Sweden’s Plugin EV Revolution Continues To March Forward

July saw plugin electric vehicles take 50.1% market share in Sweden, up from 37.6% year on year. Overall auto market volume was 17,834 units, up 6% Yoy, though still some 25% down from pre-pandemic norms for July. The best selling full electric was the Volkswagen ID.4.

July’s combined plugin share of 50.1% comprised 26.3% full electrics (BEVs), and 23.8% plugin hybrids. This compares to 15.1% and 22.5%, respectively, in July 2021.

Year to date, BEVs account for about 27% of the market, and PHEVs 24%. Their respective performances in 2021 YTD were 13.2% (BEV), and 26.5% (PHEV). Ongoing incentive changes, especially those starting from August 2021, have led to BEVs reversing the previous dominance of PHEVs.

Against the backdrop of a 15% YTD drop in overall auto market volumes, plugin volumes have increased around 11% YTD, underpinning their strong growth in relative share.

All other powertrain types have decreased their share over the past 12 months, including plugless hybrids (8.4%, from 9.7% Yoy, and from a peak of 23% in November 2020). Diesels hit their lowest share of the modern era, at just 11% (from 15.3% Yoy) and 1,965 units (from 2,562 Yoy). Diesels should fall more-or-less permanently under 10% share by the end of this year.

Sweden’s BEV Bestsellers

The Volkswagen ID.4 took Sweden’s BEV top spot in July, following on from its overall lead in 2021. The MG ZS and Kia EV6 took the 2nd and 3rd spots.

The Kia Niro, normally in the top 3, and still in the lead 2022 YTD, had an unusually quiet month in July, presumably due to being in the middle of a design update.

Given vagaries of shipping, a single month’s result doesn’t tell us too much, but we can note some new entrants. The MG5 — one of the best value BEVs in Europe — came out of nowhere to take 6th. Its sibling MG Marvel R also did well, claiming 7th, as did the MG ZS, in 2nd.

Overall, MG took the top brand spot in July, just ahead of Volkswagen (a reversal of their positions in July 2021). This is a great result for a BEV brand that only started delivering in Sweden last year. If MG can continue to supply all 3 models in decent volume to Sweden, it should get into the top 3 brands for full year 2022 (from 4th in 2021, despite only being on duty in Q2 and Q3).

The new Renault Megane saw its first month of volume deliveries in Sweden, with 98 units, coming in at 18th spot. Expect it to continue to grow in volume, despite the crowded segment. The Volkswagen ID.5 (a coupe-back variant of the ID.4), which started deliveries in May, continued to ramp and has just climbed into the top 20 for the first time (14th, from 24th in June).

Let’s now take the longer view and focus on the trailing 3-month performance:

The BEV models in the top 3 for May-to-July are the same as in February-to-April, albeit with a slight shuffling of positions. The Niro dropped from 1st to 3rd, and the other two filled the gap. Further down the ranks, there were a few stand-out improvements compared to the previous period:

Other models saw the opposite fate, dropping significantly since 3 months ago:

It’s worth remembering that periodic volume variations, especially in smaller markets, often simply reflect temporary regional allocation decisions, rather than significant demand changes. Most BEVs on sale in Europe are experiencing more demand than supply, and have long waiting lists.

Outlook

The growth pattern of plugin share for 2022 has roughly matched that seen last year, with the Q1 and Q2 peaks still just below the previous Q4 peak. We can expect to see new ground broken in September, somewhere between 60% and 70% share, other things being equal.

We live in uncertain times however, and here’s what Mobility Sweden has to say about the country’s auto market:

“Supply issues continue to affect the market, where total consumer demand is still greater than the supply of vehicles. The major disruptions in global supply chains continue to hit the automotive industry hard. We assess that this year’s decline can mainly be attributed to the limited supply, although in recent months we have seen a certain slowdown in the strong demand due to the economic situation” (Mattias Bergman, CEO Mobility Sweden, machine translated).

Even with general economic pressures, and supply chain uncertainty, plugins’ substantial energy cost savings, and better long term residual values, still make them relatively attractive compared to non-plugins. The large backlog of BEV orders waiting to be fulfilled in the coming months will also help ensure that plugins continue to grow share in 2022.

What are your thoughts on Sweden’s auto market evolution? Please join in the discussion below to share your thoughts and perspective.


 

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