Italy’s plug-in sales break past 10% market share in July!

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July brings more good news on the electric mobility front as monthly registrations data are released around the globe. Italy’s car market is quickly maturing, from a laggard among giants to potential force of change in continental Europe.

The latest data released by Unrae provide one of the most interesting updates so far in the Italian car market. July figures, amid a strong contraction in overall sales, bring new highs to electrified powertrains options. With just over 111,000 registrations, the car market is down over 19% year-on-year (YoY), and a whole 28% from the pre-covid levels of July 2019. Petrol and diesel vehicles now stop at 27.4% and 22.7% respectively, an ongoing retreat. Plugless hybrids take advantage and score 29.4% market share, a new high which also sees them overtake petrol as most popular powertrain for the first time ever.

Full electrics record 5,096 registrations, far from June’s near-peak figures but a great result nonetheless in a month of low volumes. It is in fact worth 4.6% market share, and marks yet another threefold increase in sales YoY from the 1,613 units of July 2020. The 5% threshold is very near and we can expect BEVs to reach it soon and then increase to new heights in a short timeframe.

Plug-in hybrids shine in another banner month for this transitional technology. With 6,272 units, they take 5.6% of the market – their new record monthly share – tripling YoY from 2,098 units just a year ago. What looked like and odd result earlier in the year is now a rooted trend, with PHEVs consistently above BEV sales and poised for further growth in the near term, as popular ICE models get the plug treat and full electrics still require a higher financial commitment at the time of purchase.

With July results, plug-in powertrains score a combined 10.2% market share, an incredible result and the first time in double-digit territory, a truly noteworthy event for the Italian car market. Only a year ago, they stopped at a negligible 2.7%. Critical mass is now being reached at a very fast pace and we could expect plug-ins to achieve these levels month after month, while aiming at even higher results in the near future.

In such exciting and dynamic times, some things however stay pretty consistent. That is what this month’s Top 10 BEV chart shows us.

Best seller is once again the Fiat 500e, which dominates all rivals with 883 registrations in July. There is little doubt the Italian city car will keep reigning for the foreseeable future in its domestic market. At a distance, Renault Twingo ZE confirms its appeal in second place with 629 units. This familiar A-segment podium is completed by the popular VW e-up!, finally making a comeback in third place with 374 registrations, after a prolonged absence from the monthly chart.

Similarly familiar names occupy the rest of July’s chart. Smart ForTwo trails the mini VW in fourth position with 348 units, followed by an ever more consistent VW ID.3 in fifth place at 309 registrations, and by Peugeot e-2008 in sixth with 305 units. Direct B-segment competitors Opel Corsa-e, Renault Zoe and Peugeot e-208 struggle below in seventh to eighth position respectively, with Hyundai Kona EV reappearing at the bottom in tenth position.

In a broadly unsurprising sales chart, VW’s double presence in the top 5 of this citycar-dominated market could be a sign of stabilising production for the group’s BEV models (ID.3 and e-up! are quite in demand throughout Europe but were struggling to deliver in Italy). That’s something Stellantis and Renault groups may have to start worrying about. On the other end, BEV poster child Tesla Model 3 is missing altogether after the usual end-of-quarter burst. It will almost certainly be back next month, soon to be followed by the wildly awaited Model Y.

As a new month of EV records quietly unfolds, we get clear hints of even bigger disruption to come. In a difficult market focused on value and (small) size, electric mobility has managed to reach an important threshold despite its still limited supply of suitable models. With production constraints progressively overcome, and a slew of new entries on their way, Italy is entering an exciting phase of this electric race.

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