Norwegian EV Plugin Still Fell For A Reason

Norway, the country furthest in the electric vehicle transition, saw its share of plug-in electric vehicles decline for the second month in a row, by 86.1% from 87.7% last year. Like last month, full electricity did see an annual growth in share, but this is outweighed by the decline in the share of larger plugin hybrids. Overall car volume also decreased YoY by around 25% to 12,363 units. The Volkswagen ID.4 is again a Norwegian best seller overall.

August’s combined plugin yield of 86.1% consisted of 74.8% full battery electricity (BEVs), and 11.3% plug hybrids (PHEVs). BEVs have grown slightly YoY, from 71.9%, but PHEVs have lost share, from 15.8%.

In volume term, all powertrains fell YoY, except for plugless hybrids (HEVs), which grew in volume by 28% to 955 units (their best result in 14 months). This gives an HEV share of 7.7%, up from 4.5% last year.

Despite the share given by the plugin as a result of the relative strength of the HEV, the combustion-only (combined) powertrains took the bigger relative hit, dropping YoY from 7.7% to 6.1%.

Norway’s Bestseller

The Volkswagen ID.4 and Tesla Model Y have been playing the tag game for the past few months, and the ID.4 took the top spot in August, with 1,451 units registered. Expect to see Tesla make its usual end-of-quarter volume boost next month to reclaim the top spot.

The runners up in August—both well behind ID.4—were the Skoda Enyaq and Tesla Model 3.

Note that the VW ID.5, which is essentially a coupe-back variant of the ID.4, took the #5 spot, with the highest volume of 399 units (from 227 units in July, and ranked 7th). Expect the ID.5 to improve even more in the coming months, and overtake the BMW iX (which typically produces an impressive 400 to 500 units monthly), to take 4th place.

Others to look out for are the Renault Megane and its group cousin the Nissan Ariya. Megane grew in volume over the previous month by nearly 60%, to 72 units, though still well outside the top 20. Ariya saw the first month’s volume seen in August, with 41 units, and will continue to climb from here. The two will be competing in an already rather crowded segment, so it will be interesting to see how high they can go.

In other news… let’s welcome the Ford e-Transit van, which saw its first significant monthly volume, 126 units, in Norway in August. The regular Transit has long been the highest-selling light commercial vehicle in Europe (about 14% of the EU market in 2020), so it’s an important debut.

The E-Transit is in the larger size class than the Toyota Proace BEV (average of 140 units monthly recently), with nearly double the payload (1758 kg vs. 1000 kg). But it has the same starting price (just under 500,000 NOK), the same range (around 320 km WLTP), and faster DC charging. If Ford has set up sufficient production capacity, expect e-Transit to soon become the new light commercial BEV leader in Norway.

Now let’s take a step back and take a look at the final 3 months in Norway:

The VW ID.4 leads the way, from the Tesla Model Y, and the Skoda Enyaq — all well ahead of the rest. VW and Tesla have swapped positions compared to 3 months ago (March to May quarter).

Some BEV models are making decent progress. Enyaq were previously 11th (with 916 units), so have seen a dramatic increase to reach 3rd. The VW ID.5 only debuted in May, so it has improved tremendously since then, reaching the 8th position. Here are the key climbers compared to the March-May period:

Just outside the top 20, the Mercedes EQB, which debuted in January, rose from 37th place in the March to May period, to 22nd in June to August.

On the other hand, some models have been downgraded for 3 months:

Outside of the top 20, the Kia Soul has dropped from 25 to 47. While its sibling, the Kia Niro, is also lagging behind, the Niro at least has reason to launch its refreshed version today, and has every prospect of regaining past highs.

The Kia Soul on the other hand, hasn’t (yet?) gotten a refresh, and has certainly suffered from its aging design (if not the powertrain technology it still deserves). Kia has launched a new version of Soul for the US marketwhich was supposed to come in “late summer”.

However, the Soul is no longer sold (or made) in Korea (neither the BEV, nor the burn version), and I have no good information about its fate in the European market. As of now, the Kia Norway website is still marketing a version of the Soul which is basically the same one we’ve seen since the Norwegian launch in February 2020.

It would be a shame to see the Kia Soul fade away in Norway, and in Europe. Let us know in the comments below if you have any solid (inside) information on his fate.

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The Norwegian plugin’s EV progress has slowed down a bit over the last two months (see July report), albeit for known reasons. Part of this is because volume leader Tesla’s July-August volume fell from 2,085 units last year to 893 units this year. Even if Tesla had just repeated another 2,085 volumes this year (rather than the usual annual growth), we would see a 79.4% BEV share over the past two months, rather than the 73.3% we’ve actually seen.

Another factor is the decline in PHEV volume and YoY share, from 17.7% share for July-August 2021, to 11.7% this year, a loss of six percent YoY.

The Tesla drop is temporary, while the PHEV drop appears to be more permanent. This isn’t bad news, as the Norwegian new car market is definitely nearing the end of the EV transition game, and PHEVs will definitely be replaced by BEVs at some point. However, it’s not great that this is happening while new sales that are completely plugless—get all their energy from burning—still take up about 12.5% ​​of the market so far in 2022!

I expect next month to bring another Tesla push, and BEV takes around 85% share, with plugins combined about 91% share.

Norway, seeing that most of its national wealth comes from exports of fossil fuels, does not suffer economically from energy inflation like other European countries, at least on a national scale. While the country benefits overall, individual consumers still face energy price inflation.

Nevertheless, we can expect to see Norwegian consumer sentiment broadly holding up better than elsewhere in Europe, and new car demand to remain fairly stable. Supply chain issues affect the global auto industry, but Norway as a relatively small volume market should not be too affected by this.

What do you think about the Norwegian car market and the EV transition? Please join in the discussion in the comments below.

If you want to know about Norway vehicle fleet transitionsee my dive report from last week.

 

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