Citroen e-C4

With the number of electric cars now available and with the changing mindsets of consumers, it was bound to happen sooner rather than later. Sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have finally exceeded those of diesels in Western Europe, according to a report by the Financial Times.

BEVs accounted for 21 per cent of the market share in Western Europe at the end of December. Diesel vehicles, including diesel hybrids, made up 19 per cent. While electrified vehicles also beat diesels in sales in September, that number also included hybrids and PHEVs; this is the first time fully electric BEVs have topped oil burners.

Around 176,000 BEVs were sold in Western Europe that month – a European sales record – compared with around 160,000 diesel cars, the report says.

For decades, diesels were the most popular powertrain in Western Europe, helped along with fuel subsidies under the misconceptions that they had fewer emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles. But the decline of diesel in Europe began with the VW emissions scandal of 2015-2016; at that time, diesel sales made up half of the market, but they’ve now dropped to around one-fifth by the end of last year.

EV sales have since been steadily climbing, with strong financial incentives and stricter rules on automakers’ fleet emissions.

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