France saw EVs take 23.3% share of the auto market in July, up from 18.6% year on year. Plugin hybrids saw strong growth in share, with full electrics seeing modest growth. Overall auto volume, at 128,947 units, was up by some 20% YoY, though still below pre-2020 norms. The Dacia Spring was France’s bestselling full electric in July.
July’s tallies saw combined EVs take 23.3% share, with full electrics (BEVs) at 13.1%, and plugin hybrids (PHEVs) at a record high of 10.3% share. These figures compare with 18.6%, 11.9%, and 6.7%, a year ago.
Plugin hybrids are currently riding on a wave of several recently released models with greater electric range (well over 50km in most conditions). Many of these upgraded PHEVs come from home brands of Peugeot, Citroen, and DS, and are not supply limited.
One downside is that there are still strong purchase incentives in France for PHEVs. Purchase incentives are potentially counterproductive, because they do nothing to ensure that PHEVs are in fact regularly plugged in, and used as designed. They may even attract buyers who have no genuine intention of plugging in, but only want to get a free discount on what are typically the upper level trim (and typically more powerful) variants of a new car.
The only “incentive” for PHEVs should be the savings on energy costs when plugged in, and e.g. free entry to urban pollution zones when running on electric.
Returning to July’s results, in volume terms, PHEVs were up 83% YoY, whilst BEVs were up 32%.
On the flip side, diesels were down 30% YoY, to a record low volume of 12,491 units, and their second consecutive month of sub-10% market share. We can expect this to be a regular occurrence from now on.
July’s best selling BEV was a long term favourite, the Dacia Spring (2,127 units), ahead of the Tesla Model Y, and Fiat 500.
Further back, the BMW iX1, in 15th spot, continued to grow volumes, to a new high of 275 units. In 18th spot, the DS3 Crossback also upped its game to a new record volume of 249 units.
The DS3 is no doubt helped by the recent ~10% boost in battery size (now 50.8 kWh usable) and significant efficiency gains. Together these have provided an impressive 26% improvement in rated range (320 km to 402 km) compared to the first vehicle iteration in 2020.
The same recent range improvements have come to the Stellantis group’s other BEVs, and much kudos is due to them, for taking the approach of keeping a modest size of battery and winning range mainly via efficiency gains. Doing it right!
Finally, in 20th place, the new Smart “#1” scored a record delivery of 244 units. The Smart will share its platform, and technical specs, with the Volvo EX30, due to launch mid 2024. If you don’t want to wait for the Volvo… the Smart is already here, and proving itself.
There were no significant new model entrants to the French BEV market in July.
Let’s check the 3-month figures:
Here, the Tesla Model Y has a strong lead, despite the usual Tesla delivery ebb at the start of the quarter. It has held the 3-month top spot continuously since March. It is also France’s 9th best selling vehicle of any kind, year to date.
The second place is tightly contested between the Fiat 500, Dacia Spring, and Tesla Model 3.
There are few big moves in the top 20. The MG ZS has stepped up to 14th spot, from 25th previously, off the back of a strong June performance. The Renault Zoe continues to show its age, falling to 15th spot, from 7th previously.
Just slipping in at the end of the list, the new Jeep Avenger joined the top 20 after only being on sale for 3 months — an impressive performance.
The auto market’s growth over recent months — up 16% year to date, and mainly powered by plugins — has helped the French economy outperform some of its neighbours. Annual GDP growth most recently stands at 0.9%. This is weak but at least positive, whereas most other eurozone economies are either flat or negative.
Stellantis Group — already Europe’s 3rd largest BEV manufacturer — intend to almost double the number of BEV model offerings over the next year or so. This will help France’s EV trajectory to keep moving forwards at a healthy clip. Meanwhile market leader Tesla will keep pushing growth also.
What are your thoughts on France’s electric transition? Please join in the discussion below.
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