Norway Plugin Electric Vehicles Take Over 80% Share In April

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April 2021 saw plugin electric vehicles taking 80.1% market share in Norway, up from 69.6% in April 2020. Overall auto volume was back to seasonal norms, with 13,166 vehicles registered. The recent best selling full electric vehicle, the Audi e-tron, is now close to being caught by the new Volkswagen ID.4.

April’s combined plugin result of 80.1% consisted of 54.9% battery electrics (BEVs) and 25.2% plugin hybrids (PHEVs). Cumulative plugin share for 2021 now stands at 81.5%, with BEVs dominating at 53.3%.

Combustion-only powertrain share for 2021 year-to-date now stands at just 11.5%, a significant decline from the cumulative 20.3% share a year ago, and will likely fall below 10% for full year 2021:

Best Selling BEVs

With some brands delivering in irregular monthly shipments, let’s step back and see which BEV models are most popular in Norway year-to-date.

The Audi e-tron, with just shy of 800 deliveries added in April, is still barely holding on to the lead spot it has occupied for the past year or so. Now though, its younger upstart VW Group sibling, the Volkswagen ID.4, is gaining volume much faster and about to pass. With its first serious volume delivered in April, adding 1,802 units, the ID.4 seems to be trending to inevitably take the year-to-date lead by the end of next month:

The Tesla Model 3 was in a shipment trough in April, with just 7 units, from last month’s high-tide push of 2,169 units. Smoothing out this lumpiness, year-to-date the Model 3 is still neck and neck with the Audi e-tron, but may only see the back of the Volkswagen ID.4 from now on, if the latter can sustain its recent healthy volumes.

Volkswagen ID.4. Image courtesy of Volkswagen.

The ID.4’s sibling, the Skoda ENYAQ, also based on the new VW MEB platform, is also just starting to deliver in Norway. It saw an initial 334 units in April, already almost enough (pro-rata) to join the top 10, and will ramp up from here. Expect it to be visible on the cumulative top 10 list later this year.

Crossovers based on Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform are not stopping there however. The Audi Q4 e-tron (image below) is set to start Norwegian deliveries in June. The new Audi takes the best luxury features of the current Audi e-tron, combined with the ground-up design, space, and efficiency of the VW MEB platform, and offers them at a competitive price. In other words, it takes the best bits from the two Norwegian best sellers, the e-tron and ID.4, and combines them in a way that could well prove to be the sweet-spot for many Norwegian consumers.

Overall, the VW MEB platform model team looks certain to dominate in Norway this year. This is now made more clear by Elon Musk saying that Tesla will only have limited European production of the Tesla Model Y from the Berlin Gigafactory production plant in 2021, a crossover which will no doubt be popular in Scandinavia (and elsewhere in Europe) when it does finally arrive. 2022, however, should see a good race between all of these compelling BEVs, which together will extinguish the few remaining combustion vehicle sales in Norway.

Audi Q4 e-tron. Image courtesy of Audi.

What’s The Progress On Norway’s Vehicle Fleet?

In my last Norway report, some commenters asked what the composition of Norway’s in-use fleet of vehicles is now looking like. With plugin share of new vehicle sales solidly above 80%, the fleet is obviously now slowly but steadily turning over in earnest. Turnover takes a long time, since vehicles can last 15+ years in use (or much longer in some cases), but the pickup in turnover rate in Norway is just starting to be visible, especially if we squeeze the X-axis to accentuate the trend lines:

Note the slight uptick of the plugins’ slopes (green lines) in 2020, when Norway’s plugin share of new sales was almost 75%. Over the next year or two, as new sales become almost entirely plugins, the fleet replacement rate will obviously accelerate a bit further, and be more visible.

In a normal year for auto sales volume, 100% plugin sales should approximate a 6% or 7% fleet replacement rate in Norway. This means, other things being equal, around 50% of the Norwegian vehicle fleet will be plugin by 2025, and around 80% by 2030.

But, as running costs of BEVs (energy efficiency, longevity, and low maintenance costs) improve even further, and fossil fuel vehicles face potentially higher in-use disincentives (higher fuel tax, annual taxes, road tolls, city centre bans, etc), the replacement rate may be higher than normal (i.e., other things may not be equal).

Norway. Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash.

It’s worth remembering also that newer vehicles typically get driven a lot more than older vehicles, so the fleet kilometres driven will transform to electric power even faster. Essentially, by 2030, we can expect that the fleet of Norwegian passenger vehicles will only be using on the order of 10% to 20% of the fossil fuels that vehicles were burning before the EV transition (and quickly heading towards nearly zero).

With compelling new BEV models coming thick and fast now, Norway’s plugin market share should climb from last year’s 75% to above 85% in 2021, perhaps even touching 90%. What do you think? Please let us know in the comments.

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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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