The year 2021 was designated as the year of the electric vehicle. In July, the EU announced its plan to make all new cars zero-emission by 2035, marking one of the most significant victories in T&E history. Years in the making, this will contribute to the elimination of combustion engine cars and vans, which currently account for more than half of the continent's transportation emissions.
The UK also announced a landmark goal: no new fossil-fuelled road vehicles will be sold after 2040, with sales of combustion engine and hybrid cars (2030), vans and smaller diesel trucks already phased out by 2035 – followed by larger diesel trucks in 2040.
The sales boom that began with the implementation of the EU’s 2020 CO2 emissions rules reached new highs in 2021. Last year, nearly every fifth car purchased in Europe had a plug, and half of these were fully electric. Despite supply chain issues and the chip crisis, electric car sales were five times higher than in 2019 and are approaching a tipping point, proving what T&E has always said: carmakers will prioritise clean cars with regulation.
The boom in European battery investments continued in 2021, with VW planning to build six European battery cell gigafactories by 2030, as well as Britishvolt in the United Kingdom. T&E estimates that if all plans are met, Europe will have a battery cell supply of over 1000 GWh by 2030, enough to electrify 90% of domestic car sales.