France Jumps Above 20% Plugin EV Share In September

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France, Europe’s second largest auto market, saw plugin electric vehicle share jump up to a record 21.5% in September, over twice the 10.6% share seen a year ago. Diesel was down to a record low of 17.6% share. The overall auto market volume was down some 16% over seasonal norms, with 133762 sales. The Tesla Model 3 was the best selling plugin vehicle, and ninth in the overall auto market.

September’s combined 21.5% result comprised a record 12.7% full battery electrics (BEVs), and 8.8% plugin hybrids (PHEVs), which is a shift in weighting towards BEV from recent trends. PHEVs have hit a plateau recently, not having grown in share since May. The cumulative plugin share for 2021 now stands at 16.6%, up from 9.5% by this point in 2020.

Diesel share hit a record low of 17.6%, a huge drop from the 31.8% share in September 2020. The trend is such that BEV share is on track to overtake diesel share by December 2021, perhaps even by November.

Most Popular BEVs

Last month we were blessed with early data on the top 10 BEVs, but similar data has not yet been released for September (keep an eye out for Jose’s update report later this month).

However, we do have patchy data for some models, and we know enough to be able to report that the top 3 BEVs in September were the usual suspects – the Tesla Model 3 (9th in the overall market), the Renault Zoe, and the Peugeot e-208:

We also know that the newly arriving Tesla Model Y registered 430 units in September, which should put it just inside the top 10 BEVs.

Other recently trending favourites that likely continued to do well in September include (roughly in order); the MG ZS, Fiat 500, VW ID.3 (749 units), Mini Cooper, Renault Twingo, Hyundai Kona, and Kia Niro.

We also know that the Dacia Spring registered at least 1144 units in September, although, as in the past, many of these may have been one-off bulk sales for car-sharing fleets, rather than private purchases.

Now that the Tesla Model Y has started to arrive in fairly decent volumes in France, will it quickly climb the ranks in the coming months? Will the Model 3 see any amount of cannibalization from its newer sibling? We will have to wait and see.

Tesla Model Y / Image: Tesla


September in France often sees a notable uptick in plugin share and this year has been no exception. However, Q4 historically shows an even stronger growth trend over September. This seasonal trend has been observed consistently over the past 3 years, and 2021 will likely follow suit.

If this is the case, then we can expect 25% plugin share to be seen in November (if not in October already). December will almost certainly jump over 30%. Does this seem outlandish? Recall that December 2020 saw 19.25% share from “just” 10.6% in September (see timeline graph above). Against this background, 30% or higher (35% ?) seems very likely in December 2021.

What are your predictions for the French market? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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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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