Published on February 26th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Top European Countries For 100%-Electric Car Sales & Plug-In Hybrid Electric Car Sales (Charts)

February 26th, 2014 by  

 Originally published on EV Obsession.

I recently wrote a long piece on ABB Conversations regarding electrified vehicle sales in 17 European countries—with a chart for each one. It was a lot of fun and very interesting, but it also made me realize that I never did a ranking of European countries regarding 2013 electrified vehicle sales. So… below are five charts and a little commentary.

This first chart, perhaps a bit too packed, shows total electrified car sales, 100%-electric car sales, and plug-in hybrid car sales for these 17 countries:

Pulling out the bottom 5 countries helps a bit to see things better:

The next chart takes a look at 100% electric car sales only. As is usual, France took the #1 spot here, followed by rather small (population-wise) Norway and auto giant Germany.

And here’s a look at plug-in hybrid electric car sales:

Hmm, the Netherlands crushes it (“thanks” in part to an expiring government incentive for plug-in vehicles). So, let’s have a look at the chart minus the Netherlands:

My overall commentary is that electrified car sales across Europe were quite unbalanced in 2013. There’s a steep drop-off each step down from #1 to #6 in the overall and the 100% electric car sales charts. The plug-in hybrid car sales chart is of course completely whack with the Netherlands included, but it is a bit more balanced than any other chart with the Netherlands removed. Of course, none of this takes into account EV sales as a percentage of total car sales, EV sales per capita, or EV sales relative to anything else. If such a ranking were created, France, Germany, and the UK wouldn’t look as strong. Meanwhile, some of those leading Scandinavian countries as well as Switzerland would look even better than they do above. However, it would be interesting to actually see such charts… (so maybe I’ll get to creating such rankings another day).

It will also be interesting to see how things turn out in 2014. With Volkswagen and BMW bringing some competitive electric cars to market, things might get shifted around quite a bit. Plus, EV costs continue to drop and EV awareness continues to rise, all with rising sales. I’m looking forward to tracking the progress throughout the year and doing next year’s wrap-up pieces!

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Tim Kreukniet

    @johnbrianshannon:disqus high EV sales correlate in all these countries with high fiscal incentives. If you want to have a conversation on EU/NL EV policy please let me know.

    High level of Plug-in in the Netherlands is because Plug-in and EV received the same fiscal incentives up until 2014.

  • CarlosAFL

    Nice article. I recall a conversation with some Dutch colleagues in which they told me that the incentive program for PHEV was mainly earmarked for purchasing Opel Amperas (there are not too many options in that niche market), but they were rather pissed off because at the end of the day, Ampera owners chose to drive in “gas mode”.
    From my experience in Spain, the “chicken and egg” trade-off starts with the question of who is going to pay for the charging infrastructure and what is going to be the final standard (or standards) in those equipments. Of course, high prices for EVs are a deterrant for people buying them (don’t forget that the most common salary in Spain is 15,500 €/year).
    All the best from Madrid.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Ampera owners chose to drive in “gas mode”?

      With the price of gas in Europe drivers are bypassing electricity? That doesn’t smell right.

      • CarlosAFL

        Charging infrastructure, standardization…a lot of things are still more important than electricity price here.

  • tibi stibi

    nice to see my country (the Netherlands) at the number one spot for once (we are terrible at green electricity). and even better because we are only with 17 million much less than France, Germany or the UK. 😀

    and i must say that i see electric chargers popping up a lot in Amsterdam!

  • Great information, Zachary.

    I’m no European policy wonk, but I’ll bet that the countries with high electrified vehicle sales per capita — also have more progressive environmental policies.

    The cost of subsidy programmes in Europe for EV, PHEV, and Hybrid vehicle purchases and zoning changes/subsidy allocations for such things as SuperCharger locations, must be lower than the equivalent gasmobile vehicle + it’s carbon emissions + related health care costs + infrastructure costs due to acid rain + full life-cycle analysis CO2 emissions, per capita.

    Over 25 years, I’m saying that the gasmobile costs individuals, companies and governments (and infrastructure and health care costs too) significantly more than an equivalent EV or PHEV, per capita.

    Can I prove that? No, but I strongly suspect that is the case.

    Perhaps an article idea for you?

    Best regards, JBS

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