Strong increase in demand for alternative fuel vehicles in EU | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 07.09.2017
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Strong increase in demand for alternative fuel vehicles in EU

Car drivers in the European Union are increasingly turning to alternatives to gasoline and diesel, according to the latest figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).

The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association reported on Thursday that demand in the EU for alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) increased by 38 percent in the second quarter of 2017, when compared with the same period last year.

Considering that over the first half of 2017, EU demand for passenger cars (all fuel types combined) grew by just 4.7 percent, the latest positive growth figures for AFVs — which continue the momentum of the 37.6-percent growth rate seen in the first quarter — suggest alternative fuel vehicles are on course to increase their share of the European market.

A total of 204,502 cars with alternative 'powertrains' (the mechanism that propels a motor vehicle) were registered in the EU in the second quarter of 2017, up from 148,187 for the same period in 2016. The total accounts for 5.1 percent of all passenger cars sold in the second quarter of 2017. AFVs have steadily increased their share of the EU passenger car market since 2005 but less so in the area of commercial vehicles, where the alternative share has remained static.

What exactly are AFVs?

An AFV is defined as a vehicle that runs on a fuel other than gasoline or diesel, or one that is powered by technology or otherwise, for example electric, hybrid electric or solar powered vehicles.

Registrations of hybrid vehicles, known as HEVs (up +61.1 percent) and electrically-chargeable vehicles, known as ECVs (up +45.8 percent) showed particularly strong growth in the EU, with demand for battery and plug-in electric cars especially significant in the ECV sector.

The five largest EU markets of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK all experienced double-digit increases in demand, but Germany recorded the highest growth of all, with a 91.9 percent increase in AFV registrations in the second quarter. This shows a further acceleration from the growth figure of 67.5 percent recorded in the German market in the first quarter of 2017.

The Brussels-based ACEA is the representative association of the 15 car, van, truck and bus makers of Europe.

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