Updated: Mar 3, 2020
Germany became Europe's leading pure electric car (BEV) market for the first time on record last year – silently tiptoeing past a Norwegian market that had topped the region for the past half decade.
With 63,281(+75.5% y/y) annual registrations (KBA data) last year, Europe's largest passenger car market, Germany, also became Europe's largest pure electric passenger car market in terms of annual registration volumes according to the monthly SMA European Electric Car Market Intelligence Report. Having topped the European list for the past half decade, Norway was partially likely held back due to:
- The Netherlands taking priority of a limited European designated Tesla Model 3 stock in the closing months of the year as a company car tax change brought Dutch 2020 volumes forward into 2019 to benefit from an increased benefit in kind tax rate for electric company car drivers hitting consumers from 2020 onwards, with the top price boundary also being reduced by a further €5,000. This led to Dutch BEV annual volumes surpassing Norway's also, and narrowly missed becoming the region's largest individual market last year. Just over 1,000 units separated it and neighbouring Germany thanks to a last minute registrations lurch in the final hours of 2019. - A likely reduction in supply from traditional manufacturers that are looking to reduce their European CO2 average from 2020 onwards and were subsequently looking to shift 2019 demand to 2020. Since 2019 Norway been included in the European Union CO2 average calculation despite not being a European Union member. - With a host of new models coming to market from 2020, consumers are likely waiting for these models to hit showroom forecourts and subsequently delaying purchase decisions until then.
The Netherlands was the star of the show in December and clearly lead the region in the closing month of the year, helping the market surpass annual levels seen in Norway – although these Dutch levels are likely to be unsustainable in the opening months of 2020 due to sales having been carried forward into 2019. In 2020 the UK is likely to see big inroads due to a significant company car tax change being introduced from April 2020. This has already seen an impact with company car drivers that are due to update their vehicles now already switching to plug-ins in relatively large numbers in the closing quarter of 2019, in preparation for a shift to a zero percent benefit in kind tax rate from the start of the next fiscal year. This also helped UK pure electric passenger car volumes surpass Norwegian levels during the final quarter of the year.
More detailed information like this can be found on a monthly basis in the European Electric Car Market Intelligence Report, available here