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France Continues To Grow Plugin Vehicle Share In January With 11.6% Result

France, Europe’s second largest auto market, saw continued healthy growth in electric vehicle market share in January, reaching 11.6% from the breakout 11.0% share in January 2020, and already above the 11.2% annual share in 2020.

France, Europe’s second largest auto market, saw continued healthy growth in electric vehicle market share in January, reaching 11.6% from the breakout 11.0% share in January 2020, and already above the 11.2% annual share in 2020. This growth comes despite the big hitting Renault Zoe, Volkswagen ID.3 and Tesla Model 3 all taking time off in January.

The 11.6% combined plugin electric vehicle result comprised 5.1% full battery electrics (BEVs) and 6.5% plugin hybrids (PHEVs). This is a swing towards PHEVs from 2020’s full year contributions (6.7% BEV and 4.5% PHEV).

A ‘normal’ EV growth year in France sees January’s result just marginally (roughly ~7%) above the previous full year average. While no one is expecting to see a repeat of the 4× annual growth of 2020 (which would require 2021 to accumulate 45% plugin share), January 2021’s result does match normal growth patterns of recent years. This then suggests that another healthy year may be on the cards, although it’s obviously far too early to read much into these scant tea leaves.

BEV Big Hitters Taking Time Off In January

What is noticeable is that January’s result of 11.6% share was achieved despite most of the best selling BEVs taking a breather (presumably to restock their channels from December’s end-of-year record volume push).

The Volkswagen ID.3 saw 2550 unit sales in December, but didn’t even get on to the top 100 best selling autos list in January (which only requires >203 sales). Likewise for the Tesla Model 3 which scored 878 units in December, but didn’t even reach 203 units in January.

Peugeot e-208. Image Courtesy: Peugeot

Even the long-time home favourite Renault ZOE “only” scored 1013 units in January from a massive 5978 in December.

Industry body, the CCFA, don’t provide powertrain breakdown for the top 100 autos, but the Peugeot 208’s January total of 7915 should have included roughly ~20% of the Peugeot e-208. If so, the Peugeot will have taken the top spot from the ZOE in January.

Other BEVs substantially down in volume from December’s end-of-year push included the Dacia Spring, and Fiat 500e. Both scored above 1500 units in December. Keep an eye out for Jose’s model numbers later in the month to find out which models were the top sellers.

In recent years, January to July plugin share is always relatively flat in France, and the growth spurt only really begins in August or September.  We will have to wait until then to get a true handle on what 2021’s plugin result is likely to be.

On the basis of January’s result I’d hazard a guess to say we will certainly see more plugin share growth again this year, but whether it will be modest growth (15-20% range) or substantial growth (30-40% range or more) is too early to call. What do you think? Please jump in to the comments to share your thoughts.

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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, or contact him via LinkedIn.


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