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The highlights for Norwegian electric car sales in H1 2017 was:
We saw very big changes in the Top 3 electric vehicle brands in Norway with only VW Group retaining its Top position, albeit with lower sales in its mass-market VW brand. Japanese automakers, Mitsubishi and Nissan were pushed from the Top 3 by German luxury automakers BMW and Daimler. Tesla sales also surpassed that of Mitsubishi and Nissan, with a strong performance by the Tesla Model X more than offsetting the slide in Tesla Model S sales. Tesla now commands over 11% of the total EV market in Norway.
French automakers Renault, Peugeot and Citroën gave up positions to their peers as Hyundai and GM entered the market with the new Ioniq and Opel Ampera-e (Bolt EV) mass-market EVs. It is disappointing that first movers such as the PSA Group grew too comfortable supplying the same models for the past 5 years without preparing a response to longer range mass-market vehicles. Toyota has not achieved the same stellar sales in Norway with the new Toyota Prius as it did in some of its other markets.
The Top 10 gainers in sales growth over 2016 were mostly plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) while the top selling vehicles by units were mostly battery electric vehicles (BEV). The BMW i3 rose a healthy eight positions and ate into the sales of the VW e-Golf, VW e-Up, VW Golf GTE, Audi A3 e-tron, and Nissan Leaf. Norway is now the second best market, after the USA, for the German manufactured BMW i3 accounting for 8% of all electric vehicles on the country’s roads. The Tesla Model X performed very well, helping Tesla to nearly double its sales in Norway. The rise of the Model X, now the best performing luxury EV in Norway, came at the expense of the BMW X5 xDrive and Mitsubishi Outlander. Luxury brands Daimler and BMW‘s large selection of PHEV models performed well in Norway with the Mercedes GLC350e helping Daimler to be the leader in the luxury class over BMW. It is only Daimler’s lack of an answer to the BMW i3 that kept the automaker in the third spot overall.
The VW brand sold 1,540 units less than last year across the VW Golf GTE, VW e-Golf, and VW e-Up models. The VW Group lost nearly 2,000 units in total if one should factor in the sales loss from the Audi A3 e-tron. The biggest overall loser was the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV which sold 1,040 units less than the same period in 2016. The Tesla Model S is following the same trend as we see in many other countries, losing 31% or selling 388 units less than last year.
Pure electric vehicles (BEVs) extended their lead over plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) to 20.6% from 17.3% in H1 2016 despite having fewer models to offer. A total of 14,753 BEVs sold in the first-half of 2017 in Norway compared to 12,231 PHEVs. For our calculation, we included the BMW i3 REx as a BEV since we don’t have an accurate breakdown of BMW i3 sales between the BEV and range extended version.
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It has become a trend in recent times for countries to incentivise their citizens to buy electric vehicles, some having more success than other in implementing such plans. One thing is certain, electric vehicles are here to stay. Thus we take a look at the countries who incentivise their citizens the best when it comes to buying EVs.
When compiling these rankings, we looked at specific criteria such as the how well the subsidiary plan is implemented, how well the plan promotes EV sales as well as the longevity of the plan. An honorable mention to America who did not make it onto our list because of recent political question marks surrounding their commitment to sustainable energy.
The UK is not particularly known as the “greenest” country in the world, but this does not imply their unwillingness to move to a greener future. In the UK a person can get a grant towards the cost of a new electric car, van or motorcycle as long as it meets certain criteria.
Firstly the cost that is covered by the government includes the basic price of the vehicle, number plates, and vehicle excise duty but does not include delivery charges, first registration fee or any optional extras. According to the UK’s official website Gov.UK, citizens who buy an electric vehicle in 2017 could receive 35% of the cost of the car (up to a £4,500) depending on the model.
These vehicles are divided into categories:
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In the short period, these initiatives have been implemented there has been a tremendous increase in the registration of electric vehicles in the UK.
Between 2011 and 2014 just over 25,000 electric vehicles had been sold in the UK, in the same amount of time (between 2014 and 2017) the number of units sold has increased by a factor of 4 (94,541 units by March 2017).
Electric vehicle owners are also exempt from paying the London congestion charge as of July 2013 which means EV owners in the UK are major winners compared to ICE (internal combustion engine) owners.
Germany has joined the subsidy game later than other countries on this list, but their ambitious goals have cemented them into the third spot. At the beginning of 2016, Chancellor Merkel introduced a green car subsidy up to €5000 to boost BEV and plug-in hybrid sales.
This plan was implemented as of February 2016 and includes a 40% purchase subsidy paid by the German government which means private buyers would receive the full €5000 while corporate buyers would receive up to €3000. Incentives will decrease by €500 a year till the scheme has run its course. This scheme is planned to run until 2020, and the German government hopes to have 1 million electric vehicles on their roads by that time.
According to Nissan if from now on electric car sales double every year until 2020, it is possible to achieve the goals set out by the government.
The government has set aside 1 Billion euros to implement this scheme which shows their intent to make German roads green as quickly as possible. A total of €600 million (US$678 million) is reserved for the purchase subsidies, which are expected to run until all the money is disbursed, estimated until 2019 at the latest. Another €300 million (US$339 million) are budgeted to finance the deployment of charging stations in cities and on autobahn highway stops. And another €100 million (US$113 million) would go toward purchasing electric cars for federal government fleets. The program is aimed to promote the sale of 400,000 electric vehicles. The cost of the purchase incentive is shared equally between the government and automakers.
German EV sales sky-rocketed in the first four months of 2017, increasing 82% on 2016.
#2 – Canada
Canada has booked their place in the second spot on our list with their unique approach to subsidizing electric vehicles. Canada does not have a “one size fits all” scheme like Germany that is applied to the whole of the country. Instead, they leave it up to each province to set their regulations regarding subsidizing EVs, creating a competitive environment between provinces to reduce fuel emissions. So what does this mean for an average Canadian? If you buy an EV in Ontario, you will receive a $14000 rebate, but if you walk across the provincial border to Quebec, you will only get a $3000 rebate.
The government of Ontario has by far the best subsidiaries when it comes to EV’s up to $14,000 off the purchase of an electric car( You also get up to $1,000 off the purchase and installation of a home charging station). EV owners receive a green license plate that allows them to use high-occupancy vehicle/toll (HOV/HOT) lanes when driving alone. The amount each car receives is based on four factors: 1. battery size, 2. number of passengers, 3. vehicle price (including trim) and 4. terms of the lease.
The government of Québec offers a rebate of up to $8,000 off the purchase of an electric car and 50% of the cost of buying and installing a charging station up to a maximum of $600. For more information, visit Government of Québec.
The government of British Columbia offers a rebate of up to $5,000 off a fully electric car and up to $2,500 off a plug-in hybrid electric car. For more information, visit Clean Energy Vehicles British Columbia.
Where can one start with this EV mecca, not only does Norway surpass each of the countries in EV’s per capita, they are actually in a class of their own. Just to put this into perspective, here is a chart depicting Norway’s concentration of plug-in electric cars per 1000 people:
In March 2014, Norway became the first country where over 1 in every 100 passenger cars on the road was a plug-in electric, and as of July 2016, there were 21.5 registered plug-in cars per 1,000 people. That’s 14.2 times higher than the U.S at that time.
Norway also holds the record for the highest-ever monthly market share for the plug-in electric passenger segment (achieved in January 2017) with 37.5% of new car sales. EV sales in the country have kept its momentum and powered ahead with Q1 2017 year-to-date increase of 20.03%.
How do they achieve these incredible records you ask? They aren’t even an EV-producing country. The answer is simple; the Norwegian government offers so many benefits to EV drivers that citizens would be foolish not to participate in this EV frenzy.
In Norway, all electric cars and vans are exempt from non-recurring vehicle fees, including purchase taxes, and 25% VAT on the purchase, making the purchase price of EV’s competitive with conventional cars. Also, the government approved a tax reduction for plug-in hybrids starting in July 2013. The government’s initial goal of 50,000 pure electric vehicles on Norwegian roads was reached by late April 2015. The subsidiaries were so successful they decided to extend their program till 2017, local authorities also granted EV’s the right to park free of charge and use public transport lanes. They are also planning a National Transport Plan (NTP) which lays the foundation for all new cars, buses and light commercial vehicles to have zero emissions by 2025 (this includes all-electric and hydrogen vehicles).
As of March 2016, there were 7,632 electric charge points in the country. Oslo is the country with the most charging points with 1,996 charging stations, followed by Akershus with 1,117, and Hordaland with 932. The Norwegian charging infrastructure includes 293 CHAdeMO quick charging points and 194 fast charging points at Tesla Supercharger stations.
Now that all the Q1 data is in we can do a detailed dissection of the hottest quarter in EV history in which nearly 200,000 electric vehicles was sold. The headline data is that nearly 180,000 EVs were sold in the top 10 EV countries. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) outperformed Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEV) by a long shot. A total of just over 106,000 BEVs were sold while only around 70,000 PHEVs moved off the dealership floor in the top 10 countries.
One of the standout data points is USA EV sales which overtook China as the best market for electric vehicles in Q1, making the USA the top EV country in Q1. The worst performer was The Netherlands, who fell out of the top 10. The Netherlands disappointing performance over the last couple of quarters does not bode well for the European country was seen, next to Norway, as one of the proponents of the technology. Only last year still did the Dutch Government contemplated a goal to be 100% electric by the middle of the next decade. It is unclear what caused the drop in EV sales in the Netherlands.
When comparing this quarter’s EV sales by country to their respective totals for 2016 one can see that the pace of EV sales picked up in most. If one should expect that by the end of Q1 EV sales should equate to roughly 25% of 2016, it is only China and The Netherlands that are underperforming. Chinese EV sales have lagged in January due to technical factors including a clampdown on EV subsidy fraud and the annual Chinese holiday, in which most industries shut down. Chinese EV sales have picked up the pace in the following months and the quarter still ended up 30% over the same period of the previous year. It can be concluded that EV sales for the first quarter in China are historically weak and Q1 2017’s performance is by now way an indication of a trend. Furthermore, the Chinese Government last week announced a plan to dominate the electric vehicle sector which should help the country to regain its stature. Japan, on the other hand, has picked up the strongest pace and has already achieved EV sales equal to 59% of its total 2016 sales. The Japanese EV market has the least variety of EV models available to consumers, and it is anticipated that the introduction of more models will stimulate the market further. Germany is the second best performer helped by a 77% improvement in EV sales on a year-to-year basis.
The top EV brand in the Top 10 EV Countries is Tesla for the second year running. Tesla announced in its April trading update that it sold just over 25,000 Models S and X globally. It is important to note that the figure reported includes vehicles being shipped, while country sales data shows vehicles registered. Toyota is back in the Top 10 list of EV brands on the back of a well-received new Toyota Prius. Chevrolet did not shoot the lights out with its new mass-market EV, the Chevrolet Bolt / Opel Ampera-e. Most of GM’s sales came from the Chevrolet Volt PHEV. The company is criticized for producing a limited amount of the Bolt and is being labeled as a compliance company for that, a term used for auto manufacturers that only sell EVs in Zero Emission states to gain credits. The big losers included VW, BYD, and Mitsubishi. BYD has been the Top EV manufacturer for 2015 and 2016 globally and was at the number three position for most EVs sold since the start of the decade. Competition from the likes of BAIC and SAIC is the main reason for the companies bad performance. Up til 2016, BYD had the advantage of being first to market, but some new models that can compete on performance and quality with BYD entered the market since 2016. (This sentence could very well be used for Tesla in a couple of years). Mitsubishi fell a staggering ten places as the company has not updated its popular Outlander PHEV or introduced new models as a replacement.
The Top 10 EV models are still lead by the Nissan Leaf, a phenomenal performance by the 7-year-old EV. The Toyota Prius replaced the Tesla Model S in the top two while the Tesla Model X performed the best of the 2016 Top 10 cohort. Newcomers Chevrolet Bolt, BAIC E-180, and the Toyota Prius replaced the BYD e6, BYD Tang and Mitsubishi Outlander in the Top 10 EV models list for Q1.
Please use the comment section below to share your thoughts on the EV market.
Note on data: The detailed data above does not include the UK, who keeps their EV data more secret than Donald Trump does classified information.
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There were 2,250 more electric vehicles sold in Norway than during the same period in 2016, resulting in a 20.03% increase year-on-year. Norway is the darling of the EV sector and is targeting 100% EV ownership by 2025. The country is number three on the list of Top 10 EV markets, and number one the list of EV as a percentage of new vehicle registrations. The country is now officially a growth market, reaching the take-off point for the technology. EV sales in Norway as a percentage of the total fleet for the year 2016 was at a record 29.1%. The prospects for 2017 looks even better, as in January the percentage of EV’s registered achieved a record-breaking 37.5% and kept the momentum for the following two months.
Small family cars constituted four of the top 5 positions, and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) marginally outsold Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles (PHEVs). The BMW i3, who’s BEV variant made up the overwhelming majority of the models’ sales was the best seller for the quarter and nearly double that of the same period in 2016. The Nissan Leaf showed strong growth and was the best-selling car in March 2017. The Tesla Model X performed better than the Model S, with the Model X being the second best seller of all electric cars in March 2017. The best PHEVs were the VW Passat GTE, the Mitsubishi Outlander, and Mercedes GLC350e. Although still on the top 5 list the Mitsubishi Outlander is showing a significant decline in sales, selling only two-thirds of what it did last year. The Toyota Prius has not performed as well as in some other markets. Mirroring most other markets, the BMW x5 xDrive40e sales in Norway showed a decline, selling a third less when compared to March 2016.
At this rate, we can expect Norwegian EV sales to reach between 55,000 and 60,000 units for the year, edging closer to 50% EV penetration.
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), also known as pure electric vehicles, has outsold plug-in hybrid electric vehicles since the start of the decade. Intuitively one would have thought that because of the high cost of battery cells at the onset of electric vehicles that Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV’s), such as the Toyota Prius, would have been the best first step to enter the market, which the company initially did until it abandoned the technology. Traditional auto manufacturers (Big Auto) in general did not take electric vehicles seriously, leaving the task to start-ups such as Tesla to develop solutions for the consumer. In the auto industry, it is easier for new entrants to enter with new technology than compete with Big Auto, churning out engines from plants which cost has already been recovered. Thus leaving Big Auto at a disadvantage as they have to invest in research and infrastructure, playing catch up with the disruption.
The big driver’s behind the performance of BEV’s has been:
It is expected that the trend for BEV’s should remain favorable as technology and cost improvements and more automakers plan to bring BEVs to market by the end of the decade. Analyzing the Top 10 EV markets, which represent over 90% of all EVs sold, however, show the opposite. Surprisingly, at closer inspection, PHEV’s are gaining on BEV’s in the majority of the Top 10 EV markets. In our study below we compare the proportion of BEV’s to PHEV’s in the Top 10 EV markets by plotting all EV’s sold from the start of the decade to EV’s sold since 2016, when most automakers changed their electric vehicle strategies. (For more detail follow the links to the different countries for a complete breakdown of sales per model and year in that country).
Chinese BEV’s, not always the most beautiful looking cars, have performed very well since the start of the decade and even more so over our test period from 2016. There are only three PHEV’s of any value worth mentioning in China, namely the BYD Qin, BYD Tang and SAIC Roewe 550, which combined sales accounted for around 18% of all EV’s sold since the turn of the decade. 2016 for the first time saw larger sedans taking over from the micro BEV’s, with the BYD e6, BAIC EU260, and Geely Emgrand entering the Top 4 list in the country. It is clear that with aggressive government support sales for BEV’s are ever increasing in the world’s Top market for EVs.
The home of Tesla and compliance vehicles, the USA, is the second largest market for electric vehicles. Stripping out Tesla, which accounts for nearly 40% of all BEV’s sold in the country will provide a completely different picture than above, where the BEV and PHEV ratio mirrors a presidential race. Most Big Auto brands are represented in the country, and when we say country, we can be forgiven to say California, where it’s Air Resource Board developed the Zero Emission Vehicle Program, targeting 15% of all vehicles to be ZEV’s by 2025. The ZEV Program supports the adoption of BEV’s by forcing automakers to sell a certain percentage of Zero Emission Vehicles. The ZEV program has been adopted by nine other states, which in total account for around 30% of all new vehicle registrations in the USA. The result is that even automakers with no EV strategy, including Fiat Chrysler, are selling what is called “compliance vehicles,” being converted plug-in variants of existing models, such as the Fiat 500e and Chrysler Pacifica. GM has also been labeled a compliance company by some, even though it introduced the first mass-market EV, the Chevrolet Bolt. The argument against GM is that it only released the Bolt it the ZEV States while it produces an uninspiring amount of 30,000 vehicles. On the other hand, GM is supporting the fight against clean air regulations and Tesla‘s direct sales model, effectively trying to halt the progress in the EV sector.
Japan, the fourth largest of the Top 10 EV markets, with China, is one of the few countries in the Top 10 list where BEV’s are outselling PHEV’s. In the case of Japan BEV’s contributed to around 75% of all EV’s sold. The country is however not the best example of expanding BEV sales. Only three brands contribute to over 90% of the sales through four models, namely the Nissan Leaf (EV), Mitsubishi Outlander (PHEV), Mitsubishi i-Miev (EV), and Toyota Prius (PHEV), which production was halted in 2015 for re-release in 2017. No great analytical deduction can be made other than a 40% increase in Nissan Leaf sales and 50% drop in Mitsubishi Outlander sales in 2016 resulted in the shift in favor of BEV’s.
The Netherlands is a big hope for the EV sector. The country targets an 100% electric fleet by 2025. However, the data don’t really show encouragement for zero emission vehicles in a country one would have guessed would be ideal for BEV’s due to the relatively short distances within its borders ( sorry if this does not sound very Euro-centric). BEV sales have stagnated since 2013 with the Nissan Leaf and Tesla making up most of the market. The EV’s sector is dominated by PHEV’s from Volkswagen, Audi (also VW), Volvo, BMW, and Mitsubishi. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a big hit, cornering nearly 25% of the EV market in the Netherlands. The country also has the highest international sales of the Mercedes C350e, Volkswagen Passat GTE, Volvo XC90 T8 and V60 PHEV.
In France, the home of Renault, Citroën, Bolloré, and Peugeot is number six on the list of the Top 10 EV Markets. Here, PHEV’s have gained slightly on BEV’s but are still only 20% of all EV’s sold, while EV’s represent 1.4% of all vehicles registered in 2016. The high percentage of BEV’s is a clear indication that French automakers were more progressive in accepting electric vehicles at the turn of the decade. France also has the highest number of commercial electric vehicles, just over 15% of all EV’s, with the Renault Kangoo being the delivery vehicle of choice. France also has one of the biggest range of EV models available to the consumer, with over 50 models recorded in its official sales data.
The UK market is much more excepting of PHEV’s with the trend increasing in the last year as more models are becoming available. The UK is another strong market for the Mitsubishi Outlander, where the Japanese vehicle represents nearly 30% of all EV’s sold. The world’s seventh biggest market for EV’s is also a great offset point for Germany. UK Sales for the BMW 330e is the highest in the world and sales for the Mercedes C350e is a couple of units short of the that of the Netherlands, which has the world’s most at 5,754 units. Publicly and reliable sales data for the UK is difficult to get hold of, with only the Top 5 models available up to December 2016, making a proper analysis difficult.
It would be surprising not to see PHEV’s beating BEV’s in the world’s 8th largest market for EV’s. Germany is home to BMW, Mercedes and VW, all brands that missed the boat on electric vehicles, now trying to catch a fast train on the back of PHEV’s. The three charts above clearly show how the release of plug-in hybrid variants of existing models since 2014 helped increase the sale of electric vehicles. Like in other European markets, the consumer is spoiled for choice in Germany.
Sweden, number nine on the list of the Top 10 EV Markets and the home of Volvo also shows a big affinity for PHEV’s. The Mitsubishi Outlander again has a significant portion of the EV market, with a 25% market share of all EV’s sold. There is a significant drop between the number eight position of the Top 10 EV Markets and that of the ninth, with a 50,000 unit drop from 80,000, leaving very little to write home about. None the less Sweden commands the fourth position on the list of EV’s as a percentage of total vehicle registrations, with 3.5% of all new vehicles registered to be an EV in 2016.
Canada in many ways mirrors the USA in trends, obviously at a much smaller scale. Just five models represent nearly 75% of all EV sales in the country, being the Chevrolet Volt, Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model X and the Smart ForTwo ED. The popularity of the Smart ForTwo makes it clear why Daimler decided to only sell electric versions of the micro car in the country.
Saving the best for last. Norway, the darling of the EV sector, number three on the list of Top 10 EV markets and number one the list of EV as a percentage of new vehicle registrations. The country is now officially a growth market, reaching the take-off point for the technology, and a clear example of our thesis that PHEV’s are gaining on BEV’s. EV sales in Norway as a percentage of the total fleet for the year 2016 was at a record 29.1%. The prospects for 2017 looks even better, as in January the percentage of EV’s registered achieved a record-breaking 37.5%. At the same time, PHEV’s outsold BEV’s for the first time. Looking deeper into the data and drilling down into the model mix two things are starting to emerge, namely:
We can expect this trend to continue until there is a wider choice of BEV models for the consumer and charging infrastructure expanded. Let’s hope that this trend is not just another way for Big Auto to hijack and derail the drive to zero emission vehicles. In the meantime we should be grateful, that although not hardcore, PHEV’s still introduce new drivers to the pleasure of driving in full electric mode, thereby making them want a BEV next time they buy.
Notes on the data used for the study:
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