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Boosted By Tesla Model 3, Sweden’s March EV Market Share Doubles Year On Year To 27%

March brought a strong continuation of 2020’s record-high market share for plug-in vehicles in Sweden, with a result above 27%, double that of a year ago. The overall total for Q1 was also just over 27%, and EVs are expected to achieve 30% market share over the full year 2020.

March brought a strong continuation of 2020’s record-high market share for plug-in vehicles in Sweden, with a result above 27%, double that of a year ago. The overall total for Q1 was also just over 27%, and EVs are expected to achieve 30% market share over the full year 2020.

Demonstrating that the 30% “shock result” of January was in fact an indication of the new normal, EV market share has remained strong since, with the SCB statistics bureau recording marginally over 27% for the full quarter.

Overall auto market volume was down just over 8% compared to March 2019, mainly still due to the effects of late 2019’s pull forward regarding imminent tax changes. According to auto industry association BIL Sweden, the current health pandemic has not had much influence on sales in the country so far.

Tesla Model 3 in the snow. Image courtesy Tesla.

Sweden currently favours plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) over pure battery electrics (BEVs), with a ratio of approximately 3:2. As usual, however, the pure electric Tesla Model 3 breaks this rule. The Tesla is the outright best seller, both for March 2020 and indeed cumulatively since it arrived in March 2019 (selling around 5,500 units over the period). Let’s look at last month’s top 10 (note that BEVs are in green, PHEVs in blue):

Even the homegrown Volvo, despite having its best month ever, could not keep up with the Tesla in March. The Model 3 was so dominant in March 2020 that it actually roughly matched the combined volume of the next 5 full electric BEVs (Audi e-tron, Renault Zoe, Tesla Model S, Volkswagen e-Golf, Nissan LEAF).

The Volvo got a refresh late last year and has recently been steadily growing in sales. From Q4 2019’s 699 sales, it has grown in Q1 2020 to 1,877 sales. This tops even the Model 3’s 1,249 Q1 total.

It will be a close call to see whether the Volvo or Tesla takes Sweden’s top spot overall this year. Volvo has the local advantage and the S/V60 (in all powertrain types) is in fact the country’s best selling vehicle overall, selling a combined 5,076 units in Q1 alone once you add in the pure fossil sales. Good, then, that the PHEV variant is now starting to replace the dirtier variants.

Tesla’s erratic monthly volumes are the somewhat inevitable result of the combination of a quarterly-focused US business culture and having a single factory for all-the-world-outside-China, which necessitates complex shipping and delivery logistics. The pattern won’t change much until Tesla has its European manufacturing established at “Giga Berlin” sometime next year.

Volvo S60 PHEV in a pretty setting happily self-isolating. Image Courtesy Volvo.

BIL Sweden expects the current virus pandemic will lead to reduced auto demand in Sweden in the coming months, despite not having had much influence yet. However, they still expect the clean transport revolution to roll on, and an EV market share of 30% over the full year 2020.

 
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Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking about social and environmental justice, sustainability and the human condition. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, and is currently based in Barcelona. Find Max's book on social theory, follow Max on twitter @Dr_Maximilian and at MaximilianHolland.com, or contact him via LinkedIn.

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