top of page

Latest Study: First half West European electric passenger car market


Key points:

  • When Tesla sneezes the BEV market catches a cold – Q2 West European BEV volumes fell over opening quarter levels, impacting BEV penetration growth as Tesla witnessed regional quarterly volumes fall to their lowest levels in two years on the back of their Chinese Covid shutdown

  • A non-Tesla tops the quarterly top BEV models list The Fiat 500e was the most registered new BEV passenger car across Western Europe during this year's second quarter. This was the first time a Tesla hadn't topped the list since Q4 2020, when Volkswagen topped it with its delayed ID.3, rushed to the market with software problems in order to lower the Group's CO2 fleet average emissions in an attempt to avoid non-compliance fines.

  • Polestar 2 ahead of Tesla's Model 3 during Q2 despite similar Chinese Covid headwinds. Geely's Polestar brand witnessed its Polestar 2 volumes surpass same sector Tesla Model 3 during Q2 despite both models facing similar headwinds. Both were hit with Chinese Q2 production shutdowns, confirmed by the Sino-Swedish company that has its global HQ in Sweden and is listed on the NYSE. Polestar will launch its first, US built,SUV in October, the Polestar 3.

  • SUV-Crossover march shows no signs of abating – Anomaly boosted June Heading towards six in ten of all the new BEV passenger cars registered during June, high-riding and on-trend plug-in SUV-Crossovers, while not offering the aerodynamic credentials associated with efficient electric cars, offer the package to store the all-important battery conveniently below the cabin. With just under 100 BEV models available to order on the West European market, just under half (40) were SUV/Crossovers.

  • The PHEV transition technology fades whiles BEVs pull away BEVs were impacted in June by weak Tesla deliveries due to the Shanghai-related Covid-shutdown. The BEV/PHEV gap increased nonetheless and would likely have been even more significant in the 12 months to June 2022. The gap has grown to 380,000 over 12 months and is likely to finish the year with a difference approaching 0.5mn.


Schmidt Automotive Research logo

Mention the auto industry nowadays, and a relatively young-looking Californian

electric car manufacturer will surely be heard. Present on the European market

for a decade with a genuine own creation, the Model S (although it shared Mercedes parts thanks to its then shareholder) got the ball rolling. Retaining a quarterly West European BEV market share of above 10 per cent almost ever since, the rest is history. A significant peak was achieved during the third quarter of 2019 when its three model line-up at the time (S, X, 3) accounted for every third (33.9%) new pure EV entering the 18 market West European market. It was helped by the Model 3 launch during the same year and benefited from 2019 being the final year before the EU's CO2 fleet average compliance target was cut, seeing some OEMs sandbag BEV launches. However an ill-patent Q2 2022 saw headwinds for Tesla, dragging the entire June market down with it.

Its quarterly share of the W-European BEV market fell to just 8%, while its exposure to the

Chinese market – hit by a regional covid-lockdown impacting both domestic deliveries and

exports (almost all European models were manufactured there this year) – dragged the entire regional BEV market downwards. Total regional BEV volumes across the 18-market W-European region fell by 1.3% between April and June over the opening three-month period, while the total new car market rose slightly (+2.8%) during the same period, and even PHEVs saw a slight quarter-on-quarter rise (+1.5%). The market's BEV mix fell to 12.3% in Q2 – 0.5ppts below Q1.

While European manufacturers were impacted by the Ukrainian wire-harness issue in Q1,

which dragged into Q2 with a missing inventory hole from the Q4 CO2 push still unable to be filled, it led to broader production stoppages at plants, including BMW's i4 plant in Munich and VW's Zwickau BEV facility. Tesla was unable to take advantage of this misfortune despite its German facility coming online in March. According to official Austrian data, every fourth Tesla delivered in the alpine country came from the German Grünheide facility during the past quarter. The remaining vehicles came from China. Although the output from the plant just outside Berlin is slow, it potentially saved Tesla (and the BEV market) from further blushes.

While Tesla torpedoed the Q2 market, seeing its usual end-of-quarter boost turn to a whimper, Stellantis, which includes the Fiat FCA brands – part of the Tesla pool just over a year ago – saw its Fiat 500e model finish the second quarter as the region's number one BEV model. The combined brands, Peugeot/Citröen, DS, Opel/Vauxhall and Fiat, accumulated twice as

many BEV resignations (60,560) as Tesla (25,140). Stellantis narrowly failed to pass market leading VW Group's total (67,760) during the same quarter.

Mercedes-Benz Group, publishing its second-quarter results this week, said semiconductors "remain the main operational issue" going forward, while adding a long list of other macroeconomic potential headwinds. However, the world's second-largest car manufacturer VW Group – post management change – sounded more confident regarding semiconductors.

If the market returns faster in the second half of the year, BEV volumes will have to keep pace to offset CO2 emissions and help OEMs meet CO2 compliance levels. While German CO2 data suggests VW is trailing somewhat when its comes to their CO2 fleet average, and with a below-average BEV mix of 10.5 per cent during the opening half in a market that saw 12.5% of the market accounted for by BEVs, the German's are likely to double down on BEV deliveries in the second half of the year. Their regional BEV order backlog increased to 0.35 million VW confirmed to this study following the Q2 analyst call.

Meanwhile the German government has agreed on phasing out purchase subsidies, according to the Ministry for Economics and Climate. The end of purchase subsidies for vehicles that are not for private use will end outright September, 2023. This will unlikely impact the market in 2022 as most order books are full. Retaining the benefit in kind reduced tax rates should also help maintain stimulation for plug-ins.

The total market BEV mix is still forecast to reach 14% by the end of this year, while it is currently hovering at a 12-month rolling rate of 13.7%, or 12.5% after 6 months this year. With Tesla set to return with a bang in Q3, the 14% mix is likely all but "secured".


May also interest you: European Electric Car Market Full Year 2021: Executive Summary – Full Year 2021 European Electric Car Study 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


bottom of page