Originally published on opportunity:energy.

Electric mobility’s long road to mainstream adoption continued in June. Sales across Europe keep climbing and Italy’s numbers have followed suit in a noteworthy end to the first half of the year that saw near-record levels of EV registrations.

Monthly data released by UNRAE update recent statistics with more of the news we are growing used to hearing. The Italian car market keeps recovering from last year’s debacle, scoring a total of over 150,000 registrations — almost 13% more than the 133,000 recorded a year prior, but still lower than 2019 June levels. Petrol and diesel powertrains are in unstoppable retreat, with 30.3% and 22.4% market share respectively, and double-digit reductions year-on-year (YoY). Traditional hybrids score a solid 27.4%, slightly lower than recent records, yet ready to overtake petrol any month now as most popular powertrain in the market.

Full electric cars reach near record highs again as the quarter ends, with 7,025 units and almost 4.7% share of the market — in fact, the second best share in a healthy market after last December, when it reached 6% with the year-end push. This month’s result is more than triple (+214%) the number of registrations just twelve months ago, when the count stopped at 2,237 units, confirming the steep rise of this early exponential phase of growth, with new models popping up every month.

Plug-in hybrids confirm their current lead over pure electrics, reaching 7,118 units and a similar 4.7% market share. This is also their third best result to date, with an over fourfold YoY growth (!) from the 1,647 registrations of June 2020. PHEVs are enjoying increasing interest in the Italian market following subdued sales in previous years, as more and more small-size SUVs with a plug are released by legacy brands.

The first six months of 2021 have rewarded plug-in hybrids perhaps simply for this very reason: a broader choice among popular body styles (that is, compact crossovers). If that’s the case, BEVs could soon recover their leading position as the number of new fully electric models of this kind keeps soaring. Either way, this month’s overall market share of 9.4% for plug-in cars (second highest result to date for Italy) is likely to be the new base from which an exciting second half of the year will build momentum. June’s top 10 BEV chart is once again shaken by a new entry, and a quite important one.

Queen of the month is the Tesla Model 3, which predictably benefits from the quarter-end push to score 984 registrations, staving off even the toughest competitor for top spot. Fiat 500e is in fact second with 955 units, showing consistent levels month after month (while Fiat recently confirmed its intention to double production within a year to around 140,000 units annually). Stably in third spot, Renault Twingo ZE again closes the podium reaching 829 registrations.

With such a typical trio at the top, it’s the fourth position that grabs our attention this month. Dacia Spring — the cheapest BEV of them all — has finally landed. With 618 units, the Romanian brand’s first fully electric car promises to democratise electric mobility with its aggressive pricing, less than 20,000 euros (including 22% VAT), which can even halve thanks to current Italian incentives. With such pricing, small size, and crossover appeal, we can rest assured the Spring is bound for success in Italy as well as the rest of Europe (the only constraint may well be production).

The tiny Smart ForTwo trails Dacia in fifth position with 615 registrations, followed by Volkswagen ID.3 in sixth place with 398 units. The German C-segment model has now been a stable presence in Italy’s top 10 since March, perhaps a sign of this market’s evolution to a broader base of models beyond city cars. Some well known names close the chart, with former best seller Renault Zoe in 7th place (321 units) followed by French rivals Peugeot e-208 and e-2008 in 8th and 9th, and Nissan Leaf in 10th position.

Things are changing fast in the full electric arena. Competition among city cars is heating up, with new entries slashing the barrier of EV ownership to ICE level, while family-sized options become available at a sustained pace as legacy carmakers fight to get noticed with ever increasing EV advertising. It won’t take long to see the fruit of this electric offensive.

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