While reading an article on the ING website regarding a study on electric vehicle sales in the Dutch market by value, instead of by units, something struck me: the Tesla Model S was the 5th highest revenue generating model (€85 million) in the Netherlands in the first quarter, with an average price of €104,800!
As shown in the study, current Tesla cars are really six-figure vehicles in Europe, which makes it amazing that they end up selling so much.
Add that the Panamera PHEV is the bestselling Porsche in the Netherlands, and you have the proof that the top end of the premium market is being electrified faster than the rest of the market.
Which reminded me of a study we did a couple of years back for EAFO, where we broke down plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) sales by segment in Germany. The E/F segments (full-size vehicles, for our readers across The Pond) came out as the ones where plug-ins were making a larger impact, not only because of Tesla, but also because of the hot selling Porsche Panamera PHEV. That popularity led to a market share of 9% in the F-Segment, well above the 1.5% the PEV market as a whole had back then. So, I have decided to update that study with 2018 data, just to see if the trend continued.
And so it did, in a PEV market that has 2.2% share of the total market, the F-Segment (BMW 7-Series, Porsche Panamera, Tesla Model S…) is touching 10%, mostly thanks to the popularity of the Porsche Panamera PHEV, while the segment below, the E-Segment (BMW 5-Series, Mercedes E-Class…), is close to 4%. These are the classes where plug-ins have systematically made larger inroads in previous surveys.
That brings us to the conclusion that, in the largest automotive market in Europe, electrification is happening faster in the highest priced models.
To some, it must be stating the obvious, but remember one crucial point: Most (if not all) top-end F-Segment models do not have access to subsidies — they are doing this without any outside help, proving that plug-ins can be competitive on their own. Now.
And that’s a good thing — just like many other technologies (ABS, GPS…), the first to benefit from them were top-end premium models, but as the scale and learning curve progressed, other models from lower segments also benefitted from these, which should also happen with plug-ins. They should start becoming competitive on their own, with price competitiveness continuing to trickle down the price ladder.