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Almost every fourth new car in Western Europe during August was a plug-in electric car


Key points:

  • 24.2% of August's West European new car registrations were plug-in

  • Semiconductor issue could impact plug-in mix positively for the rest of the year

  • PHEV volumes continue to lead the way this year, marginally ahead of BEVs

  • 12-month-rolling cumulative plug-in trend (Sep '20 - Aug '21) above 2M units

  • Second half volume growth to slow, due to previous year COVID/CO2 impact


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Consisting of BEVs (fully electric passenger cars) and PHEVs (plug-in hybrids), externally rechargeable new passenger car registrations or New Emission Vehicles (NEVs) accounted for close on to one quarter of the total new passenger car market in August according to exclusive data published in the European Electric Car Report each month. The 18 market West European region* witnessed combined BEV/PHEV volumes reach 152,000 units in August, or 24.2 per cent of the total new passenger car market within the same region.

With pure electric models outnumbering plug-in hybrids for just the second month this year, it was partially thanks to an early shipment of Chinese-made Tesla models to Europe that arrived on European streets in August.

Tesla's share of the total West European passenger car market (all fuels) rises above 1 per cent over a 12-month period

Tesla accounted for 13 per cent of Western Europe's new BEV market in August which saw its 12-month rolling share of the total West European passenger car market rise above 1 per cent for the third consecutive month according to European Electric Car Report data, in what is usually a quiet mid-quarter month for Tesla volumes. This level of penetration would leave Tesla with levels similar to Jeep, Land Rover or Mazda.

Over 3,000 Tesla Model Ys entered European roads in August August also marked the European debut of the Tesla Model Y, seeing more than 3,300 models enter European roads according to the report's data.

Fine balancing CO2 act

Alongside the Chinese import factor in August, manufacturers that are struggling from semiconductor shortages are likely prioritising their most profitable ICE models over lower-margin, high-volume models, which must be countered by increased plug-in volumes in order to meet EU CO2 fleet targets in a fine balancing act.

VW data showing the daily production rate at its dedicated all-electric MEB plant in Zwickau, Germany showed no disruption from the semiconductor situation with the daily rate rising towards the planned 1,500 daily rate which would bring it close to its 330,000 annual capacity limit.

The 1.32 million new plug-in electric cars registered between January to August 2021 resulted in an 18 per cent penetration of the 7.36 million total new passenger car market during the same period, up from 12.4 per cent during the whole of 2020. New plug-in passenger car volumes during the opening 8-months of 2021 are now only narrowly behind (under 11,000 units) the total achieved during the whole of last year with 4-months of the year still remaining.

Semiconductor shortage to increase plug-in volumes further?

While the high year-on-year growth rates witnessed during the opening half of the year are expected to stabilise during the second half of the year, due to the COVID-impacted anomaly last year, manufacturers are likely to focus on more profitable and lower volume ICE models as long as the semiconductor issue continues.

The new cars came in two-by-two (profitable high emitting ICEs off-set by EVs) to meet CO2 targets

Consequently a more concentrated mix of higher profit and higher emitting ICE models can be expected in the second half of the year, forcing manufacturers to counter this with lower emitting plug-in models in order to reach EU CO2 fleet targets this year.

Updated BEV forecast – 9.5% BEV mix for 2021

For this reason the European Electric Car Report has updated its BEV penetration mix forecast of a lower than expected 11.8 million total market from 8.7 per cent to 9.5 per cent mix for 2021.

PHEVs remain ahead of BEVs so far this year Despite opening 8-month PHEV volumes (680,000) remaining ahead of BEVs (644,000), pure electric BEVs are expected to finish the year ahead of plug-in hybrids as Chinese made Tesla models, and a possible Tesla Germany production start, are expected to boost BEV volumes considerably in the remaining 4 months of the year, including two key end of quarter delivery months.

The European Electric Car Flash Report which is published on a monthly basis covers the entire West European region in a detailed data-driven manner.


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*Western Europe 18 Markets: EU Member States prior to the 2004 enlargement plus EFTA markets Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, plus UK


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