8.5% Of New Cars In Italy Plugin Electric Cars

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Italy’s EV Market Continued To Lose Steam In September

Originally published on opportunity:energy.

There is no good news in sight for Italy’s EV market, which is witnessing a radical turn from the burgeoning growth of the past few years to a sudden, steady decline. Meanwhile, the rest of Europe continues to maintain strong growth trends despite economic uncertainties and global supply chain shortages.

UNRAE statistics for the month of September confirmed the negative trend of 2022, with electrified vehicles’ sales impacted and a major U-turn taken from previous important growth levels. With over 112,000 registrations, the overall Italian car market rebounded 5.7% year on year (YoY) from September 2021. Fossil fuel models enjoyed a good portion of this growth, in a definitive turn from the negative spiral that had seen them steadily lose ground for the past couple of years. Petrol powertrains reached 27.2% market share, up from 25% a year before. Diesels also gained ground, achieving 19.3% share, slightly up from 19.1% in September 2021. Plugless hybrids maintained their best selling status with 35.7% market share, slightly below their recent August high but up from 31.3% YoY.

Full electric cars witnessed another worrying decline, recording a total of 5,088 registrations only, down over 40% from the almost 8,500 registrations that had marked a record in September 2021. In market terms, this shocking loss meant an underwhelming 4.5% share, down from a round 8% a year prior. Little help came from the outgoing government’s partial upgrade of the current incentive scheme (now finally officially increased by 50% for lower income households). The BEV market is stuck, and it’s now hard to see how it will come out of it in the short to mid term.

Slightly better results came from plugin hybrids, which recorded lower numbers than BEVs, 4,452 registrations (4% market share), but were down “only” about 20% from the over 5,500 registrations recorded a year before when they had reached 5.2% market share. Overall share of plugin powertrains dimmed to 8.5% for the month, down from the record 13.2% achieved in September 2021, still unbeaten to date as plugins’ historical peak in the country.

The shortfall of full electrics in September weighed heavily on the top 10 BEV chart, which still managed to produce some interesting results.

The Tesla Model Y gained the monthly best seller crown as the usual quarter-end push thrust it to 968 registrations, pulverising rather weak competition. This is the American SUV’s best performance so far in Italy, following similar exploits in March and June, yet far from the 2021 peaks of its sibling Model 3 when Italy’s BEV market was roaring to new highs. Runner-up, with less than half as many registrations, the Fiat 500e scored below expectations, stopping at 470 registrations. This result was still sufficient to keep a wide margin between it and the Smart ForTwo, though, which took third place with 308 registrations.

In yet another month of subdued numbers, the Tesla Model 3 made a comeback in fourth place (238 registrations), a result far from the glories of the recent past but still good enough to overtake many much cheaper A- and B-segment models that struggled to make good numbers. The world’s best selling car could score much better sales were it not for current pricing and production logistics, which tend to overwhelmingly favour its SUV sibling. Similarly, the D-segment VW ID.4 made seventh place with 201 registrations, scoring a better performance than the smaller ID.3, which didn’t even make the top 10. The upmarket compact SUV Volvo XC40 Recharge made its debut with 183 registrations (8th place, on par with the Opel Corsa-e), contributing to elevate a rarified chart with more expensive models but very low sales levels.

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 AWD in Sage Green

So, is this it for the Italian EV market, or will we witness a shock back to growth any time soon? It is becoming increasingly likely that hard times will continue for at least a few months. Until, that is, the new government finally comes to realise the country risks missing this huge opportunity and new industrial revolution that electric mobility represents. Should Italy’s politicians keep failing to spot the obvious, a domino effect of vast proportions would lie ahead for a country so steeped in the automotive industry.

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Carlo Ombello

Carlo Ombello is an environmental engineer based in London. He writes about environment, sustainability and green technologies on his blog opportunity:energy.

Carlo Ombello has 72 posts and counting. See all posts by Carlo Ombello