France Hits Record 23% Plugin EV Share In October

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France, Europe’s second largest auto market, saw plugin electric vehicle share climb to a new record 22.9% in September, almost twice the 11.8% share seen a year ago. Petrol share was down to a record low of 36.0% from almost 44% a year ago. Diesel share remained below 20% for the third month in a row. Overall auto market volume was down some 34% over seasonal norms, with 118,589 new registrations.


October’s combined plugin result of 22.9% comprised a record 13.14% full battery electrics (BEVs), and 9.75% plugin hybrids (PHEVs), a continuing shift in weighting towards BEV from recent trends. The cumulative YTD plugin share for 2021 now stands at 17.1%, up from 9.8% by this point in 2020.

Petrol share hit a record low of 36.0%, a drop from the 43.6% share at this point last year. Diesels recovered slightly from last month, at 19.3% share, but won’t see the sunny side of 20% ever again. BEV share remains on track to potentially overtake diesel share by the end of December 2021.

Limited October Model Data

The PFA only release a general list of the top 100 YTD best selling autos, and don’t separate sales out by powertrains (e.g. for the Peugeot e-208 from combustion 208 versions). We can thus only report on those BEV-only models that made the overall top 100; the Renault ZOE added 2348 units in October, Dacia Spring (2204 units), Tesla Model 3 (951), and Volkswagen ID.3 (448).

On recent form, and knowing that the average non-Tesla BEV saw higher volume than last month, the Peugeot e-208 may have challenged the ZOE for the top spot in October. The Dacia Spring was in the mix for the top 3 also. The #4 spot will have been a close call between the Fiat 500e or the Tesla Model 3, both close to 1,000 units.

The 6th to 10th positions were likely taken by (roughly in order); the Renault Twingo, Peugeot e-2008, Kia Niro, VW ID.3 (confirmed at 448 units), and Hyundai Kona.

Keep an eye out for our more detailed report on October’s model data, once it comes available. For now, here’s an reminder overview of the year-to-date best selling plugins as of the end of Q3 (again — we still await solid October results):

Tacking back to our limited October data, we can see that the Tesla Model 3 will have held on to the top spot YTD, though the Zoe has halved the gap from ~3,000 to ~1,500 units.

With a strong past two months the Dacia Spring is rapidly climbing the table and will have challenged the Kia Niro for the #6 position by the end of October. The Spring remains Europe’s most affordable highway capable BEV, great value for urban and regional use.

Dacia Spring. Image courtesy of Dacia


As has become normal for European markets as we near the end of the year, plugin share is seeing a healthy uptick over the more gentle growth of H1. With September having broken the 20% barrier for the first time, France is now at 23% and climbing fast.

I’m still predicting that we will see 25% plugin share in November. December will almost certainly see over 30%.

Do you agree? When will the French market hit 50% share for the fist time? As soon as the end of 2022? Of perhaps sometime in 2023? 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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