Western Europe's pure electric (BEV) passenger car market was one little positive blip on a gloomy COVID-19 radar screen during the first quarter, aided by a considerable backorder volume from 2019, slowly being delivered this year. With a 23.1% gain in registrations in March, while the whole regional passenger car market self-destructed around it (-53%), BEV registrations accounted for a record 6.4 percent of the overall market in March, or more over 10% with PHEVs added.
During the first quarter, the picture was similar, with BEVs increasing by 55.9% over the same period last year in a market that contracted by more than 25%. Because of the order backlog from 2019, which are now being delivered gradually in 2020, to lower CO2 fleet average emissions, thanks to the new 95g/km fleet-wide weight-based CO2 emissions phase-in this year – BEV volumes remain partially inflated in comparison to a declining total market. Meanwhile, while manufacturers have been emphatic that they will not call for a change in these CO2 targets, this report understands that they may use the Corona pandemic to call for a pseudo-shifting through other means, such as an increase in the super-credit ceiling (limited to 7.5g/km over three years).
A number of new fiscal measures in 2020, particularly in the United Kingdom, the world’s largest BEV market in March, as well as improved purchase subsidies, particularly in Germany, helped the region significantly outpace the entire passenger car market. In another potential boost to the EV sector, the German government is scheduled to meet with auto industry executives via video conference on May 5, with a scrappage incentive on the table. According to comments made by Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier, a CO2-linked programme could be implemented this time. Other ‘auto nation’ countries may well follow Germany’s lead, as they did the last time.