The Swedish auto market, like other auto markets but not as extreme, saw its numbers crash (again) in April. The overall auto market was down 38% year over year. Also like in other markets, plug-in vehicles did better than the overall market. They actually saw a sales increase in April.
Overall, plug-in vehicles had 23% market share last month, according to EV Volumes, with fully electric vehicles (BEVs) scoring 5.5% market share and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) 17.5%.
In the first 4 months of the year, plug-in vehicles had 27% market share, BEVs 8% and PHEVs 19%. For whatever reason (there are various hypotheses), Sweden still loves its plug-in hybrids, which could easily dominate this story, but I think it’s interesting to highlight that even 8% BEV share is very high in the global ranking. In general, Swedes like plugs.
As you can see in the chart above, the most popular EVs are plug-in hybrid versions of some of the country’s most popular fossil-fueled vehicles from homegrown Volvo and nearby German giant Volkswagen. Kia also does quite well on a solid second shelf of the rankings, again via plug-in hybrid versions of traditional fossil-fueled models.
Looking at the year-to-date numbers shows a similar picture, but the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV jumps up into the #4 spot and the Tesla Model 3, the highest ranking fully electric vehicle, also passes up the Kia Niro PHEV to take the #5 spot. Perhaps the most interesting thing to me, though, is seeing the Kia Niro EV so much closer to the Kia Niro PHEV in this chart. It still has just 63% of the sales of the plug-in hybrid version, but that’s much closer than in the month of April.
I presume that the massive global disruptions in auto manufacturing play a role in creating a market that is not in full balance with consumer demand. If supplies or production schedules are hurting certain models more than others, the charts may reflect that much more than the actual consumer demand split. That might explain why the Kia Niro EV did so poorly in April while looking much better in year-to-date sales. Maybe.
Clearly, it’s going to be an odd year for auto sales. But odd isn’t too bad when it means 23–27% plug-in vehicle market share. Let’s see if the split improves or weakens for plug-in vehicles, but there’s no doubt about it: plug-ins are going to count 2020 as their best year in history in Sweden, and the market share is likely to be logged as one of the best in the history of the world. The rEVolution is in full swing in Sweden.