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Most Autos Sold In Sweden Are Now Plugin EVs – Over 54% In November

Sweden, the largest auto market of the Nordic region, saw plugin electric vehicles take 54.3% share in November, up from 38.7% share year-on-year. Diesels remained in the doldrums, seeing their fourth consecutive month under 15% share. The overall auto market saw just over 21,000 new registrations in November, down almost 30% from pre-pandemic seasonal norms. Sweden’s most popular full electric vehicle in November was the Volkswagen ID.4.

November’s combined plugin result of 54.3% comprised 26.0% full battery electrics (BEVs) and 28.3% plugin hybrids (PHEVs), an even share of duty that has continued over the past 6 months.

Cumulative plugin share for 2021 now stands at 43.4% (up from 29.6% year-on-year). In a fast changing transition, the most recent data gives a better indication of on-the-ground consumer sentiment; Sweden’s trailing 3-month plugin share now stands at 53.1% up from 36.4% year-on-year.

All plugless powertrains combined (diesel, petrol, HEV, and other fuels) saw volume fall from 16,207 sales in November 2020 to just 9,628 last month, a year-on-year fall of over 40%.

At this point, Sweden’s pathway on the transition to plugins is approximately 2 years behind the leader, Norway. Like the latter, we can expect Sweden to quickly head towards over 90% plugins, likely before the end of 2023. In fact, since BEVs are quickly increasing in relative value compared to the legacy technology, Sweden’s journey to over 90% may be even faster than Norway’s was.

Sweden’s Favourite BEVs

November saw the Volkswagen ID.4 take the top spot for BEV sales, maintaining the position it has held over recent months.

The Nissan Leaf and Polestar 2 put in stronger than usual performances in November, and the MG ZS put in a weaker performance, due to lack of incoming supply. The Kia EV6 is already doing well, almost matching its older and smaller sibling the Kia Niro, in its first month of volume supply. Its continued success will depend on available supply volumes (which will always trail demand).

Likewise, though at a lower volume, the new Volvo C40 proved quite popular in its first month of volume deliveries in its home country.

Volkswagen group continues to dominate Sweden’s BEV market over the trailing quarter, with 5 models in the top 20 (and the Porsche Taycan just missing out, in 22nd spot), and 3 in the top 10:

VW Group saw a total of 4,870 sales over the past 3 months, some 27.8% of Sweden’s BEV market. Hyundai-Kia (2,712 units and 15.1%), and Tesla (2,314 units and 12.9%) are in the #2 and #3 spots, respectively. All are supply constrained currently, along with the BEVs from many other manufacturers, and its anyone’s guess which BEVs would be selling most without this constraint.

Outlook

With Sweden having seen plugin share above 50% for each of the past 3 months, and knowing that December is historically the peak month of each year, what share can we expect to see?

I think 60% or higher is a realistic expectation for December. Recall that December last year saw a jump to almost 50% from the high 30s of the immediately preceding months.

Volkswagen ID.4 Pro on the road. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen.

Some of this will depend on how the automakers selling in Europe are doing on their fleet emissions. 2021 emission targets are stricter than 2020 in this regard, but last year some auto makers (looking at you VW) left matters a bit late, and self-registered a lot of BEVs in December to bring down their fleet-average emissions. The same last minute compliance rush may not happen (or not to the same extent) in 2021.

Even without such factors, consumer preference (supported by continued government incentives) is now driving rapidly climbing plugin share, so December will anyway see a decent step up. What are your predictions? 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 MaximilianHolland.com, or contact him via LinkedIn.

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