Record High 19.8% French Plugin EV Share In August — Tesla Model 3 Bestseller

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France, Europe’s second largest auto market, saw plugin electric vehicle market share hit a record 19.8% in August 2021, close to double the 10.5% share in August 2020. Old school combustion powertrains fell to a record low 55.9% share, with diesel under 20% for the first time in decades. The overall auto market was down by around 37% from seasonal norms, at 88067 units.

August’s combined plugin result of 19.8% was led by full battery electrics (BEVs) at a record high of 11.3%, with plugin hybrids (PHEVs) at 8.5%, a shift towards BEVs compared to recent months. A year ago their market shares were 5.4% and 5.2% respectively. The 2021 cumulative plugin tally now stands at 16.0%, from 9.3% at this point last year.

Note that BEVs have now bounced back strongly from their July dip (a hangover from recent incentive changes), which can be seen clearly in the below graph.

Old-school non-electrified powertrains had their worst month in the modern era, with diesel falling below 20% for the first time, at 18.2%. Petrol also had its lowest month, with 38.8%. These old-school powertrains are on track to drop below 50% share before the end of 2021.

Popular BEV Models

France’s industry organization responsible for publishing basic auto market data has recently changed hands. As part of the change, this month we happen to get timely top ten BEV model figures from AAA Data. Hopefully this will be a regular occurrence from now on.

This year’s clear favourite BEV in France, the Tesla Model 3, was once again dominant in the monthly rankings:

August’s ranking was mostly in line with recent months, with the Renault ZOE, Peugeot e-208 following the Tesla, as usual. One new appearance was by the MG ZS EV which had its strongest month so far, replacing the Fiat 500e from it’s typical #4 spot, and displacing the Peugeot e-2008 from the top 10 list.

With the Shanghai Tesla Model 3 now arriving in decent volumes in Europe, and after a record delivery volume in June, the trailing 3 month performance has seen the Tesla extend the gap from its nearest rivals:

For a more detailed and broad survey of August’s plugin model data, keep an eye out for Jose’s report later this month.


It’s good to see BEVs already bouncing back to a record share in August, following their temporary dip due to the €1000 incentive cut from 1st of July. Consumers are evidently catching on to the fact that – beyond simply the initial outlay – the long term running costs are strongly in their favour.

As we noted in last month’s report, September has historically shown a further uptick in plugin share, thanks to Tesla making its usual end-of-quarter push, and helped by all-new models being released into a still relatively sparse menu of BEV choices. We will almost certainly see plugins break through the 20% line for the first time next month.

There’s another €1000 BEV incentive cut planned for January 2022, which will create another pull-forward in December. Given that the end of the year is anyway always a peak for plugins, we can expect to see well over 25% share, perhaps even over 30% share in December.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts 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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