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Record 0.35 million pure electric cars registered in W-Europe in 2019

Updated: Mar 3, 2020

All change in Europe's BEV (battery electric vehicle) passenger car market. Norway – synonymous with just the mention of electric cars – having topped the region in volume terms during the past half decade saw the Nordic market fall behind both Germany and The Netherlands respectively last year while seeing its fourth quarter volumes fall (-26.2% y/y) in the process.

Recording an annual 63,557* (+70.1% y/y) pure electric car 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 new annual registration volumes according to the monthly SMA European Electric Car Market Intelligence Report. However, The Netherlands also leaped past Norway in the final month of the year due to a fiscally fuelled registrations bonanza end of the year, driven by tax savvy company car drivers.

Dutch consumers soaked up the majority of a limited European designated Tesla Model 3 stock in the closing quarter of 2019, due to a desperate rush from company car drivers to register a BEV vehicle by December 31st 2019 at the very latest. This enabled them to benefit from a lower benefit in kind tax rate (4%) for the value of a zero emission electric company car priced under €50,000, rising to 8% from 2020 onwards and the upper boundary falling to €45,000. The value of the BEV above the upper boundary is taxed at the same rate as an ICE, 22 per cent.

UK likely to take up the Netherlands slack during the opening half of 2020

The UK is also experiencing a fiscal frenzy, witnessing the benefit in kind tax rate for zero emission passengers cars moving in the other direction. From April 2020 it will be reduced to zero per cent (currently 16 per cent) resulting in the beginning of increased demand towards more zero emission vehicles, reported on in the October report. This change, slowly impacting the UK market, helped it achieve more BEV registrations in the closing quarter of 2019 than both Norway and France.

2020 will likely push the UK market to become one of the region's largest pure electric car markets, after disappointing up until this point. The fact that the UK remains part of the EU CO2 calculation in 2020, as part of the BREXIT transition period, will also help manufacturers achieve new EU CO2 targets.

Year of the Tesla comes to a close

In terms of manufacturer volumes it was certainly the year of the Tesla. Dominating the market since European Model 3 deliveries began. Correspondingly, Tesla finished the year with narrowly under one third of the market with combined model volumes touching just under 110,000 units. The Model 3 accounted for 85 per cent of all those West European Tesla volumes according to the latest full year report. Right-hand-drive models will now likely play a key role in keeping Model 3 volumes stable in the first quarter of 2020 before stabilising as the year progresses.

Year of the Volkswagen Group EV begins

While OEMs own supply barriers are being lifted in 2020 to help manufacturers meet European CO2 emissions compliance targets in the hope of avoiding large financial penalties, BEV volumes – as well as PHEVs – will boost the market and will likely see Volkswagen Group 2020 European volumes shoot past Tesla's. report forecasts, based on Volkswagen AG's own, forecasts over 200,000 Volkswagen Group BEV models are likely to hit European roads in 2020, which would be a large increase over the 51,000 registered across the region during 2019 according to the latest report published later this week. This placed the German manufacturer behind Tesla as the regions's second largest BEV car manufacturer, ahead of France's Renault.

More detailed information like this can be found on a monthly basis in the European Electric Car Market Intelligence Report, with full data sets and latest trends, available here *figure includes range extender models


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