Hybrid cars are selling more than diesel in Europe for the first time

Self-charging hybrid cars, which run on both an internal combustion engine and a battery, sold diesel cars in Europe for the first time in 2021, albeit with only 48 vehicles, data showed on Wednesday.

One of eleven cars sold was battery-powered, according to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, a total of just under 880,000 vehicles.

Self-charging hybrid cars contain a battery that is charged by an internal combustion engine and can generally only drive a limited distance on electric power.

Charging hybrids are primarily powered by a battery charger externally and are thus seen as more environmentally friendly, but are backed up by an internal combustion engine, while battery-powered electric cars run solely on the battery.

A total of 1,901,239 million self-charging hybrid cars were registered in the EU throughout the year, a significant increase from the 1.1 million registered in 2020.

Diesel registrations, which have been crashing since the Dieselgate scandal in 2015, fell by a third from last year’s 2.77 million to 1,901,191.

New government subsidies for low- or zero-emission vehicles that went into effect as part of pandemic recovery programs tripled sales of plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles by 2020 to over one million, with an approximately even split between the two types.

The plug-in hybrids are seen by car manufacturers as a technology for the transition to fully electric cars, but their green credentials have been criticized by environmental groups because studies have shown that drivers trust more than hoped for the internal combustion engine over the battery, which pushes vehicle emissions.

In 2021, sales of battery-powered vehicles grew by 63.1% to almost 878,500 cars, the data showed, while sales of plug-in hybrids increased by 70.7% to almost 867,100.

Petrol was still the most common type of fuel, but with a lower margin than last year and accounted for 40% of new registrations, a decrease from 48% in 2020.


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