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Chinese BEV electric car market double Western Europe's – 1M units ahead after 10-months


Key points:

  • While China's new BEV passenger car market approaches 2M, W-Europe at below 1M

  • Western Europe's new BEV market penetration closer though 10% vs. 11.7% YTD

  • West European total plug-in mix remains 5ppts ahead of China at 19.3% thanks to PHEVs


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While new BEV (battery electric vehicle) passenger car registration volumes in Western Europe surpassed previous full-year levels (727,900) after just 10-months of 2021 (886,000), the 18 market region monitored by the European Electric Car Report each month saw that number dwarfed by China. During the same January to October period, 1.98M BEVs entered China's roads stretching from Shanghai to Beijing, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturer data. That's more than double (+123%) the amount that entered the roads extending from Lisbon to Linz or Athens to Aberdeen. Combined, both regions will break through 3 million new BEV passenger car units in November, with 2021 full year volumes expected to finish at around 3.5 million units. While BEVs registrations dominate the Chinese plug-in passenger car market, accounting for over 80 per cent of all new New Emission Vehicle (NEV) registrations this year, in Western Europe, the split was closer to 50/50.

However, BEVs have slowly begun pulling away from PHEVs since the second half of the year in Europe.

BEV volumes were ahead of PHEVs during the past three months, resulting in 327,000 new BEVs compared to 225,000 PHEVs or over 100,000 units more between August and October.

That trend is expected to continue as more competitive BEVs enter the European market, accompanied by the increase in Tesla shipments to Europe, with local German production set to begin soon.

Another perhaps significant trend to observe in China has been the gentle increase in PHEV volumes that traditionally had a lacklustre reception than BEVs.

According to China Association of Automobile Manufacturer data, Chinese PHEV volumes (67,000) came to within 10,000 units of West European volumes (77,000) in October according to European Electric Car Report monthly data.

However, as always with statistics, there is always another narrative.

Western Europe's old guard that is undoubtedly still recording hugely impressive figures – partially boosted by a depressed total market due to the semiconductor issue alongside latest CO2 emission targets applying fully in 2021 following the 95 per cent phase-in during 2020, alongside key compliance tools gradually falling away – can still claim the top spot when it comes to new plug-in passenger car registrations mix of the total market. Combined plug-in volumes in the 18 market West European region accounted for just under every fifth (19.3%) new passenger car during the opening 10-months of 2021, while in China, the figure was "just" 14.3 per cent.

Quotable: “The West European new BEV electric passenger car market looks impressive until you look over its shoulder in the direction of its top of the class Chinese pupil where more than double as many were registered during the opening 10-months.”

More in-depth analysis and trend-analysis is published each month in the full-report More in the next report published next week.

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.


May also interest you: Future outlook: Semiconductor crisis accelerates the EV transition... BEVs are now expected to soak up 10.2% (1.132M units) of the total market while with PHEVs added to the equation – a route mostly exploited by premium OEMs click here for the story


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


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