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Sweden Starts 2022 With Plugin EVs Already On Top

Sweden started 2022 with an impressive plugin electric vehicle share of 52.3%, up from 33.5% in January 2021. This is the first time Sweden has started a year with plugins preferred over non-plugins, and their share will only climb throughout 2022. Sweden has thus already “made the switch” to mostly plugin sales. The overall auto market saw volume in line with seasonal norms at 19,890 units. The Kia Niro was January’s best selling full electric.

January’s combined plugin result of 52.9% comprised 25.9% full electrics (BEVs) and 27.0% plugin hybrids (PHEVs), continuing the fairly even weighting we have seen since policy changes in Spring 2021 (before that, PHEVs were heavily dominant).

The trailing quarter share for plugins now stands at 56.4%, from 41.9% year-on-year, a substantial step up. BEVs alone are now at 30.2% over the trailing quarter.

With plugins now clearly favoured over plugless vehicles in Sweden, we can expect their share to steadily climb in the months ahead, reaching above 60% in September and into the 70% range in December. We should see BEVs alone get very close to 50% in December.

Sweden’s Favourite BEVs

The Volkswagen ID.4 and the Kia Niro were the main contenders for the top spot in January, with the Kia winning out, thanks to it’s biggest ever volume push, almost 1000 units. Pretty good for a model released in 2018!

Amongst the many familiar faces, one other BEV that saw its volumes improve over recent monthly averages was the Volvo XC40, almost doubling, and gaining 3# spot. Starting from a much lower base, the Audi Q4 e-tron, and the Opel Mokka, also saw strong improvement in volumes.

Outside the top 20, a new arrival, with 20 units, was the Cupra Born from VW Group. The Born is almost identical  to the VW ID.3, with a slightly more sporty vibe, and similar pricing. Another new arrival was the Aiways U5, which saw its first 21 units delivered to Sweden in January, mostly as testers.

The Aiways U5 is an SUV of compact-mid size (similar size to the Skoda Enyaq, and VW ID.4), with 400 km WLTP range, and a price likely starting in the high €30k range (before incentives).

Of course logistics flows can vary wildly from month to month, so in order to see what supply volumes are being sustained over a longer term, we need to step back and look at the trailing quarter’s figures:

There are not too many surprises here, though it’s interesting that — just as in neighboring Norway — the Tesla Model Y is already selling in significantly higher volumes than the Model 3. The gap should widen further once European Model Y production starts to flow in volume later this year.

Outlook

Let’s celebrate the great news that Sweden has started 2022 with plugin share already “in the majority”, and will consistently climb further above 50% from now on.  So — in terms of the country’s electric transport revolution — it’s downhill from here. We should see BEVs alone reaching close to 50% share in December this year.

Sweden joins leader Norway and runner-up Iceland, as being past the mid-way point, and its auto market is the biggest of the three. Over the next 12 to 18 months, Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands, are trending to also pass 50% plugin share, on a more-or-less permanent basis.

Once Germany passes that 50% plugin mark on a regular basis, possibly as soon as mid-2023, the EU region at large will be on the downhill slope.

What predictions do you have for the transition in Sweden (and Europe) over the coming year or two? Please share you 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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