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Norway’s Plugin EV Share Hits 85% In June, Combustion Vehicles Falling Rapidly

Norway, the EV revolution leader, saw plugin electric vehicles hit 85.0% share in June 2021, up from 66.3% in June 2020. Non-plugin powertrains, including old-school combustion, and plugless hybrids, are all fading away. Overall auto volumes broke a new seasonal record for June with 20,392 units sold. The Tesla Model 3 was Norway’s overall bestselling vehicle in June.

June’s 85.0% combined plugin share comprised 64.7% battery electrics (BEVs) and 20.3% plugin hybrids (PHEVs), which is a swing towards BEV from recent weightings. PHEV share was actually down year-on-year (from 22.3% in June 2020), hinting that PHEVs – as a transition technology – may now have hit a plateau in Norway, and BEVs will soon be pretty much the only game in town.

Combined cumulative plugin share for 2021 year-to-date stands at 82.6% from 68.5% a year ago.

Plugless hybrids are down to 6.9% share from 9.3% in June 2020. Old-school (non-electric-assist) combustion powertrains share fell a huge two-thirds year-on-year, to 8.2% combined share from 24.4%, and will likely never reach above 10% again:

Best Selling BEVs In June And Year-To-Date

Norway’s most popular BEVs in June were the Tesla Model 3, the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Skoda Enyaq, and the Volkswagen ID.4. The Audi Q4 e-tron, which actually has more interior space than its older and more expensive “original” Audi e-tron sibling, is now picking up in monthly volume, at 56% of the latter’s volume and climbing. Will the newcomer overtake its older sibling in the third quarter of this year?

With the Tesla Model 3 and VW ID.4 already solidly occupying the top two spots of 2021 year-to-date, the incoming Ford Mustang Mach-E, and Skoda Enyaq are climbing the YTD ranks to join them. The Enyaq is trending to take the #4 spot by October or earlier. If the Mach-E can sustain the strong volumes of the past two months it will take the #3 position from the Audi e-tron (and the neck-and-neck Volvo XC40) as soon as the end of July:

The Tesla Model 3 looks unassailable in the 2021 YTD chart. However, if you tally together the MEB-platform SUV stable-mates, the ID.4, the Enyaq and the Q4 e-tron, their combined sales will outnumber the Tesla Model 3 this year. When the Tesla Model Y joins in volume, hopefully next year, the rivalry between these mid-sized platforms will get more interesting, and result in a further advancing the BEV market.

Norway’s Fleet Turnover To Electric

Thanks to updated calculations from Elbil.no, we can now refresh our view of the evolution of the Norwegian vehicle fleet. We can see that the most recent change (the far right of the slope) shows a gradually steepening gradient, and plugins are already at a combined 19.3% (I’ve condensed the x-axis to make the gradients more visible):

With some 85% (and growing) share of vehicles being added to the fleet now being plugins, and almost all of the retirements being combustion vehicles, the rate of fleet evolution now boils down to mainly the retirement age of older vehicles. There is some complication from imports into Norway of used and near-new BEVs from neighbouring countries which may accelerate the fleet transition somewhat.

These forces should combine to result in roughly 5% or perhaps up to 6% fleet replacement per year by plugins in the coming years, with the vast majority being full BEVs. Since plugins are already at 19.3% of the fleet, this means that within 6 years (by 2027) at least half of Norway’s vehicle fleet will be plugins.

Reducing fossil fuel emissions is a key part of the overall goal for Norway, so it’s important to remember that newer vehicles get driven a lot more than older, part-time, and semi-retired vehicles.  By 2027, the newest 50% of the fleet will be burning little to no fossil fuels, and the remaining combustion vehicles in the oldest 50% of the fleet will probably only count for around one third (or less) of the vehicle kilometres driven.

By 2030, Norway could be down to as little as 10% of the vehicle kilometres driven being powered by fossil fuels, compared to pre-electrification. The exact figure will depend on how quickly Norway gets to effectively 100% of fleet additions being full BEVs, or whether PHEVs stick around at 5% or 10% of new sales for a longer time.

Either way, a 90% drop in fossil fuel use by 2030 is a welcome trend, and is now being followed (a few years behind) by Sweden, Netherlands, and, later, the larger European markets of Germany, France and the UK, and ultimately all of Europe and elsewhere too.

Tesla Model 3 / Image: Tesla

 

Norway’s plugin share of new sales is still moving fast towards 100%. In recent years, the second half of the year sees a notable uptick in plugin share compared to the first half.

Already at 85% plugin share in June, we can expect the rest of the year to quickly approach 90% and then perhaps climb as high as 95% in December. The full transition to 100% BEV will require a wider variety of BEV models on offer, especially in the lower priced segments. If the legacy automakers are slow to meet this need, there are already a wide variety of great value small BEVs in China that could fit the bill.

Let’s see how it plays out. 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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