Plug-in vehicles’ sales keep climbing in Italy. August statistics bring yet more good news on the electric mobility front, building on the strong momentum for EVs while a slowing car market shows growing signs of decline for internal combustion powertrains.
Unrae stats for the slowest month of the year – August in Italy is traditionally the peak holiday period – reaffirm the ongoing trends of the past few months. At just above 65,000 registrations, the car market slows by more than 27% in a year-on-year (YoY) comparison – from an already low 2020 baseline of around 89,000 twelve months prior.
In an uncertain economic recovery, and amidst rapid technological change, internal combustion engine (ICE) powertrains bear most of the decline, halving their registration numbers. Traditional petrols and diesels take 25% and 21.5% of the market respectively, for the first time representing a combined share below 50% (they were above 70% just a year ago). This was unthinkable just a few months back, however the rise of electrified options has quickly led to this noteworthy result. Plugless hybrids spread ever faster, reaching a record 31.6% market share and ranking most popular powertrain for the second consecutive month, following their July exploit.
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) score 3,247 registrations, up 71.8% YoY from just 1,890 units a year ago. Far from an absolute record, this is nonetheless a solid result for such a slow month. Market share is in fact a round 5%, the best to date in 2021 and a baseline to build on from as we progress towards the usually aggressive end of third quarter (and the entire Q4 to year end). Will we see full electric cars reach 7% or even 8% market share before the end of this year? Much will depend on stability of deliveries and a consolidating economic recovery, as well as crucial continuity with economic incentives.
Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) boast results in line with full electrics, ending the month at 3,199 units. This is a near 100% increase over last year (1,631 registrations) and grants PHEVs a 4.9% market share, for once reversing this year’s trend that had so far seen plug-in hybrid powertrains prevail over battery-only models. The next few months will tell whether a shift back to BEVs is in the making. Combined market share for all models with a plug now stands at 9.9%, closely trailing the recent July record (10.2%) and providing a solid base for higher figures in the very near future.
The monthly Top 10 BEV chart for August confirms both long-term leading mini cars and the fresh trend of larger segment new entries.
Fiat 500e gains the usual monthly crown with 578 registrations, thus further cementing its lead in the Italian BEV arena. The much cheaper VW e-up! reaffirms its July comeback with 324 units, suggesting renewed availability for the Italian market after months of absence for this very popular minicar. If production allowed, this would be a staple presence in Italy’s monthly best sellers. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Tesla Model 3 closes the podium with 308 registrations, a strong result ahead of the inevitable quarter-end push that we’ve come to expect from Tesla.
In fourth place, VW ID.3 scores 281 units, consistent with recent months and sufficient to overtake Renault Zoe (5th) and Twingo ZE (6th), which – at 214 and 196 registrations respectively – stay well far from historic highs. Smart ForTwo also takes a break from top spots, in seventh position with 152 units.
Two D-segment “heavyweights” follow: VW ID.4 reappears in the chart in eighth place with 135 registrations, a strong result for a month of lows that bodes well for deliveries later in the year. Which may also be true for this month’s new entry, the Ford Mustang Mach-E, finally making its debut in ninth position with 121 units. Is the American SUV here to stay? It certainly looks as though mid-size SUVs could soon become a stable presence in Italy’s market, with Tesla Model Y deliveries just around the corner. Our monthly Top 10 chart closes with Mini Cooper SE, back in with 91 registrations.
Italy’s EV market is quickly maturing in line with major European nations, trailing them by less than a year. We are already witnessing a change in pace, as 10% is set to become the new normal for plug-ins in a market that suffers from an uncertain economic recovery. Will we soon have to update recent EV records with new highs? Probably so, and mid-size family cars could well be the unlikely heroes boosting electric mobility adoption in a country known for loving its minis.