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Norway Remains Near 90% Plugin EV Share, Even With Tesla Off Duty In October

Norway, the world’s leading country in electric vehicle adoption, saw plugin EV market share in October at an impressive 89.3%, up from 79.1% a year ago. Controlling for Tesla’s absence (usual at the start of a quarter), this was in fact Norway’s highest ever month for plugin share. Diesel, petrol and plugless hybrids all recorded their lowest sales volumes of the modern era, each less than half the volume of a year ago. Overall auto market volume was 11,579 units.

October’s combined plugin share of 89.3% comprised 70.1% full battery electrics (BEVs) and 19.2% plugin hybrids (PHEVs), which is a continuing shift towards BEVs over recent months.

PHEVs’ monthly sales for almost the last two years have typically been in the low-to-mid 2000 units, which only results in a ‘reasonable’ share of the market for PHEVs when available BEV volumes are constrained (e.g. Tesla’s early-in-quarter volumes). Recall that in September, PHEVs took just 13.9% share. The 2021 YTD cumulative share is for PHEVs 21.9%, and for BEVs 62.1%.

All plugless powertrains (diesel, petrol, traditional hybrids) saw their lowest monthly volumes of the modern era, each under 50% of the volume they saw in October 2020. Norway is truly approaching the end-game for sales of any passenger vehicle without a plug.

Popular BEVs

With Tesla’s ships-from-Shanghai not scheduled for arrival in October, Volkswagen Group’s various MEB-platform SUVs took the top 3 spots of the month:

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Volvo XC40 filled out the #4 and #5 spots. Volvo and Polestar (#6) appear now to be back, close to their previous peak volumes after recent months in the doldrums.

Arguably the most significant entry onto the list is the BYD Tang (#7), in its first month of volume deliveries. The Tang offers 400 km of WLTP range in a large premium 7-seat SUV, with 4WD and a strong level of performance (0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds). It costs substantially less than the original Audi e-tron (which itself has been an enormously popular vehicle in Norway). It’s therefore not surprising that the Tang has jumped in at #7 in its first proper month of sales.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E had a low supply month in October, falling from September’s #7 position down to #11. As with many good BEVs, there’s no lack of demand for the Mach-E, just limited supply.

Here’s a broader look at which BEVs are the highest sellers over the trailing 3 months:

Here we see that – even with peak and trough shipping logistics – Tesla still holds the top two spots over recent months. If we sum all of VW Group’s currently offered MEB vehicles, they still fall just short of Tesla’s. VW Group does have the MEB-based Cupra Born yet to arrive in Norway (scheduled for end of the year), and the VW ID.5 (essentially a sportback ID.4) coming early in 2022, These additional troupe members may give the MEB platform a slight lead, at least in the short term.

But – as I mentioned above for the Mach-E –  how many of these Tesla and VW Group models are actually at their organic demand limits, and how many have their sales volumes constrained by supplies? It’s hard to know (and of course both Tesla and VW can potentially adjust pricing).

Our regular reader Pitounet informs us there’s currently a 5 to 6 month wait for VW ID.3 and ID.4 deliveries in France. Right now, Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y can be ordered for delivery as soon as next month in much of Europe. And next year, Tesla will open local Model Y production in Europe (Berlin), probably allowing it to lower prices a bit, and of course massively increase supply volume.

My conclusion is that many of the latest generation BEVs are now supply constrained relative to potential demand, and probably have long waiting times. If you have information about waiting times for any BEV models in your region, please let us know in the comments section.

BYD Tang. Image Courtesy: BYD


Tesla’s recent pattern of supplying most European vehicles from Shanghai, along with having Shanghai dedicated to just the European and Asian markets, means that the even a mid month of a quarter in Europe can now see Tesla making significant BEV sales. So I’m expecting November’s BEV volumes (and overall plugin share) to grow over Octobers’.

This means that we will almost certainly see over 90% plugin share in November, and 93% to 95% (or more?) in December. The cumulative 2021 figure should reach 87-88% plugin share, with BEVs alone at around two thirds share (~67%).

The shape of Norway’s exact path from here to 100% plugin share of new sales is hard to predict. There are still several vehicle segments which are underserved by BEVs, although PHEVs may fill in those gaps the short term.

It’s also likely that folks who need a vehicle in these sparse segments, will try to make do with their current vehicle for a year or two longer, and hope that a BEV version comes available. I can’t see many new vehicle buyers in Norway wasting money on a factory-new combustion vehicle.

How do you see Norway’s end game for plugless vehicle sales? 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, or contact him via LinkedIn.


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