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France Hits Record 19.2% EV Share In December — Up Almost 6× Year On Year

France’s plugin electric vehicle market share hit a new record of 19.2% in December 2020, up 5.6× from December 2019. The full year result was 11.2% plugin share, with local favourite Renault ZOE the year’s top selling plugin once again.

France’s plugin electric vehicle market share hit a new record of 19.2% in December 2020, up 5.6× from December 2019. The full year result was 11.2% plugin share, with local favourite Renault ZOE the year’s top selling plugin once again.

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The December combined plugin share of 19.2% was dominated by battery electric vehicles (BEVs) at 11.1% of the total auto market, with plugin hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) taking 8.1%. Respective full year contributions were 6.7% BEV and 4.5% PHEV, for an overall 2020 cumulative plugin share of 11.2%. This is growth in share of 4× over full year 2019’s cumulative result of 2.8%.

France’s sales volume of plugins was 185,500 vehicles during 2020, up over 3× from 61,500 sales in 2019; a huge result in the context of pandemic disruptions. Total passenger auto sales were 1.65 million, down 25.5% from 2.2 million in 2019.

Here’s how France’s auto powertrain market shares evolved over 2020, with a notable uptick for plugin share in the final quarter of the year (click on the graph to zoom in):

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Model Results

At this stage we only have partial information on best selling BEV models in December (see Jose’s November report for the 2020 trending models). The homemade Renault ZOE sold a massive 5978 units in the month. That was double November’s result, and accounted for almost 30% of all France’s BEV sales in December! It also means that the ZOE comfortably held on to the annual top selling BEV title with total French sales in 2020 of 37,409 units, an outstanding result.

Renault ZOE. Image Courtesy: Renault

The runner up spot in December seems to have been taken by the Volkswagen ID.3, which managed just over 2500 sales, and has evidently now stepped up in volume (from 500-600 per month in France previously). Because it is still relatively new, the ID.3 wasn’t one of the top 5 sellers over the full year 2020 (but certainly will be in 2021).

We don’t yet have reliable December figures for the Peugeot e-208 but it probably achieved sales of at least 1500 units, giving it #3 position for the month, and comfortably took the #2 for the full year with close to 17,000 sales in its home market.

The Tesla Model 3 scored 878 sales in December, a decent push over it’s recent average monthly volumes (~570 units), and securing France’s #3 spot over the full year, a great result considering it’s higher price segment. The Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro were not far behind the Tesla, and jostled for #4 and #5 spots for the full year. Look out for Jose’s detailed model data later this month.

The Renault Group will launch an affordable BEV in 2021, the Dacia Spring, in a price slot below the ZOE. Depending on available volumes, this could be a very popular vehicle.

Dacia SpringDacia Spring. Image Courtesy: Dacia

Growth rate and future prospects

Remembering back to just one year ago, December 2019’s PEV share was 3.4%, and the full year was 2.8%. December 2020 has just seen 19.2%, and caps off a full year result of 11.2%. That’s obviously a massive uptick in the pace of the EV transition in France, similar to what we are witnessing in other parts of Europe.

Place your bets for France’s plugin market share trajectory in 2021. In recent years, the first half of the year has been relatively flat and just marginally above the previous year’s total share (11.2% in this case). The noticeable growth usually kicks off in August or September.

We may see above 20% share on average being achieved over the coming year 2021, and my guess is that the end of year peak will reach beyond 30%. However, 2020 obviously rode roughshod over previous patterns, so the actual path of 2021 could surprise us yet again.

Please let us know your thinking about 2021 market share in the comments below.

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