Almost every fifth new car registered in Romania in December was a BEV
Most registered passenger car in December was a BEV (Dacia Spring)
Greater BEV mix than Italy, Spain and Greece in 2021
Despite focussing on Western Europe, with the rationale that the 18 market region accounted for 98 per cent of new BEV volumes of the enlarged European region last year, according to ACEA compiled data, look closer at the final month of 2021 and an old eastern market stood out. Having long had some of the most generous BEV purchase subsidies schemes on offer throughout Europe – €10,000 – when purchasing a new battery-electric vehicle in Dacia's home market, it wasn't going to be long until an OEM took advantage of this. The all-electric Sino-Romanian Dacia Spring, developed in India on the Kwid basis, and manufactured in China, finished December as the most registered passenger car, irrelevant of the drivetrain in Romania. According to APIA data, the Spring (3,068) accounted for half of all the new BEVs (6,323) registered in the country, stretching from Bucarest to the banks of the Black Sea last year. Although Romania's BEV mix in 2021 wasn't outstanding, accounting for 5.3% of all new models, it was nonetheless ahead of West European markets such as Italy (4.6%), Spain (2.8%) and Greece (2.1%). However, it was in December that the market really moved into insane mode. BEVs accounted for almost every fifth (17.4%) new passenger car delivered (2,036 units), with the Spring accounting for 1,531 of those.
BEV model is one of the cheapest passenger cars on the market – after subsidies
Local prices for the Spring, which only arrived in Europe during the second half of 2021, start at €19,600 before subsidies, meaning that the vehicle falls below the psychological €10,000 price point after subsidies, putting it within €200 of the entry-level and original frugal people's car, the Dacia Logan. With scrappage incentives added, it falls even below that, giving a new definition to economical motoring. In 2021 the Romanian government's so-called Rabla Plus program had a budget expected to fund around 10,000 BEVs and PHEVs, although just under that entered the roads last year (9,235).
Volkswagen's closest offering in Romania, the e-Up is available for a monthly lease rate of just €160. Purchasing it will cost €14,080 after subsidies.
The attraction for manufacturers is that Romania is part of the European Union and thus helps reduce their EU fleet average CO2 figure every time they register a BEV model here. An additional bonus for OEMs pushing BEVs here – one of the last eastern states to fall following the destruction of the Berlin Wall – is the fact that it had a below-average BEV share of its new vehicle market – 60% below the blocks average in 2017 – meaning it is conveniently included in a multiplier factor for these vehicles (similar to a super-credit) helping CO2 compliance and encouraging some astute industry strategists to operate here. However, a victim of its success perhaps, Romania's plug-in vehicle share will likely exceed 5% mix by 2025, which would spell the end to this multiplying factor under current legislation.
Carrot and stick – air pollution stick?
The stick causing Romania to offer these mouthwatering benefits can perhaps be identified by looking at the hand slapping it received from the EU for systematically and persistently violating air pollution levels in its capital city, Bucharest.
In 2018, the European Commission took Romania and five other European countries to the European Court of Justice for their failure to cut emissions quickly enough to come into line with EU air quality standards.
All credit to Romania that is putting some of the wealthier West European countries to shame in terms of BEV penetration, thanks to a forthcoming government, happy to splash the cash. Let's hope the vehicles remain on Romania's roads though and aren't exported at a profit to those Western neighbours which would see a reversal of the direction of vehicle exports and imports we currently see.
The European Electric Study (20 pages) is published on a monthly basis and covers the entire West European region in a detailed data-driven manner.
May also interest you: Full 2021 year preview: The West European 2021 electric car market data... West European new BEV passenger car registrations reached 1.2M units (1,190,000) in 2021 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