France, Germany and Norway dominate the e-car market

Posted by Christian Pfäffli on

2019 was marked by e-mobility. It was the year of Tesla, as we could see in retrospect. And probably also the year in which e-mobility made its way onto the mass market. Nevertheless, one had the feeling that the car manufacturers were driving with the handbrake on. Which was certainly due to the fact that they wanted to save their e-car sales for 2020. The first year in which CO2 fleet values can become a real challenge for manufacturers.

CO2 limits drive the e-car market in 2020
We remember this: In December 2018, the EU agreed on new CO2 limits for passenger cars for the period after 2020. By 2030, CO2 emissions from new cars are to be reduced by 37.5 per cent compared to 2021. From 2020, a limit of 95g CO2/km will apply to all newly registered passenger cars. A fact which will lead to explosive growth in the electric mobility market in the quarter 01/2020.

Compliance with these limits will cause manufacturers to push new models and increase production output, which has been laboriously and slowly increasing until now. But it is precisely from the political side that e-car sales are being pushed further. The individual governments are to support both private and company car drivers with numerous subsidy programmes to accelerate the introduction. Particularly in countries where OEMs manufacture their own cars, appropriate support is provided to avoid fines and ultimately to protect jobs.

France dominates electric car market in January 2020
The first signs that the thesis of automotive analyst Matthias Schmidt is beginning to take hold can be seen in a look at the sales figures for January 2020: France proved in the first month of the new year that it has a lot up its sleeve to shape the e-car market. 38,164 e-vehicles were registered in Europe in January, 10,952 of these vehicles came from France alone. In terms of the market there, electrified vehicles were able to capture a market share of 8.2 per cent. Compared with the same period last year, this represents growth of 258 per cent.

If an 8.2 per cent BEV mix could theoretically be maintained throughout 2020, the French electric car market would grow to 180,000 vehicles (2019: 43,000) - based on the total French passenger car volume in 2019. This is despite the fact that the overall market is expected to decline slightly this year as car manufacturers try to avoid unprofitable volume sales in order to focus on more profitable sales. As these, in turn, are expected to support the lower margins from electric car sales.

The French electric car market in January 2020 was dominated by the new/old Renault ZOE, which accounted for almost half (5,331 units) of total sales of electric cars (10,952 units). In terms of the overall European market, the ZOE also dominated with a share of 9,619 cars sold, out of a total market of 38,164 e-vehicles. In comparison, the "previous year's winner" - the Tesla Model 3 - was in the middle of the field with 1,412 units sold in the European market. Growth in e-car sales in France continues to appear tangible, as more French models will be on the road in 2020.

The purely electric Twingo Z.E. is affordable for the mass market. In addition, the Mégane E-TECH with plug-in hybrid drive will also contribute its share to French success. Dacia is giving the starting signal for the brand's first electric car as a world premiere. Renault announced in mid-January that the launch of the Twingo Z.E. would mark a new stage in its own electric offensive. But PSA will also have interesting models in 2020. The Peugeot e-208 will arrive on the mass market. In January, 3,525 units were already sold in Europe.

Increased sales of e-cars in January alone contributed to a significant drop in French CO2 emissions averages. This is because the entire market fell by 16.9 g/km compared to the previous month of December. It is already clear at the beginning of March that this level of market penetration will probably increase further as more models are launched.

Great Britain is set for major growth in 2020
As one of many measures to protect the climate, Great Britain wants to stop selling new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035 - five years earlier than previously planned. In addition, the ban on new registrations will then also apply to hybrid vehicles, in contrast to earlier plans. On the other hand, by early April 2020, it is likely that zero-emission vehicles will fall into the zero-per cent tax category (currently 16 per cent). This should bring an enormous upswing to the region there.

The market there recorded 4,054 purely electrical registrations, or 2.7 per cent of the total volume, which led to a third consecutive month in which registration figures exceeded 4,000 units. With growing sales of Tesla Model 3 for the British market, automotive analyst Schmidt believes that sales of around 20,000 all-electric vehicles alone can be exceeded in March 2020. September 2019 emerged as the winner as the largest sales month to date on the electric car market. At that time 7,704 units were registered on the market.

Germany and Norway of immense importance for e-car sales
The other two major electric car volume markets in January - the four largest markets account for over 70 per cent of the total regional volume - were Germany and Norway. While Norwegian volumes are not expected to grow much faster from the already high levels in 2019, German volumes are likely to pass the significant 100,000 marks by the end of this year - and could reach 150,000 units.

This would give Europe's largest passenger car market an electric car share of just over four per cent of the total market volume in 2019 (3.6 million). Expressed in absolute figures, Germany sold 7,493 e-cars in January 2020 (growth compared to the previous year: + 59.2 per cent), Norway 4,236 units (growth compared to the previous year: + 24.3 per cent). Sales of e-cars in Germany, in particular, are expected to grow strongly due to the increased environmental bonus.

This is because in future there will be more money if an e-car is purchased below a list price of 40,000 euros. 6,000 euros instead of 4,000 euros will now be reimbursed from the purchase price. Plug-in hybrids in this price class will in future cost 4,500 euros instead of 3,000 euros. For electric cars with a list price above 40,000 euros, the subsidy for pure electric cars will be 5,000 euros, and for plug-in hybrids 4,000 euros. Up to now, electric cars have only been subsidized up to a netlist price of 60,000 euros. In future, this cap will be set at 65,000 euros.

In the future, young used electric vehicles that have not received state subsidies either as company cars or as company cars of the first purchaser will also receive an environmental bonus simply and unbureaucratically when they are sold second. This should also have a positive effect on the overall market.

Source: Matthias Schmidt – West European Electric Car Market Intelligence Monthly Report Edition 01.2020, translated and modified by Christian Pfäffli

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