Fri, Feb 02, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Hybrids propel rise in Europe’s sales of alternative-fuel cars


European sales of cars powered by alternative energy sources rose 39 percent last year as Toyota Motor Corp pushed hybrid models and Renault SA extended the driving range on the latest version of its all-electric Zoe.

Customers bought 953,355 autos that run on systems including batteries, electric-gasoline or diesel motors, fuel cells or natural gas last year, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association said yesterday in a statement.

Combined demand for full hybrid cars, which can operate on either conventional fuel or self-charged battery power, and mild hybrids, which use an electric motor to help the combustion engine run more efficiently, surged 52 percent.

Sales of all-electric models jumped 49 percent.

The growth far outpaced the European car market’s 3.3 percent gain last year, suggesting consumers are warming to the models added by Toyota, Renault and competitors.

Still, the alternative systems powered only 6.1 percent of the 15.6 million autos sold across the region last year, an increase from 4.5 percent in 2016.

Battery-powered cars had a 0.9 percent market share last year.

EU regulators are requiring the auto industry to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from vehicle exhausts to limit greenhouse gases. Customers have been reluctant to buy all-electric autos because of concerns about how long battery recharging takes and the short distances the cars can travel compared with gasoline or diesel models.

Renault improved the Zoe’s range on a full charge by 67 percent to 400km.

Toyota has up to now focused on hybrid technology and last month it said that sales of the models jumped 38 percent in Europe last year to account for 41 percent of its deliveries there.

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