Sweet October For Electric Cars In Italy — Plugins At 12% Market Share

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Originally published on opportunity:energy.

It’s yet another month of positive news for electric mobility throughout Europe, and that includes Italy — the continent’s fourth largest market — scoring high EV gains in the midst of a global ICE meltdown.

October figures released by UNRAE portray a renewed picture of pain for the Italian car market. With fewer than 103,000 registrations, last month marked a worrying 35% drop from the almost 159,000 units sold over the same period last year. The ongoing chip shortage was certainly to blame for most of this shortfall, but several dynamics may be at play. Traditional ICE powertrains took a shocking hit year on year (YoY), as petrol and diesel models were down by a whopping two thirds in total registrations for the month, stopping at 25.8% and 18% market share respectively. Full and mild plugless hybrids are quickly replacing both as the default choice, with a record 35.2% combined share, a figure that is soon enough destined to be boosted to new heights by the ongoing downfall of non-electrified powertrains.

Full electric cars scored 7,134 registrations, a great figure for a start-of-quarter month and worth a round 7% of the market, not too distant from the fresh September record of 8%. This means an impressive 146% increase YoY from 2,900 units a year ago, in what was also a much healthier market. If this month’s result is anything to go by, we could expect even more surprising numbers and new records in the last two months of the year as carmakers push to maximise deliveries, including Tesla, with not one but two major models now being delivered (see stats up to Q3 here).

Plug-in hybrids also had a good month, although in slight retreat from previous records. With 5,123 units, they reached 5% market share and a less eye-catching but still solid 40% YoY growth. Whether the tide has definitely turned back in favour of BEVs is still to be confirmed, but a mix of chip shortage and tactical decisions by automakers may be the deciding factors in whether PHEVs will slowly fade back or keep growing at a similar pace as full electrics.

Combined registrations for all plug-in cars thus touched 12%, their second best performance to date and closing in on once-popular diesel powertrains, which are bound to be overtaken in the near future. In a month of such highs, which models were the top contributors? October’s top 10 BEV chart shows new trends consolidating.

For the second month in a row, the Dacia Spring EV scored a monster result, taking the top spot with 1,777 registrations, its second best monthly performance to date (and also of any BEVs), only trailing September’s record 1,876 units. At a wide distance, the Fiat 500e settled for second place with 1,060 registrations, a position it is likely to hold in coming months if the much cheaper Spring keeps delivering without interruption. The ever-present Smart ForTwo closed the podium with 621 registrations.

In this Tesla-starved month, A- and B-segment BEVs filled the ranks. Renault took fourth and fifth place with the Twingo ZE and the Zoe (532 and 341 registrations, respectively), which are now regularly off the podium. Peugeot’s small crossover e-2008 followed closely in sixth position with 301 units, ahead of the only C-segment model in the chart, the Volkswagen ID.3, in seventh place with 266 registrations and unable to pick up pace as it is doing elsewhere in Europe. The Volkswagen e-up! takes eighth position, ahead of siblings Peugeot e-208 and Opel Corsa-e, which close a very familiar chart in ninth and tenth place.

As we head towards the final rush in this important year for electric mobility, BEVs keep making gains as the broader car market faces an unavoidable crunch in the face of the chip crisis, leading non-electrified powertrains to an earlier than anticipated demise, a trend that seems to be common throughout Europe. Will the last two months of 2021 bring in new electric records or will present shortages finally catch up with EVs too? Carmakers are facing tough choices, which are likely to define their electric success (or failure) sooner than many realise.

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Carlo Ombello

Carlo Ombello is an environmental engineer based in London. He writes about environment, sustainability and green technologies on his blog opportunity:energy.

Carlo Ombello has 72 posts and counting. See all posts by Carlo Ombello