London — Global light duty plug-in electric vehicle sales dropped 3% in December but full-year data showed a year-on-year increase of 9%, according to the latest research from S&P Global Platts Analytics.
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Global PEV sales remained in positive territory — up 9% at 2.21 million sold, but China remained a bugbear.
"The Chinese plug-in EV market continues to struggle after a jarring mid-year subsidy rollback, falling 18% year on year in December," the report said. "The US also saw continued backsliding with 26% year-on-year declines across the fourth quarter of 2019."
However, there was some respite to the China tax breaks, with the country signaling it remains actively supportive of the EV industry, after announcing earlier this year that it wouldn't yet cut subsidies completely, going against its previous messaging.
Since the inception of subsidies in 2010, China has been gradually tweaking and tapering, with a view to phasing out subsidies completely in 2020. To qualify for any tax break currently, a vehicle most be able to travel at least 250 km on one charge.
It is now understood that current subsidies will be stable throughout 2020.
"In contrast to other major PEV markets, EU plug-ins continue a bull run, up a staggering 107% year on year [full year] with the Netherlands leading the pack (up 270% year on year) due to an increase in January 2020 PEV-taxation hike. Moving into 2020 we anticipate continued strength in the EU market, supported by strong emissions regulations," the report said.