December had an amazing 22,983 plug-in registrations, a three-fold increase compared to the same month last year, finally beating one of the oldest records in modern EV history, the 15,879 units sold in the Netherlands in December 2016.
This historic result translated into a Norway-like 54% plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) share last month, pulling the 2019 plug-in share to 15% (compared to 6% in 2018). That is an awesome result that places this market with the 3rd highest plug-in share in the world, only behind Norway and Iceland. However, this PEV market share gains even another dimension when we realize that fully electric vehicles (BEVs) represented 93% of registrations in 2019, and 99%(!) in December alone.
Of course, the higher taxation of BEVs in 2020 is the main reason for this disruption, but after the usual sales hangover in Q1 2020, something this market is used to, expect things to pick up again around Q2/Q3, ending 2020 with another great result and pulling the plug-in share well above the 20% mark.
Back to December: this great market performance was the result of a wicked number of peak results (of the 15 BEV models in the top 20, 11 had record sales, and 3 had year-best results), but the main reason for this historic result was the exceptional performance of the Tesla Model 3, which had 12,053 deliveries in December alone. That is not only the midsizer’s best result outside of its domestic market, but also a new monthly all-time best for the Dutch market — all models of all types included.
Needless to say, the Model 3 was by far December’s best selling nameplate in the overall market, but what is truly amazing is that, last month, the top 6 best selling models were all BEVs! How long will it take for the yearly ranking to look like this?
Besides the aforementioned Tesla Model 3 win, the runner-up spot in December went to the Audi e-tron, with 3,054 units delivered (the recently launched “50” version represented the majority of sales). The Nissan Leaf reached the last place on the podium, with 1,075 units registered, while its French cousin, the heavily revised Renault Zoe, ended the month in 4th, with 1,020 units registered (one of those being a new CleanTechnica EV).
Finally, SAIC’s MG ZS EV jumped to 5th in December, with 967 registrations, by far the best result ever by a Chinese plug-in outside their home market, and after a three-digit performance in the UK in November, the MG model is the first Chinese EV to be delivered in significant numbers in mainland Europe. A sign of things to come?
Looking at the 2019 ranking, the two major pieces of news are the 45%(!) share of the #1 Tesla Model 3, not only becoming the #1 best seller among plug-ins, but also overall, and with a score (29,922) that was the largest annual volume since the 31,641 units of the Opel Astra, way back in 2000!
December’s Climber of the Month was the Audi e-tron, which jumped 7 positions, straight into the #3 spot, removing the Nissan Leaf from the podium and preventing the Japanese hatchback from repeating its bronze medal.
Other last-minute changes were the Renault Zoe climbing to #8, the same positioning it had in 2018; the MG ZS EV joining the ranking in the last month of the year, ending 2019 in #11; the Jaguar I-PACE climbing two spots, to #13; and the most expensive Teslas taking the opportunity to climb some positions, with the Model S jumping 3 positions, to #14, and the Model X up to #16.
These last three models were the highlights of the previous sales peak that happened a year ago, when expensive BEVs lost a large chunk of company car incentives. Their 2019 numbers were a fraction of 2018’s. The I-PACE retained 22% of its 2018 score, the Model X got 16%, and the Model S fared the worst, having just 9% of 2018’s sales total in 2019. … Ouch.
On the other hand, the Hyundai Kona EV had a great year, jumping from the 11th spot of 2018 straight into 2n place, with 5,526 units delivered. That could have been even more had Hyundai managed to get more batteries. … Better luck in 2020?
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV again won the Best Selling PHEV title, but this time with a respectable 1,849 units, almost tripling last year’s result. That’s an especially impressive performance when you consider that the model doesn’t benefit from significant incentives.
In fact, despite the lack of incentives, the plug-in hybrid category is growing organically, with the 2019 score of 4,931 units being its best year since 2016 (when PHEVs lost access to incentives), and it wasn’t only the Outlander PHEV contributing to this growth, as the #19 BMW 530e grew 53% year over year (YoY), the #18 Volvo XC90 PHEV saw its sales jump 163% YoY, to 337 units, its best year since 2016, and the new Volvo S/V60 PHEV registered 462 units, the best result in 4 years for the Swedish midsizer.
So, yes, there is a place for plug-in hybrids in the market, even without access to incentives. Having said that, expect the BEV rise to continue in 2020, with possibly only the Mitsubishi SUV resisting the blue wave in the top 20.
In the manufacturer ranking, Tesla (47%, up 4 percentage points) won its 3rd consecutive title, with Hyundai (10%, down 4 points) winning the silver medal, and Audi stealing the bronze medal at the last minute and overrunning Kia, which dropped to 4th.
Finally, let’s get to a preview of the 2020 Best Seller race. How will it go? Despite the Tesla Model 3 and Audi e-tron continuing to be hot sellers, with €45,000+ EVs losing part of their fiscal incentives, expect smaller sized BEVs to gain significant ground, like the Renault Zoe or the BMW i3. Should Hyundai get more batteries this year, the Kona EV could have a shot at keeping its silver medal, and the same can be said about Kia and its #5 Niro EV.
With the aging VW e-Golf and Nissan LEAF being unable to improve on their 2019 result, and the Opel Ampera-e expected to be euthanized by PSA during the year, the MG ZS EV and the long list of pure electric models set to land this year (VW ID.3, Peugeot 208/2008 EV, Opel Corsa EV, etc.) will have lots of vacant places to fill in 2020.
|1||Tesla Model 3||29,922|
You might have read plenty of articles about how the Tesla Model 3 is kicking ass butt in the Netherlands, but to what extent is that showing in the overall market?
Well, it’s not only by far the best selling plug-in in the country, but also in the overall market, where the Tesla midsizer more than doubled the result of the #2 VW Polo.
Interestingly, in the top 5 positions there are two more electrified models — the VW Golf (35% BEV) in #4, and the Kia Niro (39% BEV, 1% PHEV, 60% HEV) in #5. Not bad, uh?
Midsize Car Best Sellers
|1||Tesla Model 3||29,922|
The Tesla Model 3 is the undisputed leader in the midsize car segment, with the recently electrified BMW 3-Series (4% of sales belonged to the PHEV version) in second, but far, far, FAR, behind.
The Volvo twins S/V60 are in 3rd, with 11% of sales belonging to their PHEV versions, which in isolation doesn’t sound great, until you see the others…
Off the podium, we have the unplugged Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 outside the podium, and while Mercedes doesn’t seem interested in launching its PHEV versions here, that could soon change if the upcoming PHEV midsizers start to gain traction (VW Passat GTE, Skoda Superb PHEV, Peugeot 508 PHEV…).
Midsize SUV Best Sellers
This SUV category is being quickly electrified. Although we still have two unplugged models, the Mercedes GLC and the BMW X3, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (96% of all Outlander registrations) was the best seller of the category, with the electrified Volvo XC60 (30% of sales belonged to the PHEV version) in 2nd, ~1,697 units. The fully electric Jaguar I-PACE closed the top 5 with 769 units.
With the BMW X3 PHEV said to land soon, and the VW ID.4x, among others, landing throughout the year, we should see a fully electrified top 5 sometime next year.
Full-Size Car Best Sellers
|5||Tesla Model S||526|
In the full size car category, only the fully electric Tesla Model S has a large degree of electrification, while the #1 BMW 5-Series (13% of registrations belong to the PHEV version) and the #3 Volvo S/V90 twins (8%) have a moderate degree of electrification. That’s all still better than the Mercedes E-Class, which has less than a 1% electrification rate, or even the Audi A6, which continues to be 100% unplugged.
The Porsche Taycan will be a welcome and interesting addition to this category.
Full-Size SUV Best Sellers
|4||Tesla Model X||463|
The full size SUV category seems to be the most advanced segment when it comes to electrification. Not only do we have 2 BEV nameplates in the top 5 positions, and a fully electrified top 5, but the #4 Volvo XC90 already has 59% of its registrations coming from its PHEV version.
Add this to the fact that the #5 BMW X5 is ramping up production of its interesting PHEV version, and the electrification rate should only go higher. And don’t forget the incoming Mercedes GLE PHEV, with 100 km electric range and fast charging, is also coming soon! These are surely welcome news in one of the most polluting vehicle segments.