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Renault Zoe Climbs To #1 (Europe Electric Car Sales — June 2016)

(Also published on EV-Sales and EV Obsession.)

The European EV market had more than 17,000 registrations in May, representing just a 1% increase over June 2015. The slowdown in these last couple of months is largely due to fiscal changes in Germany. Nevertheless, the market is set to surpass 200,000 units by year end, possibly even reaching 250,000 units. Let’s look at the monthly ranking….

#1 Renault Zoe

Renault Zoe Side

Despite dropping 3% year over year (YoY) to 2,481 units, the French hatchback is finally fulfilling expectations. With Renault actively selling the car, the Zoe reached the monthly leadership for the third time this year. With the French auto market going into holiday-season mode for the next two months, Germany, Zoe’s second-largest market, will have to make up for the loss. Good thing, then, that a tidal wave of sales is expected there, now that the incentives just kicked in….

#2 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid

Mitsubishi-Outlander-PHEV-black-7

The Japanese SUV’s sales have dropped 12% YoY, to 1,757 units, ending the month in 2nd. Although growing in important markets, like Norway and Sweden, Mitsubishi hasn’t found a way to replace the average 300–400 units/month it had last year in the Dutch market and to stop the sales slowdown in the UK.

#3 Nissan LEAF

Nissan LEAF Taxis

Sales of the Japanese hatch were up 7% in May, to 1,572 units, not that far from the Outlander PHEV, and it has France and Norway to thank for that, where it sells more than half of its volume. The question is: Can it keep up? The LEAF is getting a bit old now, and 250 kilometers of range (NEDC) are not enough to fight longer-range BEVs (the new BMW i3, 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, Opel Ampera-e…) coming soon, so unless something happens, the most common EV in the world will have a hard time in Europe in the next year or so.

#4 Tesla Model S

Model-Ss-charging-Florida

The (not so) surprise of the month, Tesla’s sports-sedan-that’s-actually-a-liftback offered the usual last month of the quarter peak performance, reaching #4, with 1,484 units registered. This is a somewhat disappointing result, considering that, during the last sales peak (March ’16), it delivered 2,380 units, and in June 2015, 2,104 deliveries. Is the Model S becoming passé, now that the Model X is arriving to European shores?

#5 VW Passat GTE

Passat GTE

Thanks to Sweden and Norway, where, combined, it sold 686 units, Volkswagen’s midsize offering reached the 5th Position in June, with 1,117 units sold, its best score this year. With the right mix of space, practicality, low carbon emissions and power, the Passat GTE is destined for success as a company car for middle managers across Europe, something that could only be realized by the new incentives in Germany. Will we see the Passat GTE reach the podium this summer?

YTD Ranking

Looking at the YTD ranking, the Renault Zoe has finally risen to the leadership position, dropping the Outlander PHEV to the 2nd Position, but not all is bad news for the Japanese SUV. Despite the #3 Nissan Leaf being only 249 units behind, there are no short-term prospects for the Nissan hatch to outrun it — unless, of course, there is some unexpected wizardry coming from Nissan in the final months of the year.… (wink, wink)

If the podium positions are open to discussion, the apparent race for #6 will no longer exist in the coming months, with BMW presumably delivering a tsunami of i3s soon, enough to recover the #6 and even put pressure on the underperforming #5 VW Golf GTE, affected by its Passat GTE sibling’s success.

While the revised i3 hasn’t yet arrived, BMW already has its hands full with its recent rollout of PHEVs. The 330e has risen to #13, thanks to 497 units sold in June, while the 225xe Active Tourer joined the top 20 when it arrived in #14, thanks to a personal record of 484 units in June. Expect these two to continue rising in the ranking it the second half of the year.

For some models to climb, others have to come down, so we are giving a few lines on them. In regards to 2015, the Volvo V60 Plug-in has dropped eight places to #17. This falls into the logic of things, given the increase of competition (BMW 330e, Mercedes C350e, VW Passat GTE …). It’s essentially the same story for the six-position drop of the #10 VW e-Golf (competition including the Nissan Leaf 30 kWh, the upcoming Tesla Model 3, the confusingly named Opel Ampera-e…). The four-position drop of the #11 Audi A3 e-Tron is harder to understand, as it hasn’t got any direct new rival this year.

Looking at the manufacturer ranking, the trophy bearer, Volkswagen (16%), has lost some advantage over Renault (15%, up 1%), while the increasingly menacing BMW (13%) has risen to 3rd, dropping Nissan (12%, down 1%) to 4th.

With the 33 kWh BMW i3 coming soon, expect the Bavarian brand to continue winning market share and even possibly becoming the best-selling plug-in automaker in Europe.

Europe (full electrics in blue) June YTD
Audi A3 e-Tron 451 3,360
BMW 225xe Active Tourer 484 2,012
BMW 330e 497 2,333
BMW i3 573 4,886
BMW X5 xDrive40e 415 2,572
Kia Soul EV 385 1,888
Mercedes B250e 304 1,587
Mercedes C350e 808 4,305
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 1,757 11,176
Nissan LEAF 1,572 10,927
Porsche Cayenne Plug-In 222 1,439
Renault Kangoo ZE 413 1,950
Renault Zoe 2,418 11,872
Tesla Model S 1,484 6,834
Volvo V60 Plug-In 273 1,614
Volvo XC90 T8 768 4,995
Volkswagen e-Golf 516 3,904
Nissan e-NV200 / Evalia 268 1,416
Volkswagen Golf GTE 724 5,694
Volkswagen Passat GTE 1,117 4,635
TOTAL 17,259 98,788
 
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Written By

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.

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