Spain lagging behind rest of Europe in electric car sales

by Deborah Cater
Sales of elctric cars slow in Spain compared to rest of Europe

Spain is at the bottom of the European list for registered electric vehicles. In the first 6 months of 2021, 9,258 electric cars were sold, representing 2% of the total number of cars sold. A lack of charging infrastructure is a contributory factor concerning low sales figures.

While neighbouring countries have already taken major steps towards 2030 European emissions targets, Spain is waiting to catch up. According to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), a total of 356,469 electric vehicles were registered in the EU in the first half of 2021. This represented 6.7% of total cars sold.

Of the main European car markets (Germany, France, Italy and Spain), Germany has the highest number of registered electric cars. From January to June, a total of 1,390,864 cars were registered, of which 148,936 were electric, representing a 10.7% share. After Germany, France follows with a market share in registered electric vehicles of 7.8%. Italy follows with 3.4% and Spain closes the ranks with 2%.

Norway world leader

Nowhere in the world are there proportionally so many fully electric cars on the road as in Norway. In the first half of 2021, 57.2% (48,070 vehicles) of all cars sold were fully electric. Sweden follows by a distance in second place (13%) and third place is taken by Austria (11.4%).

Spain also ranks low for plug-in hybrids

When it comes to plug-in hybrid models, Spain was also in the lower ranks. In the first half of 2021, Spain took third to last place in Europe. According to Acea data, 19,127 plug-in hybrids have been registered, representing a 4.1% share. After Spain, Hungary (3.1%) and the Czech Republic (1.9%).

The list of registered plug-in hybrid vehicles is led by Sweden (26.8%). Closely followed by Norway (25.3%). Denmark follows with a share of 19% of all cars sold. The fourth place in the European ranking of registered plug-in hybrids is taken by Germany (11.7% and 163,571 vehicles). France is in ninth place (7.7% and 71,785 vehicles). And Italy is just above Spain with 4.3% (38,133 vehicles) registered in the first half of this year.

Villa Nova Spain

Why so few electric cars in Spain?

The fact there are so few electric cars driving around in Spain is partly due to the uncertainty around the registration tax. This one-off tax on the first registration of new vehicles increased at the beginning of 2021, but was subsequently abolished again on 10th July.

Furthermore, the MOVES III plan ((MOVilidad Eficiente y Sostenible) has not had much effect among the population either. This is due to the delay of the autonomous regions in publishing the rules; they had three months. The MOVES III plan aims to promote efficient and sustainable mobility; it was approved by the Spanish government on April 14. The plan has a budget of €400 million, which could increase to €800 million.

Lack of charging infrastructure

But one of the main reasons for the low market share of the electric car in Spain is the lack of a good charging infrastructure. There is a serious shortage of charging points. To this end, the Anfac (Spanish association of car manufacturers) and Faconauto (Spanish association of dealers) presented a roadmap to 2030 in July this year.

According to the plan, Spain must have at least 340,000 public charging stations by 2030. However, this figure is still far from reality. At the moment there are only 11,517 public charging stations in Spain. In Europe, the average of charging points per million inhabitants is 573, while in Spain it is 245, in Germany 567 and in France 686.

The implementation of the step-by-step plan involves an investment of €5,500 million.

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