E-Mobility Sales Review Q3-2020

The European electrified vehicle market looks set to reach its tipping point later in 2020, resulting in an accelerating rate of sales.


Executive summary

As the COVID-19 crisis created havoc in automobile sales throughout the world, the electric vehicle segments held up comparatively well in the second quarter of 2020. It now appears that e-mobility will be one of the few winners to emerge from this crisis.

This is particularly true of Europe, where EV sales remained virtually unchanged from the equivalent quarter of last year. As a result, the fleets of European car manufacturers look increasingly well placed to comply with the average CO2 fleet emission target of 95 g/km.

With factories having been shut for an extensive period due to lockdown measures, there will be some delay before European production can satisfy the existing order backlog – while waiting for new demand. At that point, probably later in 2020, EV sales in Europe are likely to reach their tipping point, accelerating more rapidly due to increasing product availability and the beneficial impact of recently implemented government incentives. Regional differences in EV market performance are becoming ever more salient. Regulation, mobility habits, and product offerings are following entirely different paths in each region. 

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Top findings

  • In the second quarter of 2020, sales of fully electric and electrified vehicles (xEVs) – mild, full and plug-in hybrid as well as battery electric vehicles – registered a decline of 16% in key markets compared to the equivalent quarter of 2019
  • However, there was significant variation in the results for the various technologies. Whereas sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and hybrids declined by 22% and 19% respectively, registrations of plug-in hybrids (PHEV) increased by 15%
  • The rise in global PHEV sales was mostly due to Europe. In the top five markets of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, PHEV registrations increased by 121% in relation to the second quarter of 2019, despite the crisis.
  • Although China recovered somewhat from the first quarter of 2020 after coming out of lockdown, Europe continues to display the highest market share for electric vehicles by a significant margin

E-Mobility Sales Data

France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK

Although registrations of electric vehicles were hit hard by the effects of COVID-19 in April, and to a lesser extent in May, they rebounded in June. Sales declined by only 1% compared to the equivalent quarter in 2019, with 211,000 new electrified vehicles being registered in the top 5 markets. Such relative stability and the growth in market share of electric vehicles can be attributed to increasing customer interest, and a general improvement in the quality and availability of the vehicles themselves.

Whereas sales of hybrid vehicles fell by 29% in comparison to the same quarter last year, registrations of PHEVs soared. This was particularly noticeable in Germany (+257%). The UK showed a significant increase in BEV registrations (+113%).

Further European markets (+5)

Looking at five smaller European EV markets (Austria, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and Sweden), the overall percentage decrease in the ten European markets from the same quarter last year is similarly negligible (1%). Norway’s overall market share for electrified vehicles continues to outstrip the rest of the region, at 79%.


Although the Chinese EV market fell by 22% in Q2 in comparison to the equivalent period last year, registrations were more than twice as high as in the first quarter of this year. The relative recovery is partly due to the reopening after the economic lockdown which occurred earlier than in other regions.

Registrations of BEVs declined most sharply, down 29% to 182,000 units, while sales of hybrids increased 9%. It is hoped that the extension of sales subsidies and tax breaks for NEVs (BEVs and PHEVs) for two years will revive the electric car market and further extend its global market share. The Chinese government has also introduced comprehensive safety regulations for electric cars in order to provide additional reassurance for consumers.


As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, registrations of electric vehicles declined by a third (-33%) in comparison to the equivalent quarter in 2019. Significant falls in sales were evident for BEVs, PHEVs and hybrids. The only bright spot was a 6% increase in hybrid registrations in June 2020 in comparison with the same month last year, up to 42,000 units.

The scale of the overall decrease is largely due to crisis-related delays in the launch or delivery of much anticipated new models, including Ford’s Mustang Mach-E and Tesla’s Model Y. However, long-term structural issues continue to have an effect. Government incentives and regulations vary markedly across different states, and do not demonstrate the same strategic resolve to boost the EV market that is evident in other global regions.

About the "E-Mobility Sales Review" by PwC and Strategy&

PwC Autofacts® and Strategy& have analyzed e-mobility sales worldwide in the second quarter of 2020.

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Felix Kuhnert

Felix Kuhnert

Partner, PwC Germany

Dr. Jörn Neuhausen

Dr. Jörn Neuhausen

Director, Strategy& Germany