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Norway’s Plugin EV Share Above 90% Again In January — BEVs At Record 84%

Norway, the global leader in electric vehicle adoption, saw plugin electrics take 90.5% share of the auto market in January 2022, up from 80.7% year-on-year. Full electrics alone took a record 83.7% share, with combustion-only vehicles at a new low of 4.9% share. Overall auto sales were down almost 23% year-on-year, to 7,959 units, in large part due to a pull forward in December ahead of tighter emissions rules. The Audi Q4 e-tron was January’s best selling vehicle.

January’s combined 90.5% plugin result comprised a record 83.7% share for full battery electrics (BEVs) and 6.8% share for plugin hybrids (PHEVs). This is a swing back towards BEV from the PHEV pull-forward in December (ahead of 2022’s tighter emissions rules), as we predicted in last month’s report. We should expect PHEVs to settle in a range around 10% to 15% share in the coming months, and gradually fade away over the next couple of years as more BEV models, across more segments, come available.

The trailing 3 month plugin share now stands at 90.5%, and the trailing 6 month share is now marginally above 90% also. This “90% zone” is the new baseline in Norway, and 2022 will build higher still.

Combustion-only powertrains fell to a new low of 4.9% in January, with plugless hybrids just under 4.7%.

Let’s remind ourselves the evolution of powertrain share over the past couple of years:

Norway’s Favourite BEVs

January, with Tesla almost absent due to international logistics, saw the Audi Q4 e-tron take Norway’s overall top spot, with 641 units, a decent step ahead of #2, the Hyundai Ioniq 5. The #3 spot went to the BMW iX, ahead of the other Volkswagen Group MEB sibling SUVs, ranked #4 and #5.

A notable new entrant at #13 in January was the Hongqi EHS9, from FAW Group. The FAW Group are a long-term partner of Volkswagen Group, and have been making Audi models for over 3 decades in China, including recent BEVs like the original Audi e-tron.

The Hongqi EHS9 is a full size (5.2 meter), 7 seat, AWD, wafting-luxury SUV (or arguably, a large touring-wagon), with sub-5 second 0–100 km/h acceleration, 465 km of WLTP range, and decent fast charging. It starts from around €63,000, and should prove popular in its segment in Norway, if FAW can supply enough of them.

Hongqi EHS9. Image Courtesy: FAW Group

Stepping back from the single-month rankings for January, let’s now look at the trailing 3 month rankings, which smooths out the erratic monthly logistics of some brands:

Here we see that the mid-sized Teslas are still dominating the top spots (6,174 units combined), with the Volkswagen Group MEB vehicles (including the new Cupra Born) not far behind at a combined 5,777 units.

Volkswagen Group of course have several other popular non-MEB BEVs also, both large (e-trons, Taycan) and small (VW e-Up!) so they maintain the overall manufacturing group lead in Norway’s BEV market. Hyundai Motor Group remain in #3 position.


Norway’s plugin market has had a internal bounce over the past two months due to the emissions rules change that started in January (see last month’s report for a discussion). PHEVs had a strong pull forward in December before the rules tightened, and BEVs have had the resulting bounce back in January. The coming months will settle back towards the normalized trends we saw in H2 2021, though PHEVs will of course continue to steadily fade out over the longer term.

There are now over 60 models of BEV passenger autos in Norway that regularly sell in measurable monthly numbers, with over 30 models that usually see 3-digit sales (close to 1% or more of the overall market). That’s a good improvement compared to a couple of years ago, but still far short of the diversity of combustion engine models recently available in the Nordic region (at least 200 models, depending how you count them).

We especially need to see more BEV options at the economy end of the market (sub €20,000 and eventually even sub €10,000), and sub-compacts — the Volkswagen e-Up! is alone in this part of the market.

Current data is hard to find, but it appears that sub-compact affordable combustion vehicles like the Toyota Yaris, Peugeot 108, Kia Picanto, and Citroen C1, once had (and potentially still have) a customer base in Norway. To put it simply — there are currently few BEV equivalents to compete with these. Dacia should bring their popular Spring to Norway, which would go a long way to opening up the entry segments.

Moving from the current well-trodden ground of 90% PEV, to near-as-darn-it 100% PEV, is going to require this kind of diversification of BEV offerings. How quickly this now happens is anyone’s guess. Since the European manufacturers have shown little interest in offering truly affordable models, we may have to wait for the BYD Dolphin, and other affordable and popular Chinese BEV models.

We also need to see Norway find a way to encourage greater BEV uptake in the company-car sector, which significantly trails the adoption rate of private buyers. This will require tweaking the company incentives (and bonus-malus) rules, and an examination of the corporate culture of habitually reimbursing employee receipts for gas stations fill-ups, whilst not having frictionless mechanisms in place for the equivalent electricity fill-up costs.

Beyond the anomalously high BEV result in January, I can see BEVs more permanently hanging out in the 80% to 90% range by the second half of this year (August or September onwards). PHEVS will take most of the left-over, and plugless powertrains will continue to fade, but not completely — until the underserved niches are provided with plugin options.

What do you think? 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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