5 Key Technical Parameters

Average engine power for new passenger cars in the EU increased to 95 kW, which is nearly 30 % more than 15 years before (Fig. 5-1).

Statistics on vehicle mass and CO2 emissions show that those countries and brands with bigger, heavier fleets also have the most powerful fleets, and vice versa. Germany’s fleet is significantly more powerful than the EU average (109 kW vs. 95 kW), while BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi produce cars even more above the average, at 140 kW, 131 kW, and 132 kW respectively. At the other end of the scale, the French, Italian, and Dutch fleets all come in around or below 80 kW, while Fiat’s average is around 70 kW. The power figures also display the effects of the economic crisis, with almost all countries’ average power dipping significantly between 2008 and 2010 (Fig. 5-1 and Fig. 5-2).

Both engine displacement and average number of cylinders are decreasing, especially since 2007. This is, in part, another effect of the economic crisis, but it also signals an underlying technological trend: improved combustion processes and turbocharging allow manufacturers to extract more power from smaller engines. Thus, manufacturers are able to substitute a 6-cylinder engine for a 4-cylinder, and to generally reduce engine displacement (Fig. 5-5 to Fig. 5-12).

The average mass of new cars in the EU increased again in 2016, to 1,392 kg. That is about 10 % higher than 15 years before. Both the German and Swedish new car fleets were significantly above the EU average, at 1,468 and 1,562 kg respectively (Fig. 5-13). In contrast, in particular customers in the Netherlands opted for significantly lighter cars, with an average weight of 1,303 kg. The average size of the new fleet increased slightly, to a footprint of about 4.04 m2 (Fig. 5-19).