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85% Plugin Vehicle Share In Norway — Pure Combustion Falls Below 10%

Norway, the world’s leading nation in the clean transport transition, saw 84.9% plugin electric vehicle market share in March 2021, the second highest plugin market share for a single month on record (only trailing December 2020’s plugin share of 87.1%) and up from 75.2% in March 2020. Old-school combustion vehicles fell to under 10% share and are soon heading to zero.

 

March’s 84.9% combined plugin share in Norway comprised 56.3% full battery electrics (BEVs) and 28.6% plugin hybrids (PHEVs). This is a slight growth in PHEVs’ relative weighting from a year ago. The cumulative share for Q1 2021 was 52.8% BEV and 29.2% PHEV, for a combined 82%.

Petrol and diesel combustion vehicle sales declined again to a combined share of 9.5%, only the second time a sub-10% share has happened (the first was the record month of December 2020). It’s possible that combustion vehicles may see just over 10% share a few more of times between now and September, but thereafter will never again be seen above 10%, and will continue to fade away.

Here’s the timeline of powertrain market share evolution since the start of 2020:

Favourite BEVs in Q1 2021

The Tesla Model 3 saw its usual end-of-quarter delivery push in March, with 2,169 units sold, which helped it take the overall Q1 top spot for BEVs, around 30% ahead of the Audi e-tron (the leader in 2020). This puts the Model 3 back in the leadership position it held in 2019.

Note that the Volkswagen ID.4 only started Norwegian sales in earnest in March, with 852 units. If this monthly rate can be sustained, the ID.4 will have already matched the Tesla Model 3’s normalized monthly volumes. It’s also possible that, for now at least, this ~850 monthly units may represent an anomalous one-off push to satisfy the backlog of reservations. We will have to wait a few more months to see the ID.4’s sustained volumes in Norway.

Certainly combining the tally of the ID.4 with its direct siblings (sharing VW Group’s MEB midsized CUV design) — the Skoda Enyaq (starting to trickle out) and Audi Q4 e-tron (from the summer) — their total will likely take the lead from the Tesla Model 3. Given that the Audi e-tron was Norway’s solid favourite BEV in 2020, it seems possible that the upcoming Audi Q4 e-tron interpretation of the MEB CUV platform might prove the most popular version. The Q4 e-tron will be unveiled within the next couple of weeks.

Volkswagen ID.4. Image courtesy of Volkswagen.

I’m expecting Norway’s plugin share to hover around 80% over the coming few months, with September showing the usual seasonal uptick, closer to 90%, and late months of the year getting deep into the territory of 90% share.

The fast plugin transition in Norway (and elsewhere) is helped by a flood of more and more compelling BEV models arriving every month, at ever better value. This trend will continue to accelerate across the entire auto industry from now on.

What are your predictions for plugin share in Norway this year? Which BEV models do you think will prove the most popular in the country? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

 

 
 
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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 MaximilianHolland.com, or contact him via LinkedIn.

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