Updated: Mar 3, 2020
It has been close on a decade since electric car models from volume manufacturers started entering the West European passenger car scene, from the likes of Nissan with its Leaf to Mitsubishi (now alliance partners) with its MiEV; also sold under license with PSA badges. In 2012 the only Tesla model you could get your hands on in Europe was a reengineered Lotus model, sold as the all-electric Tesla Roadster and Volvo was selling the C30 electric.
The thinking in some circles was, that it would go from niche – where 24,000 pure electric car sales were registered across Western Europe in 2012 accounting for 0.2 percent of the market, according to schmidtmatthias.de historic data – to slowly building momentum and moving out of its ‘also ran’ position. While still niche in terms of total sales, momentum is finally building thanks to a number of factors (see below). The same region is now averaging 2,000 more units per month this year, as it did in full year 2012.
Western Europe’s 12-months rolling sales (August 2018 to July 2019) share going to pure electric vehicles, also know as BEV (Battery Electric Vehicles) has now reached two percent of the total passenger car market, or every fiftieth new car registered in the region. Although the market has been running at this level on a monthly and cumulative basis so far this year, July was the first time the two percent hurdle had been breached over a rolling 12-month rolling period. Rolling twelve-months’ sales up to July 2019 achieved 282,100 new BEV passengers cars coming onto the market according to schmidtmatthias.de compiled data, making up two percent of all the new car registrations in the region over that same 12-month period.
The achievement can be heavily attributed to three factors that allowed the market to move away from its sluggish, just over one percent share of the market up to Q3 of last year, to heading towards a doubling in sales in just over 12-months.
- The tax change in The Netherlands impacting BEV vehicles priced over €50,000, altering the so called benefit-in-kind tax rate from the previous 4 percent for all BEVs – for company car drivers using their vehicles for private use – to 22 percent (the same level charged for ICE models) saw a rush for pricey BEV vehicles before the year closed, hugely boosting volumes in the closing months of 2018. The likes of Jaguar’s I-Pace and Tesla Model S and Model X were the main benefactors, seeing the I-Pace become the top-selling model outright in The Netherlands in the month of December according to Dutch RAI Association data.
- The other two boosts were the first two quarters of Model 3 European deliveries, achieving first half 2019 deliveries of 37,200 units according to the schmidtmatthias.de monthly BEV report, boosting the region dramatically as a whole. A large boost from Hyundai Kia new BEV models, also helped the market pick its pace up.
As OEMs rush to achieve tough average 95g/km fleet average CO2 emissions starting in 2020 (including 95 percent of the fleet) and 2021 (100 percent of the fleet) there is likely to be a relatively big push of BEV models to help achieve these targets and avoid sky high fines, be that from private customers, or possibly a boost in carsharing all-electric fleets.
VW Group (comprising of the likes of Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and SEAT) alone are planning around 300,000 pure electric BEV deliveries to customers in the European region next year (2020) according to an investor relations presentation presented to Société Générale in Paris last month (July). Correspondingly, 2020 could see BEVs registrations in the region top half a million units or 3.5 percent share of the total market. With a host of new PHEV models coming to market too, mainly from premium OEMs in order to meet CO2 targets, the plug-in share in the region could rise above five percent. It currently stands at 3.2 percent after 6-months according to the June edition of the schmidtmatthias.de BEV report, available here.
What OEMs will have to do in order to achieve average 95g/km CO2 targets
StatitikAustria data for the Austrian market offers more food for thought, giving an indication what OEMs will have to do in order to achieve average 95g/km CO2 targets. After 6-months this year Nissan had a fifteen percent pure electric sales mix of all the passenger cars the Japanese company registered in Austria. This corresponded to a 20g/km CO2 fleet average reduction from 128g/km to 108g/km after including zero emission vehicles. This 108g/km doesn’t include any form of super credits or eco innovation bonuses that will accelerate this fall even further.
This year the BEV market in Western Europe is expected to achieve just over 300,000 new annual registrations according to the schmidtmatthias.de BEV report available on a monthly basis.