Electric cars, set to become an important part of our everyday lives when the sale of new combustion engine vehicles is banned in 2035, are becoming increasingly popular, with the international trade in hybrid and full electric cars on the rise.
According to statistics from Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency, the EU spent €11.8 billion on import of non-plug-in hybrid cars last year, or around 41% of total extra-EU imports of hybrid and electric cars.
Furthermore, the EU spent a further €11.4 billion on electric cars (39%) and €5.9 billion on plug-in hybrid cars (20%).
For all three categories of cars, the value of imports was less than the corresponding value for exports of vehicles made within the EU. Exports of non-plug-in hybrid cars were valued at €22.9 billion, which accounted for more than half of the total extra-EU exports of hybrid and electric cars (55%).
The export of full electric cars earned the EU Member States an additional €12.3 billion (29%) and plug-in hybrid cars €6.8 billion (16%).
Compared with 2017, the total value of exports of electric and hybrid cars has increased 800%. In value terms, total extra-EU exports of these vehicles amounted to €42 billion. Likewise, the total import value of this new type of car increased by more than 400% from €5.6 billion in 2017 to €29 billion in 2021.
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Full electric vehicles, such as those made by Tesla and Polestar, have surged in popularity. Since 2017, the value of imports of these vehicles into the EU increased by 2,400%. In the same period, the value of imports of hybrid cars increased by 800%, and non-plug-in hybrids by 165%.
The EU exported 5,000% more non-plug-in hybrid cars than in 2017, in terms of trade value.
In Belgium, some 72,000 electric cars were manufactured last year, despite a series of critical material shortages. Most were built at the Audi Brussels plant in Forest. Among corporate users, these vehicles are extremely popular. Seven of the top ten corporate lease vehicles in the country are now electric SUVs.