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April 2020 West European electric car market update

Key Updates:

The West European passenger car market, which includes the original EU member states prior to the 2004 enlargement plus EFTA member states Norway and Switzerland, recorded a record 6.6 per cent BEV mix of total registrations during April according to provisional market data. BEV volumes fell at less than half the rate as the Covid-19 impacted total market, indicating that even in a downward spiral manufacturers remain keen to stick to their EV registrations quota scripts, no matter how small the volumes are, in order to remain on their road to CO2 compliance.

West European BEV pure electric passenger car registrations fell by 31 per cent year-on-year in April. However this was less than half of the devastating 80 per cent plunge the total passenger car market experienced in the same month, during a period which saw some markets come to an almost unprecedented complete halt in the historic corona pandemic hit month.

During the opening third of the year, West European electric car sales (registrations) reached 142,000 units according to provisional data which was an increase of 37 per cent over the same period last year and accounted for just under every twentieth (4.7%) passenger car registered in the region during the opening four months of the year. During the same period last year the mix was less than half that amount.  

Germany No.1 volume market in April:

  • The top volume market in April was Germany accounting for just under 30 per cent of the shrinking West European market in April that fell by 31 per cent over the same period last year. The second largest market in terms of volumes in April was Norway, with both markets combined accounting for more than half of the region's total volume in April.

No shift in CO2 targets expected, however other requests are not out of the question:

  • With, Groupe PSA, Groupe Renault, Daimler, Volkswagen Group and BMW Group, all underlining their willingness to stick by current CO2 targets during their first quarter presentations – which took place over the last two weeks – thanks to the lower total industry volume expected this year it can be assumed – as previously forecast by this report – that almost without exception all manufacturers will meet their individual 2020 phase-in CO2 fleet average emissions compliance levels... however that's not where this story ends. This report suggests OEMs may well, due to the COVID-19 situation, ask for other means to make reaching tougher 2021 onwards targets easier to achieve and could be seen as a pseudo-shifting of targets if they occur. 

Market outlook:

  • Impacted by the Corona Virus outbreak the 2020 forecast has been revised to 556,000 (58% y/y growth) from over 700,000 previously. This would equate to a 5 per cent share of a total market falling by -20 per cent. Moody's and LMC are both forecasting a 21 per cent contraction in the total W-European passenger car market in 2020 while PSA said they expect a 25 per cent contraction across the European region.

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.


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