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Europe BEV and PHEV Sales for Q3-2019 + October

By Viktor Irle, EV-volumes

Europe sales of Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) and Plug-in Hybrids (PHEV) were 400 000 units during Q1-Q3. October added another 51 400 sales. Year-to-date growth stands at 39 % over 2018. The September result was particularly strong when the re-launch of popular PHEV for BMW, Mercedes and VW and Porsche, together with high Tesla Model-3 deliveries, boosted the sector to 4,2 % market share, a new record. The first half of 2019 saw a strong shift towards pure electric vehicles (BEV), 68 % for 2019 H1, compared to 51 % for 2018 H1. The change reflected the introduction of the more stringent WLTP for fuel economy ratings, changes in taxation/grants promoting more BEV uptake and better availability of long-range BEVs, including the Model-3. Many PHEV were not available due to model-changes or battery upgrades for better e-range. Since September, the PHEVs are back and were an important growth contributor.

We expect strong results for the last 2 months: The re-bound for PHEV sales continues, Tesla needs to deliver on the guidance of at least 360 000 global deliveries for the year and the Netherlands increase the benefit in kind for the private use of BEV company cars for 2020.  2019 is likely to end with a total volume around 580 000 plug-ins, which is 42 % more than for 2018. Market share can go as high as 6 % in December and is 3,25 % for the year.

Tesla leads the OEM ranking with 78 200 sales year-to-date October, a sector share of 17 %. The BMW Group came second with 70 000 units. The Tesla Model-3 is the best selling plug-in with 65 600 deliveries, clearly ahead of the Renault Zoe with 39 400 sales.

Germany and the Netherlands were the strongest growth contributors, in terms of volumes. Germany has become the largest market for plug-ins in Europe, displacing Norway to the #2 position. Norway is still the word leader in EV uptake, with a share of 45 % in this year's light vehicle sales, up 6 %-points compared to last year. Iceland comes second with 22 % so far; within the EU, Sweden leads with 10 % of new car and LCV registrations being BEVs and PHEVs.

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Definitely Greener

Despite weak PHEV supplies from their domestic OEM until August, Germany gained the #1 position from Norway this year. The growth, 49 % so far, was based on higher BEV sales: The new Tesla Model-3 contributed with 7900 units, Renault increased sales of the outgoing Zoe by 90 % to 8330 units, BMW doubled sales of the i3 to 8200, its battery capacity was increased to 42 kWh and gone is the Range Extender. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (6700 units, +435 %) filled some of the voids left by Daimler, VW Group and BMW. The new Audi e-tron quattro, the Hyundai Kona EV and the Mercedes E300 PHEV added 3000 to 4000 units each.

The fastest growing markets, in terms of %, are the Netherlands and Ireland, both with focus on BEV sales. The UK and Belgium returned to growth with high Tesla Model-3 sales and the return of popular PHEVs.

Apart from the top-15, most other markets posted gains, too. Iceland, Slovakia and Slovenia being the few exceptions. In total, Europe plug-in sales increased by by 39 % until October.

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2019 to end on a high note for Europe

Tesla's position in Europe is not quite as overwhelming as it it in the US, where 4 out of 5 BEVs bought are from Tesla and the Model-3 stands for nearly half of all plug-in sales. Still, without it, EV adoption would be significantly slower in Europe. Of the 125 400 units sector growth until October, 65 600 came from the Model-3.

Q4 of this year will be special, with high pend-up demand for PHEVs from German brands and BEV sales being pulled ahead in the Netherlands, where the benefit in kind value for the private use of company cars increases from 4 % to 8 % of the list price; PHEVs and ICEs are taxed for 22 % of the list price. On top of that, Tesla needs to reach, or better, beat the guidance for global deliveries in 2019. 360 000 units were the lower end, which requires at least 105 000 global deliveries in Q4, "only" 8000 more than in Q3. December deliveries of Tesla Model-3 may reach 10 000 units in the Netherlands alone.

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