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In France, Plugins Take Record 24.4% — Tesla Model Y Bestseller

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France saw plugin electric vehicles take 24.4% of the auto market in November, with full electrics (BEVs) alone taking 15.2%. Traditional combustion-only petrol and diesel powertrains fell under 50% share for the first time. Overall auto registrations in November stood at 133,960 units, up some 10% year on year. The best selling BEV for the month was the Tesla Model Y.

November’s combined plugin share of 24.4% comprised 15.2% full battery electrics (BEVs), and 9.2% plugin hybrids. These compare with 13.5% BEV, and 10% PHEV, a year ago.

The combined 24.4% plugin result matches the previous record high of December 2021, though the BEV component has grown slightly, from 14.6% then, to 15.2% now.

Year to date, the cumulative BEV share now stands at 13.0%, from 9.8% at this point last year. BEV volume has grown 28.2% YoY, with 178,134 units being delivered so far in 2022. This will comfortably break the 200k mark by the end of the year, up from 162k for full year 2021.

Traditional combustion-only petrol and diesel powertrains finally fell just below 50% of the entire market for the first time, with 36.20% petrol, and 13.76% diesel. This will repeat in December, but may see a temporary bounce back to just over 50% in early 2023. By H2 next year, under 50% should become the norm.

France’s Top 10 BEVs

We now regularly get solid data on the month’s top 10 (or sometimes top 20) best selling BEV models in the French market, courtesy of Tesla was back to strong form in November, with both the Model Y, and Model 3, registering over 2,800 units. The Dacia spring took 3rd with 1,954 units.

This was the highest monthly volume YTD for the Model Y, though not for the Model 3 (3,822 units in March). The Mini Cooper also saw it’s highest monthly volumes YTD, and gained 6th spot.

Just outside the top 10, the new MG4 continued to grow strongly, with 507 units (from 263 in October), and should join the top 10 soon.

We unfortunately don’t have enough depth of model data to detect the initial modest roll-out volumes of new BEVs, but we will be able to report on them if-and-when they get to significant enough monthly volumes to make the top 10, or top 20 sellers.

Let’s step back to review the 3-month time horizon:

Here we see that — despite ranking 4th for the month of November — the Renault Megane’s overall monthly volume consistency (since as far back as June) yet again gave it the top spot in the long term rankings. It has now held this title for the past 4 months.

If Tesla make a large blow out with the Model 3 in December, they may temporarily displace the Megane. There’s even an outside chance the Peugeot 208 could temporarily draw in front. But even so, the little Renault would surely retake the lead by January or February.

Here are the key movers, compared to the previous June-to-August period:

These models lost position:

How much longer might the Renault Zoe appear in France’s top 10? It has already dropped to a low ebb in other European markets. The underlying platform has now been on sale for 10 years (initial deliveries were December 2012).

The Zoe has had a good run, being Europe’s overall best selling BEV as recently as 2020, with 99,613 units (beating the Tesla Model 3) that year. Sales dropped to 72,562 in 2021. This year looks set to see under 40,000 deliveries.

It might seem like a good time for a Zoe II, based on a newer technology platform. Such a platform is already in the pipeline, in the form of the upcoming CMF-B EV architecture, which will be used for the Renault 4 and Renault 5 vehicles.

As things stand, however, the Zoe is apparently set for a simple phase out without a direct replacement, and the aforementioned Renault 4 and 5 models aren’t due till 2025. In my view, it would be a pity to completely abandon the Zoe nameplate, which helped pioneer Europe’s transition to EVs, and has already gained a substantial loyal following.


France’s EV market continues to expand, albeit at a more modest pace than we saw in 2020 and 2021. The overall French auto market in November of ~134,000 units was still a long way off from the pre-2020 seasonal norm of ~175,000 units.

The projected full year volume of the overall auto market is barely 1,500k units, down from almost 2,700k units in 2019.

Julien Billon, director general of AAA Data told Auto Infos that “the uncertainties, both in the [auto industry supply chain], and in the purchasing power of the French [consumers], continue to weigh.

Against this background of plummeting auto volumes, even the current ~25% annual growth in volume of BEVs will mean that plugins continue to take a growing share of the shrinking overall market.

What are your thoughts on France’s auto market, and the transition to EVs? Please join in the discussion in the comment section below.


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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, or contact him via LinkedIn.


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