Thanks to Volvo XC40, Market Share of BEVs Breaks 40% in Sweden

Apparently it helps that all-electric Volvos, coming from a Belgian factory, are no longer supply constrained. At least not in Sweden. In November 2022, all-electric vehicles (BEVs) were 42% of the total market, PHEVs were 22%, plug-in vehicles overall reached 65%. And the Swedish vehicle market is starting to look much like the Norwegian one.


Volvo XC40. Photo not taken in Sweden. Photo: Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz

Do I see 40%? Looking at the stats at one website which provides real-time registration data, I was wondering if the market share of all-electrics in Sweden would exceed 40%.

That would be big news, because you normally don’t see such results in any country except Norway.

But it happened. The market share of BEVs ended up at 42.47%.

Another interesting statistic is that merely 35% of vehicles sold in Sweden cannot be charged from a charging station or a wall socket.

Belgian factory resumed production

Sales of the all-electric Volvo XC40 basically slowed to a halt during the summer. The Belgian factory where they are made was idle because (at least that’s the official reason) it had to be retooled for the production of the new variant of the XC40 – a cheaper, single-motor variant. Which is now finally reaching customers, and it shows in the results for both October and November.

No all-electric cars or SUVs are made in Sweden. So the XC40 is probably the closest thing to a Swedish BEV that a Swedish person can buy. The Polestar 2 is made in China. Both Polestar and Volvo Cars have the same Chinese owner, Geely (it’s only Volvo Trucks that remains a Swedish-owned company).

In November, sales of the all-electric XC40 in Sweden reached record levels. Over 2,000 units of the all-electric XC40 and its C40 “coupe SUV” sibling (counted together) were sold; that was about 1/5 of the all-electric vehicle market.

MG: the budget brand is more popular in Sweden than in Norway

Some of the major players in the Swedish BEV market are Volvo, Volkswagen, Tesla, MG and Hyundai-Kia. What is MG doing there?

Well, it’s doing what it’s expected to do – it’s selling electric vehicles that are generally more affordable than the competition. Recent tests of the long-range variant of the MG ZS EV, done by Bjørn Nyland in the neighboring Norway (in mildly cold weather, but not extremely cold weather), yielded some interesting results, with the model delivering decent range and clocking a pretty good time in the “1000 km challenge”: the MG was able to cover that distance in a shorter time than some much more expensive models.
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Source: mobilitysweden.se

More Reports About the Toyota bZ4X’s Charging Speed and Range Are In From Norway

The results of the latest tests are surprising, to say the least. The European-spec AWD variant of the bZ4X/Solterra appears to charge fast – much faster than the American one. However, its range disappoints.


Toyota bZ4X. Photo taken in the United States. Photo: Gold Pony

This month, some interesting tests of the all-electric Toyota bZ4X appeared in the Norwegian media. One of them was published by Motor.no. They had driven the bZ4X before, during a media event in Copenhagen in June – and rated it 77/100, not a bad result - but now they got to test it in Norway.

The Japanese SUV did not have the easiest start. In late April, there were reports from the U.S. about slow charging times. On top of that, there was an announcement, by Toyota, that charging might slow down significantly in below-freezing temperatures. In both cases, it was the U.S. specification AWD variant that was causing trouble.

Then came the much-publicized wheel bolts issue, and a stop-sale order. Because of this delay, these Norwegian tests are not done in the middle of the Norwegian summer; they are done in November.

It looks like bad news for Toyota: their EV is getting tested in temperatures it seemingly does not like – and might not make a good first impression in one of the world’s most important EV markets. And first impressions are important.

Well, the vehicle’s range in cold temperatures is a disappointment, at least when compared to the official figures. In this respect, Motor.no‘s results are not that different from those reported by Elbil24, which did a full range test and criticized Toyota not just for the low range of their vehicle, but also for – among other things – not being straightforward about its battery capacity. Elbil24 says the net capacity is 60-62 kWh.

The charging speeds, on the other hand, seem to be solid. Sure, not as good as those offered by some of the Korean competitors, but still not bad for an electric vehicle debuting in 2022.

So, exactly how fast does it charge?

This time, two vehicles were tested by motor.no: the AWD variant of the Toyota and the AWD variant (the only variant) of its Subaru twin. Both of them European-spec.

The U.S.-spec AWD variant is supposed to charge at 100 kW tops. But in the Norwegian test, both vehicles reported peak charging speeds above 100 kW.

Probably because of a different cell supplier. In the United States, the AWD and FWD variants differ in battery capacity – and in the AWD variant, the cells come from the Chinese company CATL, not from Panasonic. In Europe, the official battery capacity is the same in AWD and FWD variants, and presumably both of them use cells from the same supplier, Panasonic.

November temperatures didn’t necessarily work against the Toyota when it comes to charging speeds. First, the temperatures during the test were not exactly frigid: 8 to 5 degrees Celsius, that’s 46 to 41 Fahrenheit. And second, charging did not start with a cold battery: both vehicles did a lot of driving (so the battery had plenty of time to warm up) before they were plugged in.

So here are the measured charging times:
• Subaru: 6% to 80% in 38 minutes
• Toyota: 6% to 80% in 36 minutes

Better than the U.S.-spec AWD model – and not much different from the FWD variant.

Trying to estimate the range

Keep in mind that Motor.no didn’t do a true range test.

For that, you would need to charge to 100% and drive until reaching 0%. And Elbil24 did exactly that (driving until the vehicle reported zero range, not until it actually stopped running); the result was 307 km (191 mi) during the first run, 318 km (198 mi) during the second run.

Back to Motor.no’s test. As mentioned, the temperatures during the test were 8 to 5 degrees Celsius (46 to 41 Fahrenheit). HVAC was on and set to 20 °C (68 °F).

Neither of the two vehicles displays the battery state of charge on the dashboard – only the estimated range. If you want to know the state of charge, you need to read it in an app. And here’s the thing: in the case of the Toyota, the app did not work – it could not connect to the vehicle at all, so we don’t know what the battery percentage was at the beginning of the test (apparently it started working later on, otherwise how would the journalists know that charging started at 6% and ended at 80%?).

Let’s focus on the Subaru then. The app reported 54% at the beginning of the test. 149 kilometers (93 mi) later, the app reported 6%.

That would indicate a total range of 310 km (192 mi).

But at the same time, the energy consumption displayed on the vehicle’s screen was 248 Wh/km or 399 Wh/mi. That would indicate a total range of 288 km (179 miles) but that’s assuming the usable battery capacity is 71.4 kWh, while Elbil24’s tests indicate that the usable capacity is lower.

Maybe the energy consumption displayed on the screen is simply wrong.

No matter whether the actual range is 310 km (192 mi) or less than that, it is kind of low. Even on 20-inch wheels and winter tires – and that’s what the test vehicle was equipped with – the Solterra’s range should be 416 km (258 mi), according to Subaru (WLTP cycle, and not taking cold weather into account).

And was the vehicle’s low range caused by cabin heating being on? The vehicle’s range estimator wants you to think so – the estimated range dropped a lot (quite a lot, and it wasn’t freezing outside) the moment HVAC was turned on. But no complete range test was done with HVAC off – so at the moment it’s impossible to tell whether the range with HVAC off would be as good as the range estimator indicated.

And to complicate things further…

The results obtained for the Toyota are clouding the picture even more. As a reminder, the battery state of charge could not be read – we’re going on energy consumption readouts only.

The Toyota (AWD and on winter tires) was equipped with 18-inch wheels. That should have resulted in lower energy consumption than in the Subaru.

Nope.

The Toyota was even more power hungry than the Subaru, at 272 Wh/km or 438 Wh/mi. At least that’s what was displayed on the vehicle’s screen. One detail that might matter, the Toyota apparently spent more time driving on the highway (in the final phase of the test or overall?) than the Subaru, and its battery got warmer. But it’s a Norwegian highway, with low speed limits anyway.

But then the Toyota was retested. Different, and longer, route. HVAC set to a temperature almost the same as before. This time, the outside temperature was somewhere between 11 and 14 °C (52–57 °F). The reported energy consumption was 190 Wh/km or 306 Wh/mi. Much lower than before.

A lot of data, and hard to reach any definitive conclusions. More study recommended.

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Sources: [1], [2]

Electric Vehicles Did Catch On

A very rough estimate, based on incomplete data, is that some 10% of cars and light trucks sold on this planet last quarter were pure electric vehicles.


Tesla Model Y. Photo taken in California. Credit: Juan Carlos LTO

In 2019 Australian prime minister Scott Morrison famously proclaimed that his political opponent wants to “end the weekend”.

It was said shortly before elections, and in the context of the rival’s policy on electric vehicles.

Morrison emphasized how Australians love 4WD vehicles and SUVs, and said how his opponent wants to deprive Australians of the possibility of buying such vehicles, and make them buy electric cars instead, and an entry-level electric car is “not going to tow your trailer […] not going to tow your boat […] not going to get you out to your favourite camping spot with your family”.

“Bill Shorten (then-leader of the opposing party) wants to end the weekend when it comes to his policy on electric vehicles where you’ve got Australians who love being out there in their four-wheel drives. He wants to say see you later to the SUV when it comes to the choices of Australians.”

By the way, Morrison’s party won those elections.

The situation right now

Well, now that it’s 2022, it’s much more difficult to treat SUVs and electric vehicles as two non-overlapping kingdoms. Especially when the Tesla Model Y (an SUV… at least nominally) is on track to become the best-selling EV of the year worldwide.

And when it comes to pickup trucks (the Australian term is utes), which usually have more off-road genes than SUVs – Rivian and Ford, and not only them, have already started shipping all-electric ones.

Also, it’s more and more difficult to treat electric vehicles as some novel idea that maybe will catch on.

If the global market share of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) among light vehicles was really anywhere around 10% last quarter (that’s excluding plug-in hybrids, which are usually included in statistics for EVs), then we’re already past the so-called “EV tipping point” that analysts once predicted to be at 5%.

That future in which electric vehicles are supposed to become popular? We are already living in it.

Not just for fans

The catchphrase about “ruining the weekend” (that seems to be the more popular version), used ironically, apparently became a favorite among EV fans in Australia.

Just to quote an article on thedriven.io about a Facebook group titled (of course) I ruined the weekend:


Photo: Sam Blight

Sam Blight took a casual drive and ruined a whole afternoon in his Kona Electric: “Afternoon ruin out to Yennyenning Lakes which are full this year after good rain.”

Ant Day, who started the group, took a 1,500km [930-mile] trip to Esperance, ruining a three-day weekend with a visit to Edge of the Bay festival and along the way was horrified by some lovely wildflowers, then visiting some very nice beaches.

And a lot has changed since 2019, when Australian buyers looking for an EV didn’t have that many options to choose from. The Model Y is quite popular now (isn’t it boring how that model appears in almost every EV ranking, no matter which country you pick?), taking on the Mazda CX-5 and the Toyota RAV4.

What’s important is that electric vehicles are no longer just an option for people who specifically want an EV. They are an appealing option for car, or SUV, buyers in general. What was that expression the British Top Gear magazine used when reviewing the Megane E-Tech? Conventionally desirable. You don’t need to be an EV fan to buy an EV.

What is the market share? Well, in the third quarter of 2022, some 4.4% of all vehicles sold in Australia were all-electric. If you want to cherry-pick, September was an especially good month for all-electrics, with a 7.7% market share. The overwhelming majority of these sales are Teslas.

The lack of all-electric utes (all-electric pickup trucks) in the Australian market remains a problem, though. Another example of how Australia is at the back end of the queue when it comes to debuts of new EV models is the Volkswagen ID.4: not exactly a new model in Europe or the U.S., but not available in Australia yet.

Quietly electric

There are so many countries where the BEV market is booming right now. China is driving the global figures up: from July through September, more than 21% of passenger vehicle sales in the country were all-electric.

But I’m going to write about the Korean market, and a certain Korean brand, instead.

In September, pure electric vehicles outsold hybrids in South Korea - for the first time. That moment came surprisingly late, given that South Korea is a powerhouse when it comes to manufacturing EVs and their batteries. But a lot of EVs made in South Korea are exported. And exports of the Kia EV6 and the Ioniq 5 – especially the Ioniq 5 – to Europe are still not keeping up with the demand.

Hyundai-Kia’s big selling point is a battery pack that charges from 10% to 80% in just 18 minutes; it’s already used in vehicles sold in Europe and in North America. But a certain SUV using that technology has been reserved for the Korean market so far.


Genesis Electrified GV70. Photo: Damian B Oh

Remember when Korean cars and SUVs were cheap? I do (and I remember how the German automotive press hated them for it). Today, offering affordable vehicles is considered a terrible mistake, one that more and more manufacturers are trying to avoid. The Genesis Electrified GV70 is not cheap. Marketed under Hyundai-Kia’s premium brand, that SUV has no twin model that would be sold under some cheaper brand.

So far it has only been sold in Korea – but that’s going to change soon. Deliveries in Europe are expected to start just about now. Additionally, a factory in Alabama is expected to start delivering vehicles for the American market.

The Electrified GV70 does not look that different from its combustion-engine counterpart. The same can be said about the Genesis Electrified G80, an ostentatious, presidential-looking sedan.

Unlike Teslas, these vehicles are clearly downplaying their all-electric nature. They are luxury vehicles that just happen to be electric.

Japan’s tiny EV

Things might be changing – slowly – even in Japan, a country known for a low market share of all-electrics (ordinary hybrids are super popular, though).

The Nissan Sakura, introduced this year, is an electric kei car equipped with a 20-kWh battery. Certainly not a long-range electric vehicle.


Photo: Hideyuki Nakano, response.jp

But Nissan’s car that is turning out to be kind of popular in Japan. Together with its Mitsubishi eK X EV twin, it sold in over 13,000 units last quarter, and held a 1.6% share of the market. That’s not the share of the BEV market; it’s the share of the entire passenger vehicle market.

Overall, all-electric vehicles are just 2-3% of the passenger vehicle market in Japan – so Nissan/Mitsubishi’s tiny EVs must account for the majority of those sales.

It’s quite affordable for an EV. And – of course – it’s not available in Europe. There is a risk it would be selling too well.

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The numbers

China: 1,215,155* 
European Union, EFTA and UK: 355,000*
United States: 205,682
South Korea: 49,631**
Japan: 21,100*
India: 13,054**
Australia: 12,047**
* not including light commercial vehicles
** might include heavy commercial vehicles

The estimate for the global market of light vehicles (all kinds of powertrains) is 19,274,000 units.
All data is for Q3 2022.

Sources: China[1][2][3][4][5][6], European Union, EFTA and UK[7][8][9][10][11], United States[12], South Korea[13][14], Japan[15][16][17], India[18], Australia[19][20][21][22], estimates for the global light vehicle market[23].

Zero to Sixty in Under 1.5 Seconds – In an Electric Car

Students from the University of Stuttgart built an electric car. And no, it’s not some ultralight vehicle designed to win an eco-marathon. It is a racetrack machine designed to leave practically all motorcycles – and practically all production cars – in the dust.


GreenTeam’s car. Photo: GreenTeam Uni Stuttgart

There are certain vehicles that GreenTeam’s car simply cannot compete with. Dragsters. Rocket sleds. Jet-powered and rocket-powered cars. Hovever, the Stuttgart-based team’s all-electric creation easily outruns Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches and Formula 1 cars.

It has just set a Guinness World Record for the fastest-accelerating electric car. The 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) time is about 1.46 seconds. Well, 1.461 to be exact.

The vehicle, designated E0711-11 EVO, competes in Formula SAE/Formula Student (yes, a vehicle built for student contests accelerates faster than an actual Formula 1 machine). For the Guinness World Record attempt, the vehicle apparently lost its huge rear wing it previously had.

Performance through light weight

The vehicle has four in-wheel electric motors. According to the team’s website, they are putting out 210 hp (156.4 kW) – but apparently, in the vehicle used for the world record attempt, it was beefed up to 241 hp (180 kW).

Does not seem much? Well, the weight of the carbon-fiber-bodied car is 173 kg (381 lb), and for the world record attempt it was reduced even further – Carscoops says the weight is 145 kg or 320 lb.

Which means the power-to-weight ratio is astounding (I think the fact that the vehicle is electric also plays a role – an ICE car probably wouldn’t have achieved such results with the same power-to-weight ratio).

That obviously brings to mind Lotus cars with their “performance through light weight” design. For Germans, it probably evokes the memories of the Bergspyder. The Bergspyder, developed by Porsche in the late 1960s, was a machine competing in hill climbing races, and had its weight reduced to the minimum.

There is yet another way to look at it: it’s a slighly oversized go-kart – an electric one, and with an extremely high power output. Although in the Guinness World Record run it only demonstrated its straight-line acceleration, so that result alone does not indicate whether the vehicle’s handling is truly go-kart-like.

See the Guinness World Record attempt video here.

The battery size is only 7 or 8 kWh (according to the team’s website), which partially explains the low weight. For a racing machine that lasts longer on the track, you might want to look up the Ariel Hipercar.

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Sources: [1][2]

How Many Electric Vehicles Are There in Frankfurt and Stuttgart?

Some German cities have already accumulated sizable numbers of EVs.


Frankfurt. Photo: Matthias Konrath

Replacing ICE cars with electric vehicles is a slow process.

Just because electric vehicles are selling well doesn’t mean they constitute a large part of the overall vehicle fleet. Cars (and trucks) have a long service life. And what you see on the road is a reflection of how the auto market looked like years ago – not how it looks like right now.

So it takes years before high sales of EVs translate into a reasonably high proportion of EVs on the road.

Example: in Germany, the market share of electric vehicles (BEVs+PHEVs) exceeds 30% in some months. The share of such vehicles in the German passenger vehicle fleet, however, is more like 3%.

Just to be clear, in this article, the “vehicle fleet” means all the vehicles that are there. It has the same meaning as the term “the total number of vehicles on the road”.

3% for BEVs+PHEVs. 1.6% for BEVs only (at the end of H1 2022). But in some cities, including Frankfurt and Stuttgart, it’s considerably more than that.

Before we get to discussing Frankfurt and Stuttgart (or you can just scroll down to the part about Frankfurt and Stuttgart), an explanation why there are such disparities between different parts of Germany.

The EV share of the market does not vary that much state to state…

In the United States, it’s easy to point out which states have a high EV market share – California definitely stands out.

Compared to the United States, Germany looks like a monolith. When it comes to EV market share, differences between states are quite small.

But the EV share of the fleet varies a lot state to state

And yet, some German states have more than twice the percentage of EVs on the road (in their vehicle fleets) than others.

Maybe some states got on the EV bandwagon earlier than others? Actually, that’s not the most important reason. The real reason is something else:

The “turnover rate” of cars and SUVs varies a lot from state to state.

In some areas – especially those with thriving automotive industry, and in richer regions in general – customers treat cars and SUVs like single-use items. They buy or lease a brand new vehicle; and then, before the vehicle starts to look dated, they get rid of it and get a new one. In such areas, new car/SUV sales remain at a high level, and the existing fleet of vehicles is getting replaced quite quickly. In the state of Bavaria, 4-5% of the passenger vehicle fleet is 9 months old or less.

In other areas, customers are less likely to buy brand new vehicles. They buy used; or just keep their own vehicles longer. In the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, only 2-3% of the passenger vehicle fleet is 9 months old or less.

It’s not that people in areas like Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are significantly less likely to buy electric if they go to a car showroom. It’s just that they are less likely to go to a showroom at all. Which is why it will take longer for things that are common in car showrooms – like electric vehicles – to become common on the streets too.

(Yes I know that buying an all-electric vehicle in a showroom sound like an antiquated idea; in the explanation above, “car showroom” = new vehicle market.)

Frankfurt


Frankfurt. Photo: Epizentrum

Frankfurt, with its skyscraper-packed center, is the financial capital of Germany; it is also home to the country’s largest airport. 7.0% of passenger vehicles registered in the city are plug-in electric. 3.1% are BEVs and 3.9% are PHEVs.

That is about 24,300 vehicles (plug-in electric), about 10,800 vehicles (BEVs) and about 13,500 vehicles (PHEVs), respectively.

Stuttgart


Stuttgart. Photo: Fanndian (edited by Pro2)

Stuttgart hosts the headquarters of both Mercedes-Benz and Porsche (the latter might be more associated with the name Zuffenhausen, but Zuffenhausen is a district of Stuttgart). 7.5% of passenger vehicles registered in the city are plug-in electric. 3.2% are BEVs and 4.2% are PHEVs. These numbers don’t seem to add up, but it’s because of rounding.

That is about 22,400 vehicles (plug-in electric), about 9,700 vehicles (BEVs) and about 12,700 vehicles (PHEVs), respectively.

Both in Frankfurt and in Stuttgart, PHEVs outnumber BEVs. In Germany as a whole, it is the other way around – the fleet of all-electric vehicles is already larger than the fleet of PHEVs.

Did I mention that areas with thriving automobile industry, or just rich areas, have a higher vehicle “turnover rate”, which causes EVs to become common on the roads more quickly? Here are the top 5 German registration circuits – all of them happen to be cities – with the highest share of electric vehicles in their fleets. One map shows the statistics for all plug-in vehicles (BEVs+PHEVs); the other one, for BEVs only.

Wiesbaden

Wiesbaden, not very far from Frankfurt, has hot springs and a large U.S. Army garrison.

Importantly, Wiesbaden is the city with the highest share of plug-in vehicles in Germany (9.2%). Also, it is the city with the highest share of BEVs (5.2%). PHEVs are 4.0%.

The idea that it’s some small spa town would be wrong. Wiesbaden has some 200,000-300,000 people and a high car ownership rate (the number of vehicles per capita is higher than the state average, and much higher than in Franfurt). A lot of vehicles and a high proportion of them being all-electric mean than the number of BEVs – that’s BEVs only – in Wiesbaden actually exceeds 10,000.

Ingolstadt

Audi’s hometown also boasts more all-electric vehicles than PHEVs.

6.5% of passenger vehicles in Ingolstadt are plug-in electric. 3.8% are BEVs, 2.7% are PHEVs.

Wolfsburg and Brunswick

Wolfsburg is a name long associated with the automotive giant Volkswagen – which might create the impression that it’s a bigger city than it really is. In fact, Wolfsburg is home to about 125,000 people. But it did not even exist as a city before 1938, when the Nazi program of mass-producing a people’s car (the Beetle) started. For a company town, it’s quite large.

Brunswick is a bigger and older city which, for historical reasons, shares its name with many places in the Americas and in Australia (kind of like the English city of York does). And yes, Volkswagen also has its facilities in Brunswick.

In Wolfsburg, 7.3% of all passenger vehicles are plug-in electric. 3.1% are BEVs, 4.2% are PHEVs.

Brunswick seems to be more BEV-oriented. 6.2% of all passenger vehicles are plug-in electric; 4.4% are BEVs, 1.8% are PHEVs.
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Sources: KBA fleet data for the end of H1 2022 [1][2], KBA registration data [3][4]

7% of Cars Sold by Tata in India Are All-Electric

The Tata Nexon EV crossover was selling remarkably well in H1 2022.


Tata Nexon EV. Photo: Ratopati TV

In India, the market share of all-electrics (BEVs) among passenger vehicles is low. In the first half of the year, it was roughly 1%.

But the overwhelming majority of those sales are scored by just one brand: Tata. Basically, the Indian BEV market is even more Tata-centric than the American BEV market is Tesla-centric.

The name does not ring any bells? Well, Tata Motors happens to own 100% of Jaguar Land Rover (acquired in 2008), but the Tata brand itself was never popular in Europe – despite some forays into the European market; and in North America, it is practically unknown. In its home country, it’s different: Tata is a major, and long-established, player in the Indian passenger vehicle market.

And in the first half of 2022, about 7% of passenger vehicles sold by Tata in India were all-electric.

It’s just two all-electric models: the Tata Nexon EV crossover SUV (30.2 kWh or 40.5 kWh) and the Tata Tigor EV small sedan (26 kWh).

In the first half of the year, 13,280 units of the Nexon EV were sold – and 5,532 units of the Tigor EV (For comparison, in the first half of the previous year, these figures were merely 3,204 and 222, respectively). That sums up to 18,812 units, although Tata’s own monthly reports show 18,378.

The Nexon EV is the more interesting of the two models. It is still a small vehicle, about 4 m (157 inch) long. Front-wheel drive only, like most subcompact crossovers. The variant with a 40.5-kWh battery, designated “Max”, packs 143 hp, accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in under 10 seconds, and has a top speed of 140 km/h or 87 mph.

That variant costs the equivalent of US$22,300.

The Nexon – the gasoline variant, not the electric one – scored 5 stars out of 5 in a Global NCAP crash test, a first for an Indian vehicle (as of 2022, it is no longer the only one with such a rating). But make no mistake, it still has only 2 airbags. And Global NCAP crash tests are much more lenient than the current Euro NCAP test procedure.

At the end of September, Tata unveiled a third model, the Tiago EV. The Tiago is a hatchback counterpart to the Tigor sedan. The EV variant is a vehicle with a 19.2-kWh battery selling for the equivalent of $10,350 (or a vehicle with a 24-kWh battery selling for $12,150). It is marketed as the most affordable EV in India.

And Tata’s competitor Mahindra is preparing an offensive of all-electric SUVs. The first one is the XUV400, with a roughly 40-kWh battery.

Where are Tesla and BYD?

Well, they are abroad – in the sense that they don’t make all-electric vehicles in India. And the Indian car market is prety tightly insulated from foreign imports. There are high import tariffs – 60% or 100%, depending on the value of the car.

Tesla is simply absent from the Indian market (although there are private imports), and BYD sells very small numbers of all-electric passenger vehicles each month.

Electric motorcycles are booming in India

Here’s a little fact about the Indian car market: every year, Indians buy about 10-20 times less cars and light trucks per capita than Americans, Germans or the French. It might have something to do with how India is not as rich as these countries.

This is partially (but only partially) compensated by huge sales of motorcycles and scooters. Here are the statistics for a certain period of 12 months (these are not statistics for the first half of the year):

• passenger vehicles: ~ 3 million
• commercial vehicles: ~ 0.7 million
• three-wheelers: ~ 0.3 million
• two-wheeled vehicles: ~ 13 million

Yes, 13 million motorcycles and scooters per year – compared to 3 million passenger vehicles.

And the sector of motorcycles and scooters is undergoing electrification: the market share of all-electric vehicles varied from 2.8% to 4.5% over the first six months of 2022 (excluding low-speed vehicles – so electric kick scooters are not inflating these statistics).

Some 400,000 “high-speed” electric motorcycles and scooters were sold in H1 2022, compared to some 20,000 electric passenger vehicles. You can see which type of vehicle is more popular.

Among three-wheelers (which are not included in the statistics for motorcycles and scooters), the share of all-electrics in H1 2022 was roughly 50%. Yes, about half of them. Although it’s half of a surprisingly small market – three-wheelers, though they are a common sight on roads, are not currently selling in India as well as you might think. As a result, two-wheeled electric motorcycles and scooters are actually outselling electric three wheelers.
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Sources: [1],[2],[3],[4]

France September 2022 Electric Car Sales and PHEV Sales

The market share of plug-in vehicles reached 24.2%. BEVs were 15.9%, PHEVs were 8.2%.


Renault Megane E-Tech Electric. Photo: Matti Blume

Among passenger vehicles, all-electrics outsold diesels last month. This is the first time it happened in France, at least in this century.

Also: at 15.9%, the market share of all-electrics set a new record (surpassing December 2021).

Top 10 all-electrics, September 2022:
1. Renault Megane E-Tech Electric (2897 units)
2. Tesla Model 3 (2202 units)
3. Dacia Spring (2170 units)
4. Peugeot e-208 (2129 units)
5. Renault Twingo (1387 units)
6. Fiat 500e (1269 units)
7. Tesla Model Y (1261 units)
8. Renault Zoe (1117 units)
9. Peugeot e-2008 (867 units)
10. Volkswagen ID.3 (632 units)

It was an end-of-quarter month, a “Tesla month” in which large shipments of Teslas usually arrive in Europe (of course the Model Y is now also made locally). There was a hiccup in June – some European markets got a smaller number of vehicles than usual. While Tesla’s French deliveries are up in September compared to June, it’s not a Tesla model that is the real star of this ranking.

About 2900 units of the Megane E-Tech Electric were delivered in September – the best monthly result for this model so far. Introducing this generation of the Megane as an all-electric vehicle, without any ICE counterpart, turned out to be a good bet by Renault.

Renault sold more BEVs than Tesla last month – and that’s not counting Renault-owned Dacia. The Renault Zoe and the Dacia Spring are finding customers despite their crash test results.

Top 10 PHEVs, September 2022:
1. Peugeot 3008 PHEV (894 units)
2. Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV (846 units)
3. Peugeot 308 PHEV (597 units)
4. Mercedes GLA PHEV (576 units)
5. DS7 PHEV (535 units)
6. Mercedes GLC PHEV (496 units)
7. Hyundai Tucson PHEV (432 units)
8. Audi Q3 PHEV (424 units)
9. Kia Niro PHEV (397 units)
10. BMW X3 PHEV (379 units)

Four French models in the top 5. Also, the Mercedes GLA PHEV outsold the GLC PHEV this time.

The market year to date (Jan-Sep 2022)

Here are the results year to date (all figures according to AAA Data).

Top 10 all-electrics, year to date (Jan-Sep 2022):
1. Peugeot e-208 (14108 units)
2. Dacia Spring (13022 units)
3. Fiat 500e (12454 units)
4. Renault Twingo (10702 units)
5. Renault Zoe (10632 units)
6. Tesla Model 3 (10265 units)
7. Renault Megane E-Tech Electric (9154 units)
8. Tesla Model Y (5974 units)
9. Peugeot e-2008 (5481 units)
10. Hyundai Kona Electric (4781 units)

Top 10 PHEVs, year to date (Jan-Sep 2022):
1. Peugeot 3008 PHEV (7938 units)
2. Peugeot 308 PHEV (4778 units)
3. Mercedes GLC PHEV (4603 units)
4. Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV (4377 units)
5. Hyundai Tucson PHEV (3231 units)
6. DS7 PHEV (3193 units)
7. BMW X3 (2831 units)
8. Kia Sportage (2519 units)
9. Mercedes GLA (2308 units)
10. Volvo XC40 PHEV (2305 units)

Looking at the entire passenger vehicle market (both plug-in and non-plug-in vehicles), there was a year-over-year increase in monthly sales in September 2022. Of course non-plug-in vehicles still constitute the majority of the market.
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Sources: [1],[2],[3],[4],[5]

In Norway, There Is 1 All‑Electric Vehicle per 10 People

If the same applied to the United States, there would be over thirty million electric cars and light trucks on U.S. roads. Obviously the U.S. is not there yet.


A Tesla Model S in Norway. Photo: Mario Duran-Ortiz

Let’s be accurate: 1 vehicle per 10 people is the best approximation of the prevalence of all-electric light vehicles in Norway, if you want to express it in the form of 1 vehicle per [integer number] of people.

One per ten is the best approximation. Not one per nine, not one per eleven.

The exact point at which the number of such vehicles exceeds 1/10 of the population has not been passed yet – but it’s close.

You hear phrases like “Norway leads the world in EV adoption”, but that’s an understatement. Right now Norway is not just leading, it is well ahead of the rest of the pack. There is no other country like this in the world. Iceland might be the second best (might be – I didn’t check), but compared to Norway, it has less than half as many all-electric vehicles per population.

It is a matter of money, of course. Norway has extremely high taxes for ICE cars, but none or close to none for pure electric vehicles.

Which BEVs are most popular?

Norway is a land of Teslas, right? The country that will buy as many electric cars as Tesla can ship?

Well, Teslas and electric vehicles from the Volkswagen Group are now both popular.

Tesla flooded the Norwegian market with Model 3s in 2019, but in 2020 it was the Audi e-Tron (the SUV) that was the best-selling vehicle; the Model 3 regained the first place the following year. And now, the Model Y is directly competing with the Volkswagen ID.4 and its siblings. The Model Y is topping the sales charts so far this year – but if you combine the sales of the ID.4 and it siblings together, then they are outselling Tesla’s crossover.


A Volkswagen ID.4 in Norway. Photo: Tomm W. Christiansen, motor.no

There are now more than 500,000 all-electric light vehicles in Norway, that milestone was passed this year (now we are talking about all registered vehicles, not just about those sold this year). Not bad, given that the 50,000 mark was passed only in April 2015… The most common one of them (over 70,000 vehicles) is still the good old Nissan Leaf. A nice thing about the Leaf – now well into its second generation – is how it was resistant to price increases affecting EVs over the last 1-2 years (maybe it helps that the development costs are probably long paid off). I hope Nissan – which is about to start raking profits on the new Ariya – won’t start raising prices of the Leaf now, or stop its production.

The numbers

The number of all-electric light vehicles registered in Norway reached 525,993 as of 30 June 2022. The population of Norway was 5,455,582. One all-electric light vehicle per 10.37 people.

Out of these 525,993 all-electric light vehicles, 508,565 were passenger vehicles; the rest were light commercial vehicles.


A Tesla Model S in Norway. Photo: u/VegarHenriksen on Reddit

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Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4]

France August 2022 Electric Car Sales and PHEV Sales

The market share of plug-in vehicles was at 20.9%. BEVs were 13.5% while PHEVs were 7.4%.


Renault Megane E-Tech Electric (1st place among all-electrics in August). Photo: Rutger van der Maar

A major French carmaker is replacing a popular ICE car with an all-electric model.

In France, Renault is now selling roughly as many vehicles under the popular Megane nameplate as last year. Except that now, a significant number of them are all-electric vehicles.

The outgoing generation of the Megane is a reasonably popular hatchback, also available as a station wagon. Now a new, all-electric Megane is filling its shoes – and the transition is going surprisingly smoothly, especially considering that the new model is not cheap.

The new generation, a “hatchback with crossover styling cues”, is available as a BEV only – there is no ICE, hybrid of PHEV variant or it.

The new model is manufacured in France, unlike its predecessor, which is manufactured abroad, in Spain; that might matter to French buyers (by the way, I didn’t find any definite confirmation that production of the old Megane in Spain has ended yet).

The market in August 2022

Among passenger vehicles, the market share of plug-in vehicles was at 20.9%. All-electrics were 13.5% while PHEVs were 7.4%.

Overall, the balance has shifted toward all-electrics (as opposed to PHEVs).

Top 10 all-electrics, August 2022:
1. Renault Megane E-Tech Electric (1521 units)
2. Fiat 500e (1325 units)
3. Dacia Spring (988 units)
4. Peugeot e-208 (889 units)
5. Renault Twingo E-Tech Electric (714 units)
6. Tesla Model Y (702 units)
7. Peugeot e-2008 (602 units)
8. Hyundai Kona Electric (465 units)
9. Renault Zoe (438 units)
10. Kia e-Niro (398 units)

Unsurprisingly, the new Megane E-Tech Electric took the first place among all-electrics in August.

The next four places, however, are all occupied by electric city cars – smaller and cheaper than the Megane. Among them, the Fiat 500e outsold the Peugeot e-208 (last month; but in cumulative year-to-date sales, the Peugeot is still in the lead). The Dacia Spring, imported from China, remains popular.

Note the decrease in Renault Zoe sales.


Fiat 500e (2nd place among all-electrics in August). Photo not taken in France. Photo: Alexander Migl

Top 10 PHEVs, August 2022:
1. Mercedes GLC PHEV (352 units)
2. Kia Sportage PHEV (327 units)
3. Mini Countryman PHEV (325 units)
4. Peugeot 3008 PHEV (311 units)
5. Peugeot 308 PHEV (277 units)
6. Lynk & Co 01 (265 units)
7. Hyundai Tucson (253 units)
8. BMW X3 PHEV (239 units)
9. Mercedes GLA PHEV (233 units)
10. Volkswagen Tiguan PHEV (215 units)

Mercedes has announced that the upcoming generation of the GLC will get a larger, 30+ kWh battery – similar to the one already used in its bigger brother, the GLE. But I assume that what you see in the statistics for August are mostly, or exclusively, sales of the outgoing model – with a battery roughly half that size. Sales of that model have been reasonably good throughout the year.

Sales of the PHEV variant of the Peugeot 3008 compact crossover were quite impressive January through May, with over 1000 units sold in each of those months; then they took a dive. Although year-to-date, that model is still the #1 among PHEVs.

A PHEV variant of the old Megane is still available (both as a hatchback and as a station wagon), but there is no sight of it in the top 10 for August; it’s also nowhere to be found in the top 10 year-to-date.

The market year to date (Jan-Aug 2022)

Here are the results year to date (note: these figures come from NGC Data, while the figures above come from AAA Aata/PFA):

Top 10 all-electrics, year to date (Jan-Aug 2022):
1. Peugeot e-208 (11982 units)
2. Fiat 500e (11185 units)
3. Dacia Spring (10852 units)
4. Renault Zoe (9516 units)
5. Renault Twingo E-Tech Electric (9315 units)
6. Tesla Model 3 (8063 units)
7. Renault Megane E-Tech Electric (6257 units)
8. Tesla Model Y (4713 units)
9. Peugeot e-2008 (4614 units)
10. Hyundai Kona Electric (4232 units)

Top 10 PHEVs, year to date (Jan-Aug 2022):
1. Peugeot 3008 PHEV (7044 units)
2. Peugeot 308 PHEV (4181 units)
3. Mercedes GLC PHEV (4107 units)
4. Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV (3531 units)
5. Hyundai Tucson PHEV (2800 units)
6. DS7 Crossback PHEV (2658 units)
7. BMW X3 PHEV (2452 units)
8. Kia Sportage PHEV (2191 units)
9. Volvo XC40 PHEV (2085 units)
10. Renault Captur PHEV (2017 units)


Peugeot e-208, the best-selling all-electric vehicle year to date. Photo: SOL – Supercars of London (on YouTube)

What else is happening in the French car market? Well, after full 14 months of year-over-year decreases in monthly sales, there was a slight increase in sales in August (that’s total passenger vehicle sales, not just plug-in vehicles). But that’s comparing a slow month of 2022 to a slow month of 2021; it’s hard to say whether the upward trend will continue in the following months.
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Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4]

How Euro NCAP Frontal Crash Tests Got More Realistic

Euro NCAP frontal crash tests are now vehicle-to-vehicle collisions – not collisions of a moving vehicle with a stationary object.


Photo: ADAC

You might have seen photos of crash tests in which two vehicles – two actual brand new vehicles – are crashed against each other by some safety rating agency. What should be kept in mind is that’s not how cars or SUVs get their safety ratings.

Such crash tests, with two production vehicles pitted against each other, might help develop actual test procedures. Plus, as they look like real-life crashes, they catch the viewer’s attention, and are a good way to illustrate a point. They are educational.

But the actual evaluation of a vehicle – determining its safety rating – is done by crashing it against a barrier.

And is the barrier stationary? Speaking about frontal crash tests only: in American tests, yes; in Euro NCAP tests, since 2020, not anymore.

It’s a trolley – with four wheels similar in size to those of a car or a SUV, a wheelbase slightly longer than in a typical European car, and weighing 1400 kg (about 3100 pounds) – still more than many compact hatchbacks on European roads. There is a deformable aluminum structure – the actual barrier – attached to the trolley’s front end.

Such trolleys, or “mobile barriers”, have been used in side impact testing for quite a long time (the barrier crashes into the side of a stationary car). But using them for frontal impact testing, as a standard procedure – that’s new. In the U.S., the NHTSA has been experimenting with mobile barriers for frontal impact testing for years; but, so far, hasn’t made them part of the test procedure.

The trolley is accelerated to 50 km/h (31 mph), while the tested vehicle is accelerated to the exact same speed in the opposite direction. The left part of the trolley’s front end collides (head on) with the left half of the tested vehicle’s front end.

The weight problem

It’s quite different from the old pre-2020 procedure, which wasn’t much different from the one still used by the American IIHS. To be exact, what I’m describing here is the “moderate overlap” or “moderate offset” frontal impact; both the IIHS and Euro NCAP use more than one scenario of frontal impact testing.

In the old procedure, instead of two moving objects – the tested vehicle and the trolley, both moving at 50 km/h (31 mph) – the tested vehicle was accelerated to 64 km/h (40 mph) and smashed against a stationary barrier.

And that old stationary barrier covered just 40% of the vehicle’s width – not 50%, like the new mobile barrier.

Cars, and SUVs, obviously don’t like crashing into narrow objects (such objects cut deep into the car’s structure) – so does it mean the new, wider barrier is actually less demanding? Not really, because the new barrier, while wider, is also lower – so the impact is still spread over a relatively small area (over a relatively small part of the car’s front end).

Also, the new barrier is made of harder material than the old barrier – more about that later.

But first, one obvious issue: the new barrier puts really small cars – like popular city cars – at a disadvantage.

In 2012, the German association ADAC tested four different tiny cars against the new barrier. Yes, in 2012, even though Euro NCAP adopted it only in 2020; development of crash test procedures in a slow process – maybe it does not need to be, but apparently those developing them preferred to give automakers some time to adapt.

These city cars – back then – boasted good Euro NCAP safety ratings; 4 or even 5 stars out of 5. Today, no car will get a good Euro NCAP rating if it’s not equipped with automatic crash prevention systems like automatic emergency braking or lane assist, no matter how well it does in the actual crash test (makes sense: it’s certainly better to avoid a crash than to be in a crash, no matter how safe the car). Back then, than policy was not yet in place – and the crash test results of these tiny cars did not look bad.

But when these cars were tested by ADAC against the new barrier, the results – to put it mildly – changed for the worse:


Best results are in green; then goes yellow, orange, brown/maroon, and red (worst results). Image: ADAC

What happened?

Well, in the old EuroNCAP tests, these cars only had to carry their own weight, so to speak. And they were light. When smashed against a stationary barrier, the structure of such a car would only need to deal with stresses caused by a relatively light object – the car itself.

And then that small car would basically come to a stop; no bouncing off the heavier vehicle, no being dragged/pushed by the heavier vehicle.

No wonder small (and cheap) cars used to get better results than bigger ones.

But that changed with the new trolley-barrier setup, which simulates a collision with another vehicle quite realistically. Note that the trolley (fixed weight of 1400 kg/3100 lbs, no matter what vehicle it’s crashed into) is heavier than any of the four cars tested. It’s kind of obvious that in a head-on collision between two vehicles of different weights, the lighter vehicle is in a worse position. Because even if its body structure holds, the passengers inside the lighter vehicle are still subjected to higher forces during the crash.

It’s interesting, though, that the best result of the four – the least terrible result – was achieved by the Smart (a.k.a. SmartCar). Even though it’s the lightest one. Designers of the Smart knew that its low mass was going to be a problem in an impact. But they designed the vehicle with a stiff “safety shell” named Tridion – which solves at least one problem, that of structural integrity. As for the crumple zone, the car basically uses the crumple zone of the vehicle that it crashes into.

Different dimensions and greater hardness of the new barrier might have contributed to these results, though. The new barrier is harder, and it also strikes slightly lower:


Left: old barrier. Right: new mobile barrier. Not exactly to scale. Data for the new barrier based on the prototype used by ADAC. Material strength (in megapascals, MPa) for both barriers might be slightly inaccurate, by up to 10%. Image: IIHS, Euro NCAP

The new barrier (unlike the old one) is also a good measuring device: it measures how much damage the tested vehicle would do the other vehicle in the crash. Not with sensors or anything like that; the shape of the barrier after the crash, alone, allows for calculating the forces acting on each point of the barrier quite precisely. Since 2020, Euro NCAP notes in the description of the test results whether the vehicle is an aggressive, moderately aggressive, moderately benign or benign “crash partner” to another vehicle.

Heavy means safe?

All of this looks like bad news for tiny cars. And not only for those not built with the new barrier in mind; even completely new designs are going to suffer if they are much lighter than the new test trolley.

In 2021, so after the new barrier came into use, the Skoda Fabia (which was a budget city car, at least in its previous incarnation) got an excellent Euro NCAP rating. The video shows the car hitting the trolley and barely bouncing off it. Good engineering, sure, but that’s not the whole explanation. It looks as if the weight difference between the car and the trolley weren’t that big. And, as it turns out, the Fabia is relatively heavy – at 1200 kg (2650 lbs), it enters what used to be the European compact car territory…

But I’m not criticizing Euro NCAP for choosing what is essentially a more realistic test procedure. By the way, in addition to changes to the frontal impact test, the organization also changed the side impact test procedure in 2020. Now the car is impacted from the side at the speed of 60 km/h (37 mph), not 50 km/h (31 mph) like before. In the U.S., the IIHS experimented with side crash testing at both these speeds; so far, they haven’t changed the standard procedure, sticking to 50 km/h, or 31 mph; although they use a different, much taller barrier that better simulates the front end of a pickup truck.

Note: I don’t think introducing a mobile barrier for frontal crash testing in the U.S. would be a good idea – not right now. It would probably be much heavier than the European one, which would result in poor safety ratings of cars (as opposed to heavier vehicles like SUVs and pickup trucks). And I don’t want cars to become an extinct species in the U.S.

And the complete list of additions and changes Euro NCAP made to their array of crash tests during the last 10 years is much longer than that. There is an increased focus on the safety of passengers in the rear seats – something that was mostly overlooked a decade ago.

To me, it looks like the ongoing shift toward EVs is going to help city cars in these tests. Because all that battery mass weighing electric vehicles down (that includes EVs that are city cars) now becomes an advantage.
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Sources: [1] (in German), [2], [3], [4]