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European electric car sales in Q3 2023

We review registrations by energy source in Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain and Portugal. New milestones in electric mobility and some slowdown found.

María Rodríguez
Oct 10, 2023
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At the end of the third quarter of the year, we take stock of the development of electric mobility, based on the sales figures for the first and second quarters, as well as the cumulative car registrations for 2023.

passenger car registrations in Europe, Q3 2023 - Electromaps

In these nine months, we have seen new initiatives to promote electric mobility, such as the obligation to provide charging points for light electric vehicles every 60 km on the European Union's main road network from 2026; or low-emission zones in European cities.

There are more and more charging stations for electric vehicles in Europe (you can check the charging points per country shown on Electromaps) and it is becoming easier and more common to travel long distances by electric car.

We analyse passenger car registrations by energy source in Norway, Sweden, Germany, Portugal, the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Italy.

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New milestone in Norway: plug-in cars reach 93% in September

passenger car registrations in Norway, Q3 2023

In Norway, 28,950 passenger cars were registered between July and September this year, 15.5% less than in the same quarter of 2022. The share of pure electric cars was 84.3%, nine percentage points higher than a year ago. Plug-in vehicles accounted for 91% of sales in the third quarter, and a new milestone in electric mobility was reached in September: 93% of passenger car registrations were plug-in vehicles.

Combustion cars barely exceeded 1,000 units for the whole quarter in Norway, or 3.6% of registrations.

Of the 95,499 cars registered in the first nine months of 2023, 83,617 were electric or plug-in hybrids, representing 90.4% of the Norwegian market.

57.5% increase in BEV in Sweden

passenger car registrations in Sweden, Q3 2023

The Swedish car market grew by 13.8% in new car registrations in the third quarter compared to last year, of which 41.9% were pure electric vehicles. The electric car boom in this country has been going on for many months now, but the 57.5% increase still seems spectacular, adding 11.6 percentage points of market share in just one year. 

Petrol and diesel cars are on a downward trend, falling by 4.1% and 18.8% respectively.

Looking at the cumulative data for 2023, we can see that new passenger car registrations increased by 2.4% in one year, with a total of 209,343 units, of which 38.8% were pure electric vehicles, 10.4 percentage points more than in the first nine months of 2022.

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Impact of reducing EV purchase incentives in Germany

passenger car registrations in Germany, Q3 2023

In January last year, subsidies for the purchase of BEV in Germany were reduced and subsidies for plug-in hybrids were completely abolished. Only electric cars costing less than €40,000 are eligible for a purchase subsidy of up to €4,500, and up to €3,000 for cars costing between €40,000 and €65,000. But how does this affect registrations?

In the first nine months of the year, plug-in car lost market share compared to 2022, from 26.1% to 23.9%. However, a closer look at this data shows that plug-in hybrids have fallen by 48.8% in a car market that has grown by 14.5%. The pure electric car grew by 42.1% over the same period.

If we analyse the data by quarter, we see that from July to September, total passenger car registrations increased by 17.7%, while BEV registrations increased by 58.8%, from a share of 16.7% in 2022 to 22.5% this year. In August, the share of electric cars on the German market reached 31.7%, which is much higher than usual this year and only exceeded last December when it reached 33.2%. This may be due to the fact that subsidies for the purchase of pure electric vehicles for companies ended on 31 August (they remain in place for private individuals). 

The share of PHEV fell by more than half (from 12.2% to 6%) in the last quarter, a consequence of the expected end of government subsidies for this type of vehicle in 2023.

Portugal nearly doubling plug-in car sales in a year

passenger car registrations in Portugal, Q3 2023

The speed of the transition to electric mobility in Portugal is admirable. Data on new passenger car registrations in the last quarter show that plug-in vehicles now account for 36.3% of the market, with 15,701 units compared to 8,257 last year in the same months. 

Electric cars now account for 19.9% of global passenger car registrations, 8 percentage points more than in 2022. Petrol and diesel cars, on the other hand, fell by 12.3% and 31% respectively, despite market growth of 12.8%.

Between January and September, the number of BEV in Portugal increased by 61.3%, from 15,891 units in 2022 to 25,631 in the same months of 2023. This is an important milestone for electric mobility in Portugal, especially considering that the passenger car market grew by only 3.6%.

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BEV up 41.8% in the UK

passenger car registrations in the UK, Q3 2023

New car registrations in the UK in the last quarter were almost 100,000 more than a year earlier, up 23.6%, with a total of 516,694 units. 

Pure electric cars rose from 14.9% to 17% of the market in one year, with 85,576 registrations, an increase of 41.8%. 

Plug-in vehicles accounted for 24.4% of sales in the third quarter, up 47.4% year-on-year. 

Internal combustion engines continue to lose ground. Petrol cars fell by 3.5 percentage points to 39.5%, while diesel cars were the least popular choice among Britons at 3.8%.

Looking at the January-September data, BEV registrations increased by 35.8%, compared to market growth of 20.2%. 

Plug-in cars accounted for 23.2% of new car registrations in the first nine months of 2023; 16.4% for BEV and 6.8% for PHEV.

26.4% of new cars sold in France are plug-in vehicles

passenger car registrations in France, Q3 2023

In France, plug-in vehicles accounted for 105,130 units in the last quarter, 26.4% of the market, almost 5 percentage points more than last year. BEV were 16.7% of the total, with 66,698 new registrations from July to September. 

Diesel cars also lost market share here, falling from 15.4% to 9% of the market. However, total passenger car registrations are up 17.3% compared to last year. 

Year-to-date figures show an increase of 35.5% for BEV, with a market share of 15.9%. PHEV also increased by 34%, with a 9% market share.

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In Spain, 5.2% of sales are electric cars

passenger car registrations in Spain, Q3 2023

In the last quarter in Spain, overall registrations of passenger cars and SUVs increased by 7% year-on-year, with a total of 205,965 units registered from July to September this year. BEV grew by 58.4% year-on-year and accounted for 5.2% of registrations in this quarter, compared to 3.5% last year. This upward trend has continued throughout the year, with a market share of 4.5% in the first quarter and 5% in the second quarter. 

PHEV were 6.5% of registrations, one percentage point more than last year. As a result, plug-in car registrations accounted for 11.7% of the total market, an increase of 39.5%.

Petrol cars lost 2.5 percentage points while diesel cars lost 5.3, or more than 8,500 units.

HEV gained weight and accounted for just over a third of total registrations in Spain in the quarter.

In the year-to-date, sales of plug-in vehicles account for 11.2% and an increase of 44%, so that BEV account for 4.9% of registrations with 34,712 thousand units and an increase of 64.7%. Also, 45,126 PHEV units were sold -a 6.3% market share-, 31.3% more than in the first nine months of 2022. 

Subsidies under the MOVES III plan and the MOVES Fleet plan continue to be an important incentive for individuals and companies on the road to electric mobility, as well as traffic restrictions in low emission zones in Spain's main urban centres.

Petrol-powered cars gaining ground in Italy

passenger car registrations in Italy, Q3 2023

In Italy, 340,754 new passenger cars were registered in the last three months, 15.1% more than in the same period in 2022. Although the BEV grew by 20.1% during this period, its market share of 3.9% is still the lowest of the group of countries analysed in this article. 

It appears that plug-in cars have not taken off in this country, with PHEV maintaining exactly the same share of 4.2% as last year.  

In fact, petrol cars gained some ground, increasing their market share by one percentage point to 29.1%. This was not the case for diesel cars, which fell from 19.5% to 16.7% in the third quarter. 

HEV also showed a remarkable growth (19.5%), from 105,186 units in the third quarter of 2022 to 125,748 units in the same period of 2023.

Italy's January-September data show a 27.5% increase in pure electric car registrations, but this is only two tenths of a percentage point more in market share, reaching 3.9% for the year-to-date. PHEV registrations lost five tenths of a percentage point over the nine months to 4.5%.


María Rodríguez
Oct 10, 2023
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