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France Plugin EV Share 21.1% In April, New Bestseller

France saw plugin electric vehicles take 21.1% of the auto market in April, up from 14.8% year-on-year. Full battery electrics continued to dominate over plugin hybrids. The overall passenger auto market was down 22.6% YoY, and down 44.2% compared to pre-pandemic April 2019, at a volume of 108,723 units.

April’s combined plugin result of 21.1% comprised full battery electrics (BEVs) at 11.7%, and plugin hybrids (PHEVs) at 9.4%. This continues the rise of BEVs over PHEVs, switching positions YoY from 6.8% and 8.0% respectively.

The trailing 3 month plugin share stands at 20.9%, up from 14.9% YoY. Most of the growth is now coming from BEVs.

Diesels continued to fall off, with 15.8% share from 23.5% YoY. Diesels now only have two more months to boast a higher share than BEVs; in May, and in July. BEVs will very likely overtake diesels in June, and on a permanent basis from August onwards. Petrol fell to 37.5% from 43.6% YoY, close to record lows (36% was briefly seen in Q4 2021).

As can be seen in the graph below, the developing pattern of BEV share in 2022 YTD has closely echoed the pattern seen in 2021 YTD, just at a much higher level (11.9% over 6.9%). By June or August, it should overtake last December’s peak.

BEV Best Sellers

April saw Tesla’s scheduled quarterly low tide, so other BEV models had a chance to shine. As usual, the Dacia Spring was very popular, but it lost April’s top spot to a first-time champion, the equally diminutive Fiat 500e.

Other spots in the top 10 were filled out by the usual faces, except that the Peugeot e-2008 had a stronger-than-usual month, taking the 6th spot.

Taking a step back to look at the normalized rankings over the trailing 3 months, we can see that the Tesla Model 3 is still leading the chart, as expected:

However, in terms of manufacturing groups, with around 12,000 BEV sales each, both Stellantis and Renault Group are outdoing Tesla (~8,500 sales) by a decent margin so far in 2022. Hyundai Motor Group is some way back with just under 5,000 BEV sales.

Outlook

The BEV market share pattern-matching year on year, that I noted above, might suggest that we can be fairly confident about the BEV component of the plugin market for the coming months.

However, it remains to be seen whether geopolitics-related supply chain disruptions (or economic disruptions) will change things. As of March, headline inflation was 7.5% in the Eurozone, and heading higher, whilst economic growth was stagnant at 0.2% (recall the falling auto market volumes we keep seeing). Similar economic figures are seen in North America. Emerging stagflation does not bode well for the economic outlook.

However, with fuel prices due to remain very high, plugin share will likely continue to prosper relative to all other vehicle powertrains, even if overall auto volumes are weak. In this case, we can expect combined plugin share to climb above 30% in the final quarter of 2022.

[Update: Note that Tesla’s 24 days of pandemic shutdowns at Tesla’s Gigafactory Shanghai between mid March and mid April will affect Europe’s May deliveries, perhaps seeing only 40% of typical Tesla volume, but should return close to normal by June].

What are your thoughts on the French auto market? Please jump into the conversation in the comments below.

 

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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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