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Portugal Has 14% Plugin Vehicle Market Share, Tesla Model 3 On Top

While the overall automotive market in Portugal still in the doldrums (-39% year over year/YoY), plugin vehicle registrations hit a record month in September, with 1,844 plugins being registered there.

While the overall automotive market in Portugal still in the doldrums (-39% year over year/YoY), plugin vehicle registrations hit a record month in September, with 1,844 plugins being registered there. As a result, the plugin electric vehicle (PEV) share hit a record 14% last month (5% full electric vehicles), and the 2020 result is now at 11% (5% full electric vehicles).

But this great result is mostly due to plugin hybrids (PHEVs), which are currently on fire in Portugal. They grew 164% last month, to a record 1,138 registrations and 62% of the PEV market, while fully electric vehicles (BEVs) have seen better days. In September, they edged positive (+3%, 706 registrations), but year to date (YTD), the numbers are still in the red (-4%, 5,204 registrations), making this traditionally BEV-friendly market move firmly into PHEV territory. The latter now have 56% of total plugin sales in Portugal this year.

Why has this happened? Well, for one, the fiscal incentives for PHEVs are almost identical to BEVs, which make many fleet buyers buy plugin hybrids just because of the fiscal incentives. Another reason is the weak charging infrastructure, which is insufficient to provide quality service to the already large number of plugins in the country — not only when it comes to quantity of stations, but also reliability (a large number of fast-chargers have significant down time due to weak maintenance) and speed (there isn’t any fast-charger offering more power than 50 kW). No wonder the Tesla Model 3 is #1. … If nothing else, it’s because Tesla drivers have access to a nationwide network that isn’t down all the time and charges at 150 kW! 

Speaking of the best sellers, the Tesla Model 3 increased its lead over the Renault Zoe to 89 units, thanks to a September win (172 registrations). In turn, the French hatchback also gained space between it and the #3 Nissan Leaf, now ahead by 61 units.

While the podium positions seems stable for the moment, below them, the PHEV title is very much up in the air. The Mercedes A250e, a new local favorite, surpassed the BMW 330e and reached the #4 position overall. Both of these models won an important advantage over the #6 Mercedes C300e/de.

Interestingly, 3 out of the 4 position changes benefited Mercedes models. Besides the A250e climbing to #4, the E300e/de was up to #9, thanks to a year best score of 61 units, while the GLC300e/de took full profit from the new diesel-engined version to jump to #18.

Funny enough, there is not one Volkswagen in the top 20, and the only Volkswagen Group nameplate present is the Porsche Cayenne PHEV(!) in #16.

In the manufacturer ranking, Mercedes (18%) is well ahead of the competition, being the first market where the three-pointed-star automaker is #1. On its tail we have BMW and a rising Volvo, both with 11% market share, running for the runner-up spot. Off the podium, we have Tesla (9%), followed by Renault and Nissan, the two with 7% share each.

Midsize Cars

We should also notice that the remaining models also have a significant electrification rate, with 48% of the leader BMW 3 Series sales coming from the PHEV version, closely followed by the 47% electrification rate of the Mercedes C-Class, while the 25% rate of the Peugeot 508 is much further off.Comparing Model 3 deliveries to its midsize competitors, we can see that the Tesla midziser has kept June’s 3rd spot, so there’s actually no news here.

In the last place of the top 5, the Volvo S/V60 twins have reasons to celebrate, as they increased their electrification rate by 8%, to the current 41%, making this a 100% electrified top 5.

Midsize SUVs

Surprisingly, the #3 BMW X3 dropped in its electrification rate compared to June, from 40% to the current 35%.Electrification is strong here too, with leader Mercedes GLC increasing significantly its electrification rate (23% rate, up 10%). All the other models have a large share of sales coming from their PHEV versions, with the Mitsubishi having a 60% rate, the new 4th placed DS 7 having 65% (up 9%), and runner-up Volvo SUV an average 53% rate.

Full Size Cars

On one hand, we have the two category leaders with a significant level of electrification (E-Class — 48%; 5 Series — 43%), one 100% BEV model (Porsche Taycan), and the #4 Volvo S/V90 twins scoring a strong PHEV share of 59%.In the full size car category, there’s good and bad news.

On the other hand, the Audi A6 has risen to #3 and PHEV versions of this model have only recently started to get delivered, so its electrification rate (11%) is small. Although, it has increased 7% compared to June and should continue to grow in the coming months.

Full Size SUVs

This is the most electrified end of the market. Not only do gas/diesel models have a significant electrification rate, but now we also have EV models in the top 5, with the Audi e-tron joining in #5.There were lots of changes in this category. First of all, the Porsche Cayenne (93% PHEV) is the new leader, having displaced the BMW X5 (57%, down 9 percentage points), while the Mercedes-Benz GLE (31% PHEV share, up 17 points compared to June) is the new bronze medalist, having replaced the Volvo XC90 (79% plugin hybrid)

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Written By

Always interested in the auto industry, particularly in electric cars, Jose has been overviewing the sales evolution of plug-ins through the EV Sales blog since 2012, allowing him to gain an expert view on where EVs are right now and where they are headed in the future. The EV Sales blog has become a go-to source for people interested in electric car sales around the world. Extending that work and expertise, Jose is now a partner in EV-Volumes and works with the European Alternative Fuels Observatory on EV sales matters.


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