Diesel the fuel of choice for van operators

Brussels, Belgium: Diesel remains the most popular fuel for new light commercial vehicles in the European Union, accounting for 92.4% of the van market, data from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association shows.

Although the coronavirus pandemic dragged down the overall performance of the EU market, sales of electrically-chargeable and hybrid electric vans increased last year.

Electrically-chargeable vehicles (ECV) made up 2% of total van sales across the region (up from 1.3% in 2019), while hybrid vans accounted for 0.9% of the EU market in 2020 (compared to 0.3% the year before).

Diesel and petrol vans
Last year, the number of diesel vans sold in the European Union decreased by 17.2% to 1.3 million units, with all 27 EU markets posting declines. Despite this drop in volume, the market share of light commercial vehicles running on diesel increased from 91.7% in 2019 to 92.4% in 2020.

The overall decline in van registrations as a result of Covid-19 hit petrol-powered vehicles the hardest with 49,056 petrol vans registered in the EU last year – half the number sold in 2019. Except for Latvia, all EU markets posted declines in registrations of petrol vans throughout 2020, including the four major ones. As a result, petrol’s share of the EU van market shrank from 5.1% in 2019 to 3.4% last year.

Alternatively-powered vehicles (APV)
Overall in 2020, demand for new electrically-chargeable vans grew by 26.2% to reach 28,597 units sold, or 2% of total light commercial vehicle registrations in the EU. France (9,209 units) and Germany (8,830 units) were the leading markets by volume, together accounting for more than 60% of all electric vans sold in the European Union last year.

Registrations of new hybrid vans in the EU jumped by 175.0% to 12,698 units in 2020. This three-fold increase (compared to the 4,617 hybrid vans sold in 2019) is partly the result of a low base of comparison. Indeed, hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) still made up less than 1% of total light commercial vehicles sales in the region last year.

Demand for vans running on alternative fuels decreased by 29.5% to 19,346 units during 2020, as the two major markets for these vehicles posted sharp drops: Italy (-28.7%) and Spain (-53.2%). Consequently, the EU-wide market share of vans powered by natural gas and LPG slid back from 1.6% in 2019 to 1.3% in 2020.”

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