May 2020 West European electric car market round-up

"Compliance secured – Governments assist in avoiding devastating fines during fragile times"


Key Updates:

Western Europe:

  • Western Europe recorded a fourth consecutive above 4 per cent BEV mix of total registrations during May

  • Jan-May BEV mix: 4.7%

  • Summer corona window, fuelled by key new products and increases in subsidies in major markets remains key to 2020 CO2 phase-in compliance.  

  • Combined plug-in (PHEV/BEV) Jan-May volumes rose to 0.3 million units or 8.3% market penetration



Volkswagen Group No.1 manufacturer Volkswagen Group (37,600) remained ahead of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance (36,600) in the 5-months up to May to remain the region's largest BEV passenger car group in the region this year. In terms of individual brands, Tesla(28,100) remained the largest brand during the opening 5-months although if PHEVs are added to the equation Volkswagen brand (28,300) has now overtaken Tesla in terms of total plug-in deliveries this year whilst combined VW Group brands including; VW, Audi, ŠKODA, SEAT, Porsche and a handful of Bentleys, delivered twice as many plug-in vehicles (62,000 or 6.8% of its total West European deliveries) as Tesla. VW Group's 2020 BEV target mix for Europe is 6 per cent of its total full-year volumes or around 186,000 in a market forecast to fall by 20 per cent. Help is on hand for VW with the first ID.3 deliveries confirmed to begin in September in a beta launch.   

German production motor begins to plug-in 

Latest VDA data shows that 12.3 per cent (1-in-8) of all passenger cars manufactured in Germany in April were plug-in models. Due to April impacted by the COVID shutdown, this was however unrepresentative as just 11,287 passenger cars were manufactured in total, of which just under 1,400 were either PHEVs or BEVs. However, earlier months' data suggests the market was aiming at producing around 0.3 million plug-ins this year (2019: 194,000).

SUV/Crossovers account for every second PHEV, double its BEV mix

During the opening 5-months of this year SUV/Crossovers dominated new PHEV powered car registrations (50% share of all PHEVs) as consumers in Bonus/Malusmarkets, as well as markets with CO2 scaled benefit-in-kind tax systems witnessed a shift from SUV ICE powered models to PHEVs. However, the same sector saw a mix of just 22.2 per cent in the BEV market during the same period, behind the Golf-sized Lower-Medium sector (25.5%) and ZOE-sized Small sector (23.0%). However, in May combined pure electric SUV/Crossovers saw volumes outpace Lower-Medium (26.2%) models to become the largest sector accounting for 26.5 per cent of all BEVs.

Market outlook:

Impacted by the corona pandemic outbreak the revised 2020 forecast remains at 556,000 (58% y/y growth) from the original forecast of over 700,000 at the start of the year. This would equate to a 5 per cent share of a total market falling by -20 per cent. 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.

© 2020 by Matthias Schmidt | Berlin, Germany