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European registrations of alternative-fuel vehicles grew 35.1 per cent in Q4 of 2017, contributing to impressive 39.7 growth over the whole year.

A total of 227,378 alternative-fuel vehicles (AFVs) were registered in the European Union during Q4, accounting for 6.7 per cent of total sales.

Pure-electric cars (dubbed electrically-chargeable by the EU) accounted for 1.9 per cent of all vehicle registrations over that period.

Over the year, a whopping 852,933 AFVs were registered in the EU – 39.7 per cent than in 2016. That growth was driven largely by a 54.8 per cent jump in the battery-electric segment, followed by a 43.3 per cent boost in ‘milder’ hybrid vehicles and 15 per cent growth in plug-in hybrid vehicle sales.

Broken down by nationality, Spain (90.8 per cent) and Germany (76.8 per cent) saw the largest growth in AFV sales, followed by the UK (35.6 per cent) and France (33.4 per cent).

The numbers are especially opening when compared to poor AFV sales in Australia. VFACTS data reveals just 191 pure electric and 2403 hybrid vehicles were sold privately last year, excluding vehicles from Tesla.

Why? Tesla has never been one for playing by the rules, and doesn’t supply data for VFACTS. We hope the view from atop its high-horse is a good one.

Given the market grew by 0.9 per cent year-on-year, a 4.5 per cent drop in hybrid sales is concerning – especially when you consider the expanding, improving range of electric-boost and plug-in vehicles on the market.

Although 191 non-Tesla electrics is a 45 per cent improvement, 136 cars wasn’t exactly a high base.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has argued subsidies aren’t the only thing needed to boost EV sales locally, but prominent figures within some of the world’s biggest carmakers disagree.

“It is very difficult to make the electric car an attractive buy without government subsidies for the consumer,” Carlos Ghosn, RenaultNissanMitsubishi boss, said on a visit to Australia.

“So how can you support electric cars if it depends on government subsidies? We need not for an infinite period of time: just to make sure that you jump-start the sales.”

BMW Australia’s CEO, Marc Werner, has previously labelled our emissions levels “shocking” and called for “financial and non-financial incentives”.

“Incentives that will put these low-emission vehicles within the reach of more Australians,” he said.

MORE: Electric vehicle news
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