Self-charging hybrid vehicles outsell diesel vehicles in Europe for the first time, according to ACEA data
Data released on Wednesday showed that self-charging hybrid cars, which use both an internal combustion engine and a battery, outsold diesel cars in Europe for the first time in 2021, albeit by only 48 vehicles.
According to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, one out of every eleven cars sold was battery-electric, totaling just fewer than 880,000 vehicles.
Self-charging hybrid vehicles have a battery that is charged by an internal combustion engine and can only travel a certain distance on electric power.
Plug-in hybrids are powered primarily by an externally charged battery and thus considered more environmentally friendly, but they are backed up by an internal combustion engine, whereas battery-electric cars are powered solely by the battery.
Throughout the year, a total of 1,901,239 million self-charging hybrid cars were registered in the European Union, a significant increase from the 1.1 million registered in 2020.
Diesel registrations, which have plummeted since the Dieselgate scandal in 2015, fell by one-third from 2.77 million last year to 1,901,191.
New government subsidies for low- or zero-emission vehicles implemented as part of pandemic recovery programmes tripled sales of plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles to over one million in 2020, with a roughly even split between the two types.
Carmakers see plug-in hybrids as a transitional technology to fully-electric vehicles, but environmentalists have criticised their green credentials, citing studies that show drivers rely more on the internal combustion engine than the battery, increasing emissions.
According to the data, battery-electric vehicle sales will increase by 63.1 percent to nearly 878,500 vehicles in 2021, while plug-in hybrid sales will increase by 70.7 percent to nearly 867,100 vehicles.
Petrol remained the most popular fuel type, but by a smaller margin than last year, accounting for 40% of new registrations, down from 48% in 2020.