Tesla has lost the lead in the west European electric vehicle market for the first time in 18 months, bowing out to the diminutive Fiat 500e.
The latest EV sales data distilled by electric auto market analyst Matthias Schmidt shows a slow quarter for the Californian carmaker which took the auto world by storm with its sleek Model 3 designed for the “mass” market in 2017.
But 2022 has so far told a very different story. Beset by Covid-19 lockdowns in China, Tesla has perhaps been hit hardest as it has lost the leading position it has held in the global and European EV market over the last five years.
With Tesla’s Berlin gigafactory still only supplying one quarter of demand for its electric cars in Europe, the impact of the shutdown of its Shanghai plant was felt by the EV market across the continent.
Compared to late 2021 when battery electric cars claimed a high 18% auto market share, the EV market fell again in Q2 2022 by 1.3% from April to June to a little more than 12%.
BMW and Volkswagen also contributed to this, having halted production as the Ukraine invasion saw wire-harness production plummet. Meanwhile, the broader auto market rose 2.8%.
It was Tesla’s first time not at the top of the EV market leaderboard since the last quarter of 2020, when the ID.3’s delay due to software problem saw the German carmaker rush them out en masse in the latter months of that year.
Fiat 500e lives up to the top title
The Fiat e500’s win for the quarter is by no means simply by default; the electric version of the classic Italian marque’s hatchback mainstay has garnered positive reviews from automotive media.
And it’s due to arrive locally in 2023.
By the time it does arrive though, it will already have the edgy Zwickau-made Cupra Born to contend with, which will arrive in coming months. With the Born slated to be priced somewhere between $50,000 and the low $60,000s, the €20,790 Fiat 500e is likely to be far more affordable, however.
Tesla Model Y sales pick up
Although the Fiat 500e claimed the top title for the quarter, the Tesla Model Y looks to take hold now Giga Shanghai has started up production again and as Berlin ramps up.
In June, InsideEVs reported Tesla sold 16,758 Model Ys in Europe – more than double that of Fiat’s 7,322 500e hatchbacks.
This, Schmidt notes, underlines the ongoing preference of carmakers to sell SUVs and crossovers. Out of 100 battery electric cars on offer in Europe, he notes that almost 40% of these are larger EV models as opposed to highly efficient sedans and hatchbacks.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.