Norway Hits Record 87% Plug-in EV Share & 66% Pure Electrics In December

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Norway, the auto market most advanced down the path to electromobility, has seen new records broken in December, with 87.1% market share for plugin electric vehicles. Over two thirds were pure electric vehicles, and non-hybrid combustion vehicles fell to just 7.5% market share.

December’s 87.1% combined plugin result comprised 66.7% pure electrics (BEVs) and 20.4% plugin hybrids (PHEVs), which is a swing towards BEVs relative to recent months. Over the full year, the combined plugin share has reached 74.75%, with BEV contributing over 54.3% and PHEV contributing over 20.4%. This compares to 56% combined plugin share in full year 2019.

Norway’s overall auto market came through 2020 relatively unscathed, at over 141,000 new passenger vehicle registrations, just 0.7% off from 2019’s result. 2020’s plugin new registrations volume grew by almost a third compared to 2019, achieving 105,705 registrations.

Here’s the full year plugin growth story illustrated via the evolution of monthly powertrain shares (you can click on the graph to zoom in):

Note that the data show that not only are all non-plugin powertrains in strong decline, but that we have also now already seen the plateau of PHEV share in Norway. Over the next couple of years, full battery electrics are on track to climb to over 90% of Norway’s auto market.

Volkswagen Group brands had a very strong year in Norway, taking 3 of the top 5 BEV spots. The Audi e-tron did brilliantly given its premium price segment, helped by the introduction of the e-tron 50 variant with slightly lower range and pricing, still decent charging capability, and the same Audi refinements. E-tron Sportback variants have also joined the line-up in 2020.

The newcomer Volkswagen ID.3, which only started delivering in September, has achieved an average monthly rate of 1,938 units, and over 2,300 units in December, taking #3 spot for the year. At these monthly rates, the ID.3 is the strong favourite for 2021.

Last year’s favourite, the Tesla Model 3, held the #2 spot, although 2020 volumes (7,770 units) were around half of 2019’s volumes (15,683), despite a huge 4,232 unit push in December. In #4 spot, the Nissan LEAF is still popular, with sales within 15% of last year’s total, not bad considering the greater diversity of available BEV models to choose from. The VW e-Golf achieved the year’s #5 spot despite falling to negligible volumes over the past few months, replaced by the ID.3.

A shout out to the MG ZS EV and Polestar 2, newcomers in 2020 which both made the top 10 list in their first year.

The newcomer Volvo XC40 doesn’t appear on the year’s top 10 list, but took December’s #3 spot, so may make Norway’s top 5 in 2021. Other contenders will be the new Volkswagen ID.4 (which already started deliveries in December in the Netherlands) and perhaps the Tesla Model Y, depending on its European launch timing (and Berlin production ramp).

Audi e-tron Sportback. Image: Audi

In terms of powertrain shares, I’m, expecting old-school petrol and diesel to wither towards 1% or below in 2021. Plugless hybrids saw their Q1 share of 10.4% fall to 7.7% in Q4 (and 5.5% in December) and will continue to shrink, likely to below 5% by the end of 2021. Take note Toyota, your “self-charging hybrids” have no long-term future.

As noted above, PHEVs have now already peaked, and will gradually give way to full BEVs in 2021 and after. I’m expecting Norway to reach around 90% plugin share in full year 2021, of which at least 75% will be full electrics. The last months of the year will likely see over 95% plugin share.

What’s your prediction for 2021 in Norway? Please jump in to the comments below to share your thoughts.

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Dr. Maximilian Holland

Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking. 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, or contact him via LinkedIn.

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