s biggest market for EVs, saw a 44% drop in sales to around 330,000 electric cars.

The increase in sales can be attributed to a combination of new subsidy schemes to make electric vehicles more affordable. These include government, fiscal, and original equipment manufacturer (“OEM”) subsidies. It can also be attributed to the CO2 emissions standards created by the European Union (“EU”) as well as policies at state and municipal levels that have made it possible to invest in new charging infrastructure and electric cars. Germany and France, for instance, have made subsidies for electric vehicles an integral part of their coronavirus recovery packages.

On the other hand, China experienced a drop in sales in the middle of 2019 after it reduced its subsidy for programs for the new technology. The subsidies were later reinstated but according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (“CAAM”), sales are likely to drop 10% this year compared to 2019.

Of the 597,000 electric vehicles sold in Western EU countries over the first eight months of 2020, 313,000 were battery electric vehicles (“BEVs”) and 279,000 were plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (“PHEVs”). CAAM reports that during the same period, China sold 332,000 personal BEVs, 105 personal PHEVs as well as 46,000 commercial BEVs and 3,000 commercial PHEVs for a total of 486,000 units.

Although the Chinese government has put forth subsidies to help the EV market, the sales numbers are expected to stay low, at least in the near future. As the coronavirus pandemic emerges again and again, customers will be forced to stay indoors and avoid large purchases until the virus is contained. If Europe manages to get the pandemic in control before China, it will be able to hold on to its position as the largest EV market in the world.

Analysts say companies like Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE) are glad to see the numbers of electric vehicles sold in Europe and elsewhere rising as this augers well for the fight against vehicular carbon emissions.

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