Renault Zoe Starts 2017 Strong — #1 In Europe, Followed By BMW i3, Nissan LEAF, & VW Passat GTE

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The European EV market had some 19,000 registrations last month, up 31% year over year (YoY), with the Renault Zoe starting the year in the leadership position again.

#1 Renault Zoe – With the ZE40 version finally arriving to selected markets, registrations were up 80% YoY to 2,602 units, jumping straight into the leadership in January. It has already opened up an 800 car lead over the second placed BMW i3. Besides the expected good performance at home (1,646 units), the French hatchback also had good results in Norway (240 units), Germany (180), and Austria (104 units).

#2 BMW i3 – The popular German Stormtrooper model continues to profit from the 33 kWh sales boost, this time with 1,818 units being delivered. Besides the usual boost from Norway, this time with 622 units, other markets where the Bimmer performed well were Germany (388 deliveries, up 160%!), the United Kingdom (210 units), and Austria (94). Interestingly, the fully electric version is outselling the range-extended version on a 3 to 1 ratio. Twelve months ago, most sales belonged to the REx version.

#3 Nissan Leaf – “Hey, remember me?” The old warrior still has an ace up its sleeve, called “Discounts.” While it may be getting long in the tooth, it is currently the only model offering generous discounts, wooing bargain-seeking buyers. In January, it delivered 1,386 units, seeing its sales increase 29% compared to the same month last year. This proves that, besides range, price is also a decisive trump card to win buyers.

#4 VW Passat GTE – The Volkswagen midsize offering had a better-than-expected result, with 1,340 units moved. Record results in Sweden (549 units) and Norway (411) absorbed most of the registrations, but Germany (157 sales) also saw a positive month. With the right mix of electric range, space, power, and price, the Passat GTE is a continuing success among company fleets across Europe.

#5 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – This Japanese SUV started the year on the wrong foot, registering only 1,114 units, down 14% YoY. It failed to deliver in Norway (144 units, worst result in a year) and the United Kingdom (down a harsh 75%). The bright spot was Germany (282 units, best performance in 19 months), but it was unable to balance things. Still, the SUV pulled out a finish in the top five.

Volvo XC90 Up, xxx Down

Below the top five places, the Volvo XC90 PHEV had a surprising 52% jump in sales, to 1,035 units, surging to 6th place, while the #8 BMW 225xe Active Tourer (687 units) continued its positive sales trend and two rising SUVs — the #10 Mercedes GLC350e (629 units, new personal best) and #11 Tesla Model X (586 units, new off-peak record) — confirmed once again what we all have been suspecting — plug-in SUVs are a thing now.

On the losers side, even if the VW Golf GTE performance (406 units, worst performance in 3 years) is excused by the upcoming restyle, its Audi sibling, the A3 e-Tron, does not have any excuse to justify the rather disappointing 385 registrations. Or does it? Is Audi about to increase the battery size of its hatchback plug-in as well? It is based on the same drivetrain. Mmmm…

A relatively hot item is the Hyundai Ioniq Electric. If it weren’t for availability constraints, the Korean would probably already be in the top 10.

In the manufacturer ranking, BMW started where it left off last year — in the leadership position — with 21% share, followed by Renault (15%) in 2nd place and Volkswagen (12%) in 3rd. A surprise follows in 4th place — Mercedes showed up just below the podium with 10% share.

Europe January
Audi A3 e-Tron 385
Audi Q7 e-Tron 376
BMW 225xe Active Tourer 687
BMW 330e 525
BMW i3 1,818
BMW X5 xDrive40e 495
Hyundai Ioniq Electric 474
Kia Soul EV 422
Mercedes C350e 672
Mercedes GLC350e 629
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 1,114
Nissan e-NV200 322
Nissan LEAF 1,386
Renault ZOE 2,602
Tesla Model S 819
Tesla Model X 586
Volvo V60 PHEV 325
Volvo XC90 T8 1,053
Volkswagen Golf GTE 406
Volkswagen Passat GTE 1,340
Others 2,589
TOTAL 19,025

Also see:

US January Electric Car Sales

Europe 2016 Electric Car Sales

Also published on our EV sales page, EV Obsession, and the EV Sales blogspot.

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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 477 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes