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Diesel in freefall as electric vehicle demand rockets

The rapid decline of diesel registrations is showing no signs of slowdown in Europe while demand for electric cars is fast rising.

Tesla Model 3, now available to order in right-hand drive

The Model 3 was the top-selling fully electric vehicle of the month

August figures from JATO Dynamics reveal that diesel volume fell by 23% compared to the same month last year, and 16% compared to August 2017. To highlight this further, diesel market share has continuously fallen from 42% two years ago to 35% in August 2018 to 30% last month.

Diesel’s freefall is in sharp contrast to registrations of fully electric cars, which totalled 23,200, up by 76% compared to August 2018, and 143% on August 2017. Tesla shone thanks to the Model 3, which was the top-selling fully electric vehicle of the month.

And the overall segment for electrified vehicles (also including hybrids and hydrogen cars) continued to gain traction. A total of 83,700 electrified cars were registered in August 2019. Hybrids counted for 56%, with Mercedes outselling Lexus and becoming the second largest brand by registrations volume. The market share for electrified vehicles jumped from 5.6% in August 2017 to 6.0% in August 18 and to 7.8% last month.

Despite the rise in electrified vehicles, overall EU new car registrations fell 8.7% in August; the result of last year’s pre-WLTP spike in demand. August’s volume totalled 1,070,276 units, down by 102,000 units compared to August 2018, when registrations rose 30% due to stock clearances of NEDC-tested cars ahead of the introduction of WLTP.

However, JATO added that compared to the impressive growth posted a year ago, the drop could have been a lot bigger and a single-digit decrease is better than expected. In fact, last month was the second highest August of the last 10 years. A more positive note is also sounded by the country rankings; only four out of 27 posted a decrease compared to August 2017: Sweden, Norway, Ireland and Switzerland.

The latest JATO figures also show that Daimler, Suzuki and Ford were the biggest market share winners of the month while the Volkswagen Golf continued to lead the model rankings, followed by the Dacia Duster.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.