Over 1.2 million fully-electric passenger cars were registered in Europe last year, up 63 per cent on 2020, according to data from Jato Dynamics.
In 2018, EVs represented 1.3 per cent of all new passenger cars registered in Europe. This jumped to 2.3 per cent in 2019, and to 6.2 per cent in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.
In 2021 however, electric vehicle sales in Europe continued to grow, accounting for a 10.3 per cent share of the market for the year.
Jato Dynamics says the increase in popularity for EVs last year was driven by two key factors: government incentives and semiconductor shortages.
It says the continued availability of generous government incentives resulted in an uptick in demand as more consumers began to see the vehicles as a real alternative to traditional ICE models.
And secondly, due to the global shortage of semiconductors, many OEMs prioritised EV sales, along with SUVs, over petrol and diesel vehicles, meaning dealerships faced less disruption with supply.
As the European EV offer has grown, so has the competition and Tesla no longer holds such a dominant position within the market.
Two years ago, Elon Musk’s automaker held a 31 per cent share of the EV market, thanks largely to the arrival of the Model 3.
In 2021, Tesla was the most popular EV brand with 167,549 units across 28 European markets, however its market share fell to 13.9 per cent.
Last year, Volkswagen led the EV rankings by group, as one in four vehicles belonged to one of the German manufacturer’s six brands.
VW was more than 10 points ahead of its closest rival, Stellantis, which took a 14.5 per cent market share, followed by Tesla with 13.9 per cent.
The Volkswagen Group led in 19 markets, including Ireland; followed by Stellantis in four; Renault Group in three; and Tesla and Hyundai in one each.
VW’s ID.4 and ID.3 were the top two best-selling electric vehicles in Ireland last year, according to SIMI figures.
Having led the rankings in 2020, the Renault Zoe lost its position as the most registered EV in Europe to Tesla’s Model 3.
The Model 3 topped the EV rankings in 11 markets, including the UK, but was only the fourth best-selling EV in Ireland last year.