Excerpt from nytimes.com
Europeans bought more electric cars than diesels in December, a stunning illustration of the growing popularity of battery power and the decline of diesel, which was once the most popular engine option in Europe.
More than 20 percent of new cars sold in Europe and Britain in December were powered solely by electricity, according to data compiled by Matthias Schmidt, an analyst in Berlin who tracks electric vehicles sales. Sales of diesel vehicles, which as recently as 2015 accounted for more than half of the new cars in the European Union, slipped below 19 percent.
The December figures illustrate how electric vehicles are fast becoming mainstream. Sales of battery-powered cars soared in Europe, the United States and China last year while sales of conventional vehicles stagnated. Government incentives have made electric vehicles more affordable, the variety of electric cars to choose from has grown and buyers have become more conscious of the environmental cost of vehicles powered by internal combustion engines.
The growth of electric vehicles was all the more remarkable considering that the overall car market is in crisis. Sales of all new cars in the European Union fell more than 20 percent in November as a shortage of semiconductors strangled production, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.