May 2020 West European electric car market update


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, saw electric BEV cars account for over 4 per cent market penetration of the total passenger car market in May. 4.2 per cent of all the new passenger cars registered in the 17 monitored West European markets were pure BEV (battery electric vehicles) according to the monthly European Electric Car Report.

Positive growth month for West European BEV registrations in May

However perhaps more revealing was the fact that the market saw BEV registrations rise over previous year levels by 1 per cent to 23,200 units in May while the total passenger car market fell by 57 per cent during the same corona impacted month, marking a fifth consecutive year on year monthly fall according to exclusive officially compiled schmidtmatthias.de data.



Plug-in (BEV+PHEV) volumes reach 300,000 units after 5-months:

  • Between January and May this year 300,000 plug-in passenger cars have been newly registered in the West European region with PHEVs (Plug-in hybrids) coming close to equalling BEV registrations in May according to the May edition of the European Electric Car Report.

Germany dominant market:

  • Germany accounted for every fourth BEV registered in the region in May and 22 per cent year to date, followed by France accounting for just under every fifth BEV. During the opening 5-months of the year the top five volume BEV markets – Germany, France, Norway, The UK and The Netherlands – controlled 75 per of all regional BEV registrations. This is likely to be the status-quo as Germany and France have unveiled large stimulus packages aimed at helping their domestic manufacturers achieve CO2 fleet average emissions targets with private car subsidies for plug-in vehicles being topped-up in the wake of the corona pandemic. 

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.

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.

© 2020 by Matthias Schmidt | Berlin, Germany