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April 2021 West European Electric Car Market – Report


Schmidt Automotive Research

SUV/Crossovers increasingly dominating Europe's electric car market

The German car industry is slowly but surely releasing the intended brakes from its high voltage automotive machinery, witnessing another new electric car production record. In March, every fifth passenger car manufactured there was a plug-in. Pressured into this by tightening EU CO2 regulations, manufacturers of the highest emitters – generally rolling-off German lines – are slowly but surely electrifying. From Zwickau to Zuffenhausen, European manufactured plug-in electric cars are consequently increasingly humming onto European roads. VW Group, over the 12 months to April 2021, accumulated twice as many new BEV registrations (206,400) as Tesla (102,500) according to the latest report's exclusive data, which just 16 months ago during full-year 2019 (109,700) outnumbered VW Group BEV models (46,500) by a similar difference.

During the opening third of 2021 every tenth VW brand model was either an ID.3, eUp or ID.4 with the latter taking the most registered model accolade in April (7,400 new registrations).

With SUV/Crossovers now accounting for every third BEV model registered during the opening 4-months, or above 40% in April itself (page 3, Fig. 04/01), VW Group's momentum is likely to continue with the ID.4, Audi Q4, and Škoda ENYAQ all well placed to capitalise. However, while Germany saw its 12-month rolling new BEV registrations total rise to 0.25m million last month, or over 0.5 million if PHEVs are added, elsewhere the divide between northern and southern Europe sees no signs of disappearing.

The BEV market penetration in Spain reached just 1.8 per cent of total volumes (market average 7.3%) in the opening 4-months, and Italy – where the Fiat 500 accounted for just under every fifth new BEV, according to UNRAE data – saw BEV penetration reach just 3.1 per cent. Yet, with Nordic markets, Norway (53.3%) and Sweden (8.9%) added to the equation, as well as the UK (7.2%), France (6.9%) and Netherlands (6.6%), among others, the West European region's 12-month BEV cumulative new registration volume total is expected to reach the one million milestone by this summer for the first time already. European EV supply about to be slammed on once again?

Yet anyone expecting BEV growth to continue in straight-line manner may well come away disappointed with CO2 fleet average data indicating OEMs are happy to slam the brakes on their xEV roll-out again, almost as fast as they accelerated it.

This is reflected in the forecast on pages 6-7.

This report has learnt that apart from the likelihood of a delayed Tesla European production ramp-up, Hyundai/Kia is also set to introduce only a very limited amount of its new BEV dedicated e-GMP architecture based models this year (IONIQ 5).

The first batch arrived at Bremerhaven port in April.

The true sounds of silence may in fact still be further away than first tones suggest.


Key points:

  • PHEV volumes remained ahead of BEVs for the fourth consecutive month (full data in the report). Total xEV volumes in 2021 are expected to reach around 2 million new units this year. In 2020 the combined BEV+PHEV volume was 1.33 million.

  • German xEV production recored its highest mix of total monthly production on record (19.9%) remaining within a 15% - 20% corridor for the seventh month out of the last eight.

  • The VW ID.4 was the region's No.1 BEV model in April

  • German xEV passengers cars in circulation (Parc) remain on course to be the first European market to hit the 1 million mark before by the end of this summer and just before German Chancellor Merkel departs her post, securing her electric legacy, all be it one year behind the government's original target.

  • SUV/Crossovers remained the largest BEV car sector accounting for every third new BEV during the opening third of the year with more key product debuts on the way.

  • The total West European 12-month rolling BEV cumulative total up to and including April 2021 was 0.86 million units, with the 1 million 12-month cumulative mark expected to be reached this summer. The BEV share of the total market over the same period was 7.4 per cent.


This is just a summary of the European Electric Car Sales Monthly Market Intelligence Report which is published on a monthly basis and are available here. *Western Europe 18 Markets: EU Member States prior to the 2004 enlargement plus EFTA markets Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, plus UK


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