Hybrid penetration based on misleading categories
Dataforce, via its expert Benjamin Kibies, has been investigating whether the penetration of hybrids into the automotive market in Germany is as profound as often thought. Fundamental to the analysis is the fact of considering mild-hybrids (MHEVs) as petrol and diesel engines rather than as alternative fuel types. This enables Dataforce to track the market penetration of full and plug-In hybrids more precisely, and avoids indicating an unrealistically high hybrid share. The key distinction which sets MHEVs apart from full hybrids, says Dataforce, is that the electric motor lacks the power to propel the car without the thermal engine, not to speak of the tiny battery and other limitations.
The situation in terms of denomination, differs from country to country. In France, Italy, Germany or Norway most cars with an electric motor are considered hybrid regardless of its power and capabilities, while countries such as Belgium, Finland or Sweden treat MHEVs as petrol or diesel in their statistics with some other countries somewhere in between. Dataforce considers only those cars that have an electric motor powerful enough to propel the vehicle without the thermal engine as full hybrids (HEV).
Dataforce uses Germany to illustrate its point. With MHEV counted as Hybrid in Germany and the local brands Audi and Mercedes already offering a broad range of models with this technology, Germany already has a significant penetration of MHEVs. With this factor, German statistics show less than 10% of Audi A8 registrations up to November 2018 as petrol or diesel with 90% designated as hybrid. With Dataforce’s separation of MHEVs, this becomes a 30.2% share for petrol (down by almost 15 percentage points against 2017), a 68.3% share of diesel (up 14 %-pts.) and a few plug-in hybrids.
Translating this into a total market scale for Germany, the hybrid share appears to have leapfrogged from 2.4% in 2017 toward 3.7% in 2018 (YTD November). However, taking out the MHEVS results in a significant slowdown in hybrid growth. Extending its share from 2.2% to just 2.4% is likely to be below expectations for the development of this fuel type, particularly in the light of the diesel crisis.