Sweden Plugin EV Share At 48.2%, Kia Niro On Top

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Sweden saw plugin electric vehicles take 48.2% market share in April, up from 43.1% YoY. Overall auto market volume, at 21,942 units, was flat YoY, though 2022 YTD volume remains down 19% from last year. Sweden’s best selling auto was the Kia Niro.

Market Share Trends

April’s combined plugin result of 48.2% comprised 24.7% full battery electrics (BEVs), and 23.4% plugin hybrids (PHEVs). This is up YoY from 22.2% and 20.8%, respectively. This continues the even weighting in place since April 2021.

Recall that April 2021 saw Sweden’s BEV floodgates open, and PHEV and combustion-only sales all sharply drop, after new emissions carrot-stick rules commenced. This explains both April 2022’s relatively modest YoY plugin share growth (from an anomalous-surge baseline), and why YoY overall auto volume is flat (from a squeezed overall market baseline). In general, auto market volume is down by 19% so far this year, and will likely return to that trend after anomalous-April.

Plugless hybrids, scoring 11.5%, grew their relative share by over a quarter YoY, diesels declined fractionally, and petrols were down to 25.4% share from 32.5% YoY. Plugins will be back close to 60% share in June or September, with other powertrains again experiencing a squeeze.

Best Sellers

The Kia Niro was yet again the market leader in April, ahead of homegrown brands, Polestar and Volvo.

It is good to see the Polestar 2 and Volvo XC40 both on the podium in their home country.

Stepping back to the trailing quarter view, to see the normalized picture, whilst the Niro still leads, the Tesla Model Y is ahead of the local marques, and the Model 3 is snapping at their heels:

Compared to the trailing quarter rankings at the end of January, what are the notable changes?

  • The VW ID.4 has fallen from the top spot down to 3rd, allowing the Niro and Y to each step up one rank
  • The Volvo XC40 has climbed from 12th to 5th, a great result
  • The BMW i3 has climbed from 14th to 8th, impressive for an older model
  • The Audi Q4 e-tron has climbed from 20th to 10th, one ahead of the Skoda Enyaq (stable)
  • The MG ZS has climbed from 28th to 12th
  • The Renault Zoe has dropped from 5th to 23rd
  • The Ioniq 5 has dropped from 9th to 29th

Bear in mind that many of the ranking changes are more due to supply volume changes, some of which are simply reshufflings of priority allocation markets, rather than necessarily demand changes.

I’m wondering if the refreshed Kia Niro, due to arrive by the summer — with fractional improvements to battery, charging, range, and a sharper design, but similar pricing — will hold on to the top spot. Any thoughts? It is only the charging speed (80 kW peak, 41 minutes to 80%) which is looking a bit outdated, but still not too bad in an efficient vehicle. Until something comes along which has both better specs and is cheaperand with a 7 year warranty — (don’t hold your breath), my bet is that it will remain in pole position (assuming the supply volume is there).

Fleet Transition Update

We only have very basic fleet data from Mobility Sweden, and updates are only released annually.

At the start of 2022, plugins (mostly PHEVs due to the history) had 6% share of the fleet.  50% plugin share of new sales would correspond to around 2.75% fleet turnover, and 100% would correspond to around 5.5%, other things being equal. This could be lifted to 6% or higher if retirement of old ICE vehicles is accelerated.

Either way, Sweden’s fleet should cross 50% plugin share in 2030 or 2031, and road fuel demand by that stage should be under 30% of pre-transition norms.

Sweden’s fleet transition lags Norway significantly, for a few reasons. Norway has already had many years of plugin sales above 10%, steadily accumulating fleet volume. Like most other European markets, Sweden’s significant plugin adoption (climbing above 10% of new sales) has come only in the past 2 years, from “almost nothing” previously, so the fleet share has much more work to do.

Another factor is Norway’s habitual import of lightly used plugins from nearby markets (including many from Sweden!) These influences will settle down in the years ahead, but as a rule of thumb, we should expect Sweden’s fleet transition to be 3 to 4 years behind Norway’s. The one silver lining is that Sweden’s average vehicle age is about 7% younger than Norway’s, which means the background fleet turnover rate should be that little bit faster, other things being equal.


Mobility Sweden is currently forecasting around 300,000 passenger vehicle sales this year, similar to the past two years. This could yet shrink if the political and economic situation in Europe doesn’t improve.

With high fuel prices, however, those folks who are able to buy new vehicles will be looking at plugins more than ever before. Regardless of what happens to overall auto volume therefore, plugin share will continue to increase this year, and we should expect over 70% to be touched in the final quarter.

What are your thoughts on Sweden’s auto market? Please join in the discussion in the comment section below.


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Dr. Maximilian Holland

Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking. 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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