Europe Electric Car Sales Update — Japanese SUV & French Compact Car Lead The Pack

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Editor’s Note: I’m happy to announce that José Pontes of and has joined our writing team! José will be writing regular pieces on sales in big EV markets, where he has been working hard to aggregate sales data for years. He will also report from some EV/car events for us, and from “EV excursions” in various countries. I imagine you will enjoy his posts a great deal since they are routinely packed with interesting data as well as fun writing.

I should also give a thanks to the CleanTechnica readers who tipped me off to years ago … but I forget who that was!

Note that this post is simultaneously being published on EV-Sales.blogspot.comCleanTechnica, and EV Obsession.

Outlander PHEV Is Back

The European electric car market had more than 16,000 registrations in March, representing a 28% increase over April 2015, with the market set to surpass 200,000 units by year end.

Looking at the monthly ranking:

Mitsubishi Outlander Plug In Netherlands 5
Photo of Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid in Amsterdam by Zach Shahan for CleanTechnicaEV Obsession. (CC BY-SA)

#1 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – After a slow start, the Outlander PHEV is back at its usual self, winning its second consecutive “Monthly Best Seller” title, with 1,970 units registered across Europe. However, YTD sales are down 12%, meaning that Mitsubishi hasn’t found a way to replace the average 300–400 units/month it had last year coming from the Dutch market. Although growing elsewhere, like Norway and Spain, the Japanese SUV will have a hard time growing sales and remain #1 for a long time.

Photo of Renault Zoe in England by Zach Shahan for CleanTechnicaEV Obsession. (CC BY-SA)

#2 Renault Zoe – In its best sales streak since it arrived on the market back in 2012, April signaled the 8th consecutive time the French hatch sold more than 1,000 units, with 1,959 units in April 2016. With Renault finally trying to actively sell the car, including batteries in the initial price and providing friendly discounts, this is one EV with good prospects in the near future, will it get back to #1 soon?

Nissan Leafs Barcelona
Photo of Nissan LEAFs in Barcelona, Spain, by Zach Shahan for CleanTechnicaEV Obsession. (CC BY-SA)

#3 Nissan Leaf – With the availability bottlenecks of the 30kWh Leaf part of the past, sales of the Japanese hatch were up 77% in April, with 3 out of 4 Leafs belonging to the extended-range version. With 1,860 units registered last month, one wonders for how long the Nissan all-electric model remain on the podium, as longer-range BEVs (new BMW i3 with more range, 2017 Opel Ampera-e…) might sway away buyers from the most common EV in the world.

VW Golf GTE charging
Photo of Volkswagen Golf GTE in Amsterdam, Holland, by Zach Shahan for CleanTechnicaEV Obsession. (CC BY-SA)

#4 VW Golf GTE – Thanks to the Norwegian result (602 units sold there), Volkswagen’s sporty hatch managed to reach positive ground (up 12% YoY) in April, with 1,225 units registered. This recent turn of Norway to PHEVs was fundamental to offset the sales drought in the Netherlands and continue to improve on the model’s 2015 performance.

volkswagen passat gte

#5 VW Passat GTE – The surprise of the month, Volkswagen’s midsize plug-in offering managed to reach the four-digit sales area last month, with 1,012 units registered, a year best. With stringent emission legislation spreading across Europe, many fleet and middle-managers will switch their diesel-burners for this model, flying them through the highway and smashing the accelerator to the ground like their future depended on it. A future best seller?

Top 20 Europe April

Model Sales
1 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 1,980
2 Renault Zoe 1,959
3 Nissan Leaf 1,860
4 Volkswagen Golf GTE 1,290
5 Volkswagen Passat GTE 1,027

YTD Ranking

Looking at the YTD ranking, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is firm at the highest place in the ranking, with two close races behind it. The Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe are running for 2nd place and have only 30 units between them, while the Tesla Model S and VW Golf GTE are fighting for #4, with only 35 units separating them.

If the sprint for #2 is hard to predict, the race for #4 has a foreseeable behavior in the next couple of months: The Golf GTE will surpass the Model S in May, but then in June, the Californian model will make another 2.000-something month and return to the #4 position. It is almost as predictable as the English Premier League used to be….

Talking about Volkswagen, the German brand had a positive month, with the e-Golf up one position to #8, and the Passat GTE did as well, also up one position to #10. In the MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) class, there is an interesting race between the leader, Mercedes B250e (239 units, up one position to #16), and the #20 BMW 225xe Active Tourer, which had a record month, with 292 units.

Looking at the brand ranking, trophy bearer Volkswagen (16%, up 1%) is holding Renault (15% share) at bay, while in 3rd we have Nissan, with 13% (down 1%), trying to keep the #4 Mitsubishi (13%) and #5 BMW (12%) off the podium.

Pl Europe April 2016 % ’15Pl
1 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 1,970 8,376 13 1
2 Nissan Leaf 1,860 7,827 12 5
3 Renault Zoe 1,959 7,797 12 2
4 Tesla Model S 768 4,315 7 4
5 Volkswagen Golf GTE 1,225 4,280 7 3
6 BMW i3 859 3,492 5 6
7 Volvo XC90 T8 953 3,466 5 18
8 Volkswagen e-Golf 690 2,907 4 4


Audi A3 e-Tron

Volkswagen Passat GTE











BMW X5 40e

Mercedes C350e









13 Renault Kangoo ZE 374 1,320 2 13
14 Kia Soul EV 325 1,194 2 10
15 Volvo V60 Plug-In 243 1,145 2 9





Mercedes B250e

Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

BMW 330e

Volkswagen e-Up!

BMW 225xe Active Tourer





















TOTAL 16,323 65,218

Top 20 Europe April YTD

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José Pontes

Always interested in the auto industry, particularly in electric cars, Jose has been overviewed the sales evolution of plug-ins on the EV Sales blog, allowing him to gain an expert view on where EVs are right now and where they are headed in the future. The EV Sales blog has become a go-to source for people interested in electric car sales around the world. Extending that work and expertise, Jose is also market analyst on EV-Volumes and works with the European Alternative Fuels Observatory on EV sales matters.

José Pontes has 447 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes

21 thoughts on “Europe Electric Car Sales Update — Japanese SUV & French Compact Car Lead The Pack

  • What’s going on in the Netherlands? End of incentives?

    • End of incentives for PHEV. Too many plugs who never got plugged in.

  • I would like to see separate tallies for BEV and PHEV. PHEV are only temporary solutions to ease the transition to BEV. And exclude the “me too” plug-ins with a AER of less than 10 miles because these are the cars that give electric cars a bad reputation for incentive grubbers.

    • Eyeballing, it looks as if the BEVs have finally overtaken the PHEVs in Europe. If true, this is big news. It’s happened faster than most expected, and without much of an assist from Tesla.

    • The bold ones are BEVs, but I do have something else coming for you… 😀

  • I expect a boost in sales for France this month, now ICE drivers experience more range anxiety than EV drivers 🙂

      • A strike blocked all fuel distribution for about a week. Gas stations without supply, 10 liter rations per customer for a few days. Mostly over now.

  • What’s up with the Nissan e-NV200? Sales collapse, or treated in a different category as a commercial vehicle? BTW, I hope somebody is tracking these.

    • The e-NV200 is counted, but was kicked outside the Top20 by the BMW 225xe AT, to #21, with 806 sales.

  • I would love if someone did a comparison that shows type, range and price of these cars. It is easy to compare ICE cars as they are all basically the same thing, with electric cars it is misleading to have a ranking of BEV, PHEV and others lumped together.

  • It would be interesting to see the Model 3 reservations in this list as well…even if they are not all going to turn into sales…

  • The way I see it, there is a very large and growing demand for EV’s, but especially here in the US, very little is available to purchase, today. We’re nearing the end of our Chevy Spark EV lease, and the options are: Nissan Leaf or another Spark. All the rest is either hypothetical or pathetical, as in the case of the BMW i3 and the Fiat EV offerings. There might be something at a Ford dealer, but try finding out. All the dealers sales people are utterly clueless regarding this industry and require an hour or more of education, before they can be communicated with, effectively.
    This is like the D Day invasion; A colossal thing is about to happen, most know it’s coming, but few have any idea.

    • Did you check out K Soul ev?

      • I did online but haven’t been to a dealer yet. It’s definitely on our list mainly due to it’s larger battery (28 kwh?) longer range for it’s class 112? miles and cost. The SparkEV, Leaf, Kia, Ford focus or e or whatever their’s is called are all good deals at this time but some are now, or about to, offer some ‘desperation’ lease rates, I’m sure. It will be fast and over fast. After 2016 for example, the Spark EV will not be built again.

  • Why show the same graphic twice (Europe Electric Car Leaders (Top 20)), plus show a table below it which has exactly the same information as the graphic? It would be more useful to show that graphic once and then show how many BEV/PHEV were sold in each country.

    • hey,

      some people definitely like to see the data in chart form and table form. they offer different advantages. hence that.

      the png charts are there in addition to the embedded charts mostly because people can’t easily save/download the embedded ones (which are obviously fun to play with), and also just to be tied directly to the 2 different sections they relate to. but i guess we didn’t make that clear. will try to make that more obvious in the future.

Comments are closed.