France's January EV boost – a reflection of what's to come

Updated: Mar 3

If there was any mistaking what year we have just entered, a glance at France's January passenger car registrations data gives more than just a few pointers. The latest CCFA/AAA supplied data for January 2020, clearly indicates that OEMs are pushing their electric car offerings at an entirely different pace to that we have previously seen. However, this doesn't come as a surprise as the schmidtmatthias.de monthly European Electric Car Market Intelligence Report has on numerous occasions suggested, as stricter European CO2 fleet average emissions targets commence.



France witnessed a meteoritic jump in BEV (battery electric vehicle) registrations last month (January). It marked the first time over ten thousand (10,952, +258% y/y) pure electric passenger cars were registered in a single month, resulting in an 8.2 per cent share (11% if PHEVs are included) of the 134,230 total January market – impacted by the Malus upper limit for higher emitting CO2 vehicles from the start of this year. The previous highest pure electric car sales monthly total was less than half of January's total.

In January, new passenger car average CO2 emissions from new registrations, consequently fell to 96.0g/km, which doesn't include any form of super or eco-credits which are available to manufacturers from 2020 to help them achieve their individual weight based CO2 targets.

Just under half of January's electrifying BEV volume came from Renault's refreshed Zoe model. It recorded 5,331 units (+256% y/y) allowing it to command the unfamiliar position of becoming a top-three selling model in its own domestic market. The latest version of Peugeot's 208 – including all engine derivatives – followed by Renault's own Clio model, just 200 units ahead of its all-electric Zoe sibling, remained out in front.


CO2 targets likely to be achieved

Private purchase incentives for battery-electric cars have remained at €6,000 for BEVs priced under €45,000 (up to 27% of the acquisition cost), which indicates that Renault was likely keeping EV vehicles back in 2019 to register as many in 2020 as possible. This is likely to be the case, also among other manufacturers and a significant reason why CO2 targets, which appeared as an unachievable dot on the horizon to many as recently as just one month ago, are likely to be achieved as the new 95g/km bar is phased in this year.


For more on Western Europe's electric passenger car market and a monthly analysis of the registrations data, a monthly report is available here. The report also includes a forward-looking outlook to 2025.

© 2020 by Matthias Schmidt | Berlin, Germany