Brussels, 19 March 2021 – In 2020, diesel remained the most popular fuel for new light commercial vehicles in the European Union, accounting for 92.4% of the van market. 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 2.0% 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 across the European Union1 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. Indeed, only 49,056 petrol vans were registered across the EU last year, roughly 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 2.0% 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 across 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 fuels2 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.
1 Data for Bulgaria, Malta and Lithuania not available
2 Includes natural gas, LPG, biofuels and ethanol vehicles