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Norway’s EVs Break Through The 90% Barrier — Tesla Takes Top Two Trophies

Norway’s plugin electric vehicle market share in September broke new ground, hitting 91.5% with full electrics alone taking 77.5% share. Diesels lost more than half their share year-on-year, falling to just 2.3%, with petrol and plugless hybrids not faring much better. Overall auto market volume was 17992 units, slightly above seasonal norms. The Tesla Model Y and Tesla Model 3 took the top two spots.

September’s combined plugin result of 91.5% consisted mainly of full battery electrics (BEVs) at a new record share of 77.5%, with plugin hybrids taking a modest 13.9%. Last year, September saw 61.5% BEVs and 20.1% PHEVs.

PHEVs had averaged 25.4% share as recently as H1 of this year, but have since fallen off, demonstrating that even this transition technology is now on the way out in Norway.

Diesel share fell to a record low of 2.3%, under half that of a year ago (5.0%). Petrol took just over 3% and even old-school HEVs took just 3.2%. The end-game for these older technologies will be interesting to watch. Will they quickly disappear entirely, or – like Zeno’s halving paradox – simply keep steadily diminishing into insignificance?

Best Selling Models

Tesla’s usual end-of-quarter push had the result that both its mid-sized models dominated the sales chart for September:

What’s more interesting is that, beyond the end-of-quarter push – looking at the trailing three months – Tesla still appears to be well ahead of other brands:

However, if we add up all of VW Group’s BEV sales over the trailing 3 months (including those that are outside the above top 20), their tally (8645) is still a slightly ahead of Tesla’s (7867). Their positions may reverse in the final quarter, since the Model Y is still ramping, and VW may be held back in the short term by chip shortages.

When Tesla’s Berlin factory ramps up over the coming year, VW will have a real fight on their hands. Will they be ready with high volumes of the more affordable variants of their MEB platform?

Largely thanks to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 proving popular (#5 rank), the Hyundai Group’s trailing 3 month performance is also decent (3680 units), albeit just under half that of VW Group or Tesla. Hyundai Group may climb further when the Kia EV6 arrives in the coming months, and get a further boost if-and-when the “third sibling” Genesis GV60 arrives in Europe in 2022.

Stellantis takes 4th spot in the group ranking with 2890 units over the past 3 months, with the Mustang Mach-E giving Ford the #5 rank (2380 units). This a great result for Ford’s first BEV effort, but when will they ramp up production volumes to allow the Mach-E to fulfil its true potential?

Ford Mustang Mach-E. Image Courtesy: Ford

Renault-Nissan (1430 units) have unquestionably squandered their early lead, and look set to soon be overtaken by BMW (1207 units), thanks to the imminent arrival of the likely-to-be-popular BMW i4 (from under €50,000) and the BMW iX.

Even Mercedes (1334 units, before the EQS has ramped) may overtake Renault-Nissan in the short term. The Nissan Ariya (much delayed) and Renault Megane cannot come soon enough.

Outlook

With BEVs now taking close to 80% of new sales, their momentum seems unstoppable.

The Norwegian EV association (Norske Elbilforening) reports that private buyers have already moved on almost completely from ICE, with 91.3% already choosing a BEV. However, a side-effect of the current incentive system (mainly via BEVs benefitting from a VAT waiver) may in fact make the last few ICE sales difficult to eradicate unless policy changes can be made.

A large share of the remaining PHEV, HEV and ICE sales are going to commercial leasing companies (both serving company-car customers and some private individuals). Since users of company-cars can anyway claim VAT refunds, the advantage of the VAT waiver that private buyers receive on BEVs doesn’t have much leverage over this area of the leasing sector.

So some new incentive design that applies to leasing arrangements will probably be needed to weed out the remaining non-BEV sales. We will keep an eye on this situation and bring you updates when they arise.

Despite this, it’s likely that the rest of this year will continue to see plugins gain share around the 90% level or higher, with December around 95%.

What are your thoughts on Norway’s clean transport end-game? Please share any insights in the comments below.

 

Note: Unfortunately there’s no update data yet on Norway’s vehicle fleet composition at the end of Q3. I’ll be bringing news on this as soon as it’s available.

 
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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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