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More Than 10% of Cars Sold in Europe Last Year had a Plug


More than one in 10 new vehicles sold last year in the European Union was either a plug-in hybrid or a fully electric car. In total, Europeans bought more than 1 million plug-in vehicles last year, a higher percentage than any other continent.

Europeans positively flocked toward plug-in hybrids and electric cars. Sales grew from around 388,000 cars of that type in 2010 to 1.046 million last year, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. More than a million additional car deliveries last year were conventional hybrids, too, which can charge their batteries themselves but do not offer a zero tailpipe emissions range.

It’s especially impressive considering the challenges posed by charging at home in congested European cities where street parking is far more common than tucking a car into a private garage or driveway.

Big demand for electrified cars in Europe may point toward stronger sales in the future in the U.S., especially given the Biden administration’s intention to promote clean energy and re-implement higher fuel economy standards stripped out by the Trump administration. Still, American cities and states may offer incentives that promote electrified car purchases, but emissions-free mandates are considerably less common than in Europe. Many European cities have begun to implement zones inaccessible to most diesel and gasoline cars.

Overall, new car sales in the European Union slid by nearly 25 percent to just under 10 million due to restrictions imposed by COVID-19 lockdowns as well as a shattered economy.

Andrew Ganz
Andrew Ganz is an author specializing in helping in-market consumers get the most bang for their buck -- and the best car, while they're at it. When not virtually shopping for new and used cars, Andrew can probably be found under the hood of a vintage classic that's rapidly losing fluids.

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