New sales figures published this week have revealed that Western Europe battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales recorded their third-best quarter on record, despite significant global supply headwinds.
The new figures, published by leading auto analyst Matthias Schmidt, who authors the European Electric Car Report, showed that a total of 316,900 new BEV models hit Western European roads during the first quarter, a 12.8% share of the total 2.48 million new vehicles for the region.
Across all types of electrified vehicles, 22% of all new passenger vehicles that entered Western European roads during the first quarter of 2022 were plug-ins, with BEVs accounting for 12.8% and PHEVs accounting for 9.2%.
The BEV 12-month rolling sales total continued to increase to over 1.3 million units, while PHEVs sales were starting to head in the opposite direction, having only recently broken through the 12-month annualised 1 million barrier.
Schmidt’s numbers cover 18 markets in Western Europe (the European Union Member States prior to the 2004 enlargement plus EFTA markets Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and the UK) and, unsurprisingly, it was Tesla that remained ahead of Volkswagen Group’s combined new BEV volumes.
What makes the first quarter of 2022 such an impressive headline is the fact that, as Schmidt explains, “Western Europe’s pure electric passenger car market [is] falling on unpredicted times with hurricane headwinds” due to a perfect storm of global supply chain issues.
The continued semi-conductor shortage has been exacerbated by the Ukrainian wire harness impact, raw material price concerns, and resurgent COVID-19 shutdowns in China.
Nevertheless, thanks to European Union, United Kingdom, and Swiss CO2 fleet average compliance targets, Western European OEMs are still giving their BEV models preferential treatment when it comes to the limited numbers of semi-conductors available.
Unfortunately, Schmidt predicts that the supply constraints will continue through the remainder of 2022 and may even slink into 2023.
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.
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