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Tesla Model 3 – The number one European electric car


Key points:

  • Tesla Model 3 – Number one volume electric BEV car in Western Europe in 2021 according to Schmidt Automotive Research data

  • Twice as many units delivered as the next best model – Renault Zoe

  • Volkswagen lacklustre – individual BEV models experienced a slow first full year


Schmidt Automotive Research logo

The ubiquitous one

Tesla's Model 3 accounted for every ninth new BEV passenger car registered across Western Europe* in 2021 according to the December edition of the European Electric Car Study, published later this week. Thanks to this achievement, it also claimed the number one BEV model accolade across the region last year.

According to the study, 139,600 Model 3s were registered across the 18 market region which includes the original EU member states prior to the 2004 enlargement plus Norway, Switzerland, Iceland as well as the UK.

The Model 3 which saw a change in the production base for the European destined models switch from the US to its Chinese facility in the second half of the year accounted for narrowly twice as many vehicles as the next best BEV model, the Renault Zoe (70,300) across the region.

Germany soaked up the most Model 3s accounting for 1-in-4 – helped by the strong government funding which also helped offer attractive leasing deals requiring no deposits, with rates starting at €299 per month.

It was closely followed by the UK.

Volkswagen Group's combined MEB-based models achieved fewer than 200,000 models across Western Europe during the same period with just 189,000 models from the Škoda Enyaq, VW ID.3 and ID.4 as well as the Audi Q4 and Cupra Born arriving on roads stretching from Dublin to Dresden and or Oslo to Olbia.

Those models manufactured at the newly converted BEV-only Zwickau site (not including the ŠKODA) managed fewer than 150,000 region-wide deliveries last year according to the study.

The US destined ID.4 is also currently being exported from Zwickau for now.

Just 16,700 ID.4s entered US roads last year, according to VW data.

More exclusive data and analysis can be found in the full study which can be found here later this week:


2022 is almost certainly likely to see a further growth in BEV volumes with the monthly European Electric Car Study published by Schmidt Automotive Research each month predicting a reduced pace in increase in 2022 to 1.54M (+29% y/y) or 350,000 more units, mainly attributed to the opening of Tesla’s German production facility and a total market returning in the second half requiring more BEVs to meet CO2 targets that see the final year of certain incentive mechanisms.

The Tesla Model Y, that is set to be manufactured just outside Berlin this year, slots into the SUV/Crossover sector that accounted for over 40% of all new BEVs registered in Western Europe last year.

The BEV mix in 2022 is only expected to rise slightly to 12.6% as the market returns and more affordable – and less profitable – lower emitting ICE vehicle volumes return in the second half of the year in a total passenger car market that is expected to reach 12.2 million units (2021: 10.6M or the lowest level since 1984 - 10.2M).

The European Electric Study (19 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


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