Sales of battery electric vehicles increased by 73 percent in European markets last year, though analysts are predicting that they will be overtaken by plug-in hybrid sales very soon.
As a whole, sales of electrified vehicles rose by 50 percent in 2014, with 97,791 vehicles purchased throughout the region. More than half (58,244) of these sales were from battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
The plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEVs) market also increased over the previous year. But the 39,547 PHEVs sold last year marks only a 26 percent gain from 2013. These sales totals also include electric vehicles with a range extender.
The report on EV and PHEV sales comes from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, who compiled the data. Sales were calculated using new vehicle registrations, separating the figures by individual countries. Tallies for both Europe and the European Free Trade Association markets were also included in the summary.
An imminent rise of plug-in hybrid over electric vehicles isn’t exclusive to in European countries. According to predictions from the IHS Automotive, BEVs will be account for less than 1 million global sales in 2020. Plug-in hybrids, on the other hand, are expected to reach 1.35 million global sales in the same period. And by 2025, PHEV global sales will double to 2.7 million.
“By 2015 or 2016, we will actually see an inflection point where global plug-in hybrid production overtakes that of electric vehicles,” said Ben Scott, senior analyst at IHS Automotive.
Carmakers are responding to these trends by integrating plug-in hybrid systems into more models – Cadillac, Volkswagen and BMW are just a few of the brands that have recently announced PHEVs.
But not all brands are on board with plug-in hybrids. An executive with Lexus recently commented that the luxury brand will focus more on hybrids instead, saying it’s a better technology for the environment than plug-in hybrids.