In June 2022, Sweden’s plug-in electric vehicle took a 55.1% market share, up from 49.4% compared with the previous year. BEVs increased its share by more than 31% on an annual basis, while PHEVs reduced its share slightly. The total volume in the car market, of 26,059 units, was 28% lower than the previous year. Sweden’s best-selling vehicle (of all powertrains) in May was the Tesla Model Y.
June’s combined plug-in result of 55.1% consisted of 31.6% full-battery electric (BEVs) and 23.5% plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). This can be compared with June 2021’s results of 24.1% and 25.3%, respectively. PHEVs have been relatively unchanged over the past two years, while BEVs have steadily increased their share (see the long-term trend lines in the graph below).
Sweden is in the middle of various incentive changes regarding vehicle emissions (via adjustments of bonus-malus system), and further changes will be activated in July. These include new rules for company cars, stricter CO2 limits for grams / km and also changes in price cap eligibility. With vehicle purchases being carried forward and withdrawn in various ways by these changes, it will take a few more months for the landscape to calm down.
Although Tesla managed to ship some vehicles from its Shanghai plant to Europe for delivery in June, volumes were still affected by their intermittent production stoppages in March, April and May. If no other disruptions occur, we will see a more representative picture of Sweden’s (and Europe’s) plug-in share development at the end of this quarter (ie September).
In Sweden’s case, we can expect plugins to receive a significantly over 60% share in September.
Sweden’s BEV Bestsellers
With Tesla’s European deliveries returning in June, Sweden’s best-selling vehicle of some kind was the Tesla Model Y, with Volkswagen ID.4 in second place in the BEV rankings and Kia Niro in third place.
Polestar 2 dropped from May 5th to June 7th, but more dramatic was the Volvo XC40’s reduction from 5th to 25th. However, many of these types of erratic monthly changes (both up and down the ranks) may be due to temporary regional allocation decisions, due to insufficient BEV supply, rather than to changes in demand. That’s why we include the following 3-month chart and comment (below).
Above is the tested 3-month chart. We can compare these results with the subsequent 3-month result until the end of March. We find that some existing BEV models have improved their ranking significantly, and some relatively new BEV models have entered the top 20 list for the first time:
At the same time, several other, mostly older, BEV models have lost positions (although some may be temporary, due to the allocation being mixed at the national or even continental level):
Note that even during the three-month period, temporary regional allocation decisions may shape the results, rather than necessarily indicating significant changes in demand. In addition, Sweden’s BEV volumes are only around a third or a quarter of the BEV volumes in Germany, France or the United Kingdom, so relative performance in Sweden does not necessarily mean much (or anything) about the model’s overall European performance.
Still, it is interesting to see which models are swept up by the Swedish market, especially when it comes to newcomers, whose market acceptance is never a sure bet.
As an industry representative Mobility Sweden notes that total car volumes have decreased by almost 17% so far this year (144 106 against 173 166 in 2021 YTD). With plugs growing in volume YTD (74,834 vs 69,145) and plug-free hybrids almost flat (12,938 vs 13,159), unsurprisingly, the big hit has been taken by powertrains intended only for combustion.
The combined diesel and petrol sales YTD is 54,624, a decrease from 89,724 at this time in 2021. If we go back to the pre-pandemic in 2019, the figure was YTD 136 027. So their sales have decreased almost 60% since 2019.
Mobility Sweden has this to say about the total car market:
“Major disruptions in global supply chains continue to hit the automotive industry hard as a result of both the war in Ukraine and China’s closures due to the pandemic. We believe that the decline can mainly be attributed to the limited supply, even though we see a certain slowdown in strong demand due to the economic situation, says Sofia Linder, chief economist at Mobility Sweden, formerly BIL Sweden ”(Mobility Sweden)
Note that they do not highlight the fact that the total decline is due to the fact that powertrains that only have combustion have collapsed, while plugins have continued to grow. Although there has hardly been a “normal” period in the last 2.5 years to serve as a benchmark, many would therefore argue that much of the total decline is due to what we have called The Osborne effect, which older players in the car industry do not want to pay attention to.
This effect occurs during a technology transition, when the total volumes of an industry are shaped by reduced demand for outgoing old technologywhose decline in demand volume is not yet easily replaced for by (still slowly ramping up) the supply of new technology – the technology that an increasing proportion of consumers are aware of and endure.
The net result is a transition period when the industry’s net sales volumes fall overall, before returning to the established volumes seen before the transition.
We at CleanTechnica mostly believe that the car industry is now definitely experiencing just such a decline (or the “Osborne effect”), especially in markets with the middle of the transition such as Sweden. Whether car volumes will ever return to (or exceed) their peaks during the period 2015 to 2019 is another question, and a complex question.
In any case, plugins continue to gain market share in Sweden, and grow by relatively 12% on an annual basis, despite the recent one-off supply headwind (eg Tesla Shanghai’s paused production). As mentioned above, I expect that September’s plugin share will be in the range of 60% to 65%, all other things being equal, and over 70% in December.
What do you think about Sweden’s plugin transition? Feel free to enter the discussion below.
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