Europe witnesses modest growth in vehicle numbers amidst electric surge

Europe witnesses modest growth in vehicle numbers amidst electric surge

In 2022, Europe’s roads saw a modest 1% increase in car numbers, totaling 252 million, despite a surge in battery-electric vehicle (BEV) sales. BEVs, however, still represent a mere 1.2% of all cars, according to the latest ‘Vehicles on European Roads’ report published by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association or ACEA.

The van segment experienced a 1.5% rise, with France leading in numbers. Trucks, the oldest vehicle type averaging 14 years, grew by nearly 2% to more than 6.5 million. Notably, over 720,000 buses now operate, with BEVs constituting over 10% in three countries.

ACEA’s ‘Vehicles on European Roads’ report is the go-to publication for the latest data on the number of vehicles currently in circulation on Europe’s roads. This report also includes other key data, such as the average vehicle age, vehicle power types, vehicle ownership, and more.

Complementing ACEA’s regular car, van, truck, and bus sales updates, this unique report provides a snapshot of what the ‘fleet’ of vehicles on Europe’s roads looks like.

The data is revealing as it demonstrates how the sales data of different vehicle types, such as battery electric, tell a different story to the actual makeup of vehicles on Europe’s roads. Despite battery-electric cars now being the third most-popular choice for new car buyers, with a market share of almost 15% of sales, they only represent 1.2% of vehicles on EU roads.

The data underlines the fact that it can take several years, even decades, for older vehicles to be replaced by newer ones equipped with cleaner and greener technologies.

Below are some striking statistics from the report:

– Diesel-powered light commercial vehicles are still dominant in the EU with 90.7% of the fleet running on diesel and just 0.8% of vans being battery electric.

– 96% of all trucks in the EU run on diesel, while petrol fuels 0.7% of the fleet. Only 0.1% of trucks on EU roads have a zero-emission powertrain.

– Diesel buses account for 90.5% of the EU fleet, with only 1.9% being battery electric and 2% hybrid electric. However, significant shares of electric buses can be found in the Netherlands (15.9%), Luxembourg (12.7%), and Ireland (13.1%).

– The EU counts 574 passenger cars and 85 commercial vehicles and buses per 1,000 inhabitants.

– Poland and Latvia recorded the highest and lowest car per capita rates, respectively.

The ACEA report underscores that legislative efforts, while crucial, need to be complemented with comprehensive measures like enhanced charging infrastructure and incentives to accelerate the transition to cleaner transport options.