Western Europe BEV market continues to witness slow growth

Provisional Schmidt Automotive Research data suggests that the West European pure electric BEV new passenger car market continued to tread water this year. BEVs accounted for 12.5 per cent of the total new car market across the 18 West European market region monitored by the European Electric Car Study during the opening half of 2022.
While the new zero-emission BEV new passenger car market in June witnessed an annual growth rate of just 3 per cent compared to the same month last year, recording 131,000 new BEVs entering the region’s roads, the growth rate also began to tumble on a cumulative basis.

The opening six months witnessed 30% more new BEVs enter the roads between January and June compared to the same period last year while during the whole of last year the market increased by double that amount (+64% y/y).

Source: Schmidt Automotive Research

630,000 pure electric passenger cars – 83,000 (13% BEV market share) of which came from Tesla models that were exposed and subsequently impacted by China’s recent covid lockdowns – entered a total new car market, that witnessed registrations fall by 14% compared to the same opening six month period last year with just 5.03 million new passenger cars.

The 12-month rolling total new passenger car market remained below 10 million units for a second consecutive month.

The market traditionally totals over 14 million new passenger car registrations in an average pre-covid year.

The 12-month rolling BEV total reached 1.34 million units or 13.7 per cent of the total market between July 2021 and June 2022.

During full-year 2021, 1.19 million new BEVs entered the market according to the study’s exclusive monthly data, with that annual total to increase to between 1.4 million and 1.5 million units during 2022 according to the study’s forecast.

That would bring the total amount of new zero-emission passenger cars that have entered the region’s roads since 2012 to 4.4 million units.

BEVs still account for under 2 per cent of the region’s vehicles in circulation (Parc)

The total number of passenger cars on the road across the 18 country monitored region at the end of last year (Parc) was 239 million registered models, which would equate to a BEV mix remaining just below 2 per cent by the close of 2022.

The monthly European Electric Car Study still forecasts BEVs to account for around 14 per cent of a slightly below 11 million new passenger car market this year, with the latest production data from Germany suggesting the market may be about to rebound somewhat in the second half of 2022.

This may be enough to satisfy long order books, with Volkswagen Group confirming they have 300,000 BEVs waiting to be delivered across Western Europe; however, with economies looking far from stable, those order book springboards may be only a small welcome, before the market goes into another period of hibernation.

Supply woes of 2021 and 2022 could flip to demand woes in 2023.

Major European countries threaten to tighten spending, which could impact all-important fiscal and purchase subsidies for EVs in the mid-term, as witnessed in the UK in June when purchase subsidies for electric cars were removed.

A repeat of 2021, where manufacturers limited supply of lower profit models in favour of higher-margin and higher emitting models, may be back on the menu for 2023, as consumers could turn away from new vehicle purchases/private leases as energy costs rise and decide to hold onto their existing vehicles for longer.

BEVs are still likely to see a stable penetration of the new car market as OEMs strive to achieve CO2 fleet emissions targets and avoid costly fines.

Markets such as the UK which are likely to introduce a California-style ZEV mandate would also guarantee BEV penetration remains high going forward, alongside a ban of new ICE models coming into force in Norway from 2025 and tightening EU CO2 fleet targets

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