Zoe, Leaf, & i3 Lead The Crowd In Europe (Europe Electric Car Sales)

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Zoe #1 in Holiday Season

The European plug-in car market started its usual holiday season in July, down almost a third compared to the previous month (summertime = lower sales). There were some 19,600 registrations. But that is still up 41% regarding the same month last year, so the growth trend continues. Year to date, the market is up 34% this year, with the EV share now standing at a record 1.6%.

Despite being holiday season, the Renault Zoe hasn’t stopped setting the pace. A bit like cyclist Chris Froome, it seems no one can get the Zoe out of the yellow jersey, whatever the month or competition. The French hatchback once again demonstrated a solid lead as the continent’s best seller, while plug-in hybrids took this special time of the year to post a positive month and outsell pure electrics (57% vs 43%). Year to date (YTD), however, BEVs are still ahead — but by fewer than 100 units.

Monthly Model Ranking

#1 Renault Zoe — With orders currently outnumbering production, Renault couldn’t lift the foot off the accelerator too much and enjoy the holiday season, so the Zoe scored 1,919 units, up 68% year over year (YoY). That was enough to easily win the monthly best seller trophy for the 7th time in a row in Europe. Well, that’s all of the 2017 trophies so far. The model saw good news across the continent, with high numbers in Germany (413 units), Norway (250), and Austria (207).

#2 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV — Once king, the Outlander PHEV had a positive month in July, with the Japanese SUV sales growing 4% YoY (to 1,406). Besides the usual strongholds (the UK, Sweden, and Norway), Mitsubishi hit a home run last month in Iceland, scoring 134(!) sales, a new all-time record for a single model in that country. In the long run, though, no one really knows if the Japanese SUV can keep up with the general growing sales trend and stay among Europe’s top sellers.

#3 BMW i3 — The popular German hot hatch was up 73% in July, to 1,287 registrations. The fully electric option represented 71% of all sales. Looking at individual countries, there were no big surprises, with Norway registering 277 units (all of them being fully electric) and its home market, Germany, scoring 325 registrations. Looking ahead, expect deliveries to slow down as people anticipate the revised version, coming later in the year.

#4 Nissan LEAF — The granddaddy of the ranking keeps on scoring four-digit results like it had been launched only a few months ago. Sure, most is thanks to deep discounting, but nevertheless, the ageing hatch is resisting quite well to the newer offerings, growing 18%(!) YoY to 1,128 registrations. With steady sales in its stronghold markets (France, UK, and Norway), and even scoring a record 61 deliveries in Portugal, the veteran model is keeping momentum by appealing to a new demographic — bargain hunters looking for the current best value for money. Were it a new model, I would even say it was the first EV to reach price parity with the ICE competition.

#5 Mercedes GLC350e — This Mercedes plug-in SUV recorded 991 deliveries last month, proving to be the fashionable luxury SUV du jour (nevermind that it only has 34 kilometers of range on the NEDC system, or some 20 kilometers of range in the real world). The important feature here is that it manages to dodge the fiscal system in many countries and gives its owners the benefits of being “environmentally friendly” despite the short electric range (Euro-speak for “compliance car”). But enough bitching. The stylish Mercedes has its largest buyer bases in Norway (295 July sales), Germany (138 July sales), and Belgium (132 July sales). This model is serving for Mercedes as a customer lab experiment, warming them up for the brand’s real game-changer, the 2019 EQ SUV.

Europe July YTD YTD %
1 Renault Zoe 1,919 18,739 12%
2 Nissan Leaf 1,128 12,189 8%
3 BMW i3 1,277 11,501 7%
4 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 1,406 10,708 7%
5 Tesla Model S 547 7,269 5%
6 Mercedes GLC350e 991 6,917 4%
7 VW Passat GTE 627 6,864 4%
8 BMW 225xe 901 6,055 4%
9 Tesla Model X 562 6,021 4%
10 BMW 330e 662 5,614 4%
11 Audi A3 e-Tron 926 4,932 3%
12 Volvo XC90 T8 395 4,309 3%
13 VW e-Golf 410 4,159 3%
14 Mercedes C350e 438 3,882 3%
15 BMW X5 xDrive40e 366 3,638 2%
16 VW Golf GTE 483 3,557 2%
17 Hyundai Ioniq Electric 475 3,051 2%
18 Kia Soul EV 511 2,706 2%
19 Nissan e-NV200 248 2,466 2%
20 Audi Q7 e-Tron 263 2,283 1%
21 Mercedes B250e 251 2,036 1%
22 Mercedes E350e 258 1,769 1%
23 BMW 530e 546 1,731 1%
24 Volvo V60 T8 156 1,677 1%
25 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid 151 1,611 1%
26 Renault Kangoo ZE 80 1,599 1%
27 Volkswagen e-Up! 151 1,539 1%
28 Streetscooter Work 383 1,489 1%
29 MINI Countryman PHEV 452 1,281 1%
30 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid 525 1,213 1%
Others 2,155 11,928 8%
TOTAL 19,643 154,733 100%

YTD Ranking — Zoe Reinforces #1, Nissan LEAF Climbs to #2

Looking at the YTD ranking, the top positions remained stable. The Zoe increased its lead, and the most notable changes were simply the Mercedes GLC350e climbing to the #6 spot and endangering the Tesla Model S’s position at #5.

Another model on the rise was the BMW 225xe Active Tourer, now in #8. By the way, imagine how many more units this model would have if the 7-seat version also had a plug — aside from the low-range Nissan Evalia “van with windows,” no one is selling a regularly priced plug-in 7-seater in Europe. Why, oh why? It’s low-hanging fruit, people. …

In this edition, we’re extending the ranking to a list of the top 30, where we can see more hot sellers bubbling up, like the #23 BMW 530e (546 deliveries in July — only one unit less than the Model S) and the recently arrived Mini Countryman PHEV (452 units) in #29. The British crossover was sandwiched between two models that only share a nationality and the fact that both have a steering wheel and four wheels: The Post Office’s best friend, StreetScooter Work, in #28, and the #30 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid.

But what about the Opel Ampera-e (Chevrolet Bolt in Euro-speak)? Well, the good news is that it is climbing in the ranking. Currently, it’s at #33, but it is crawling up the list at glacial pace, so expect it to reach the top 10 in around … a million years, when the Pangaea supercontinent is back. Maybe.

Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BMW (20%) is comfortably seated on the Iron Throne, followed by Renault (13%, down 1%) in second place. The third spot is being toughly fought by the new bronze medalist Mercedes (11%, up 2%), Volkswagen (10%, down 1%), Nissan, and Tesla (these last two with 9% share).

Will Mercedes be able to race with Renault for the #2 position, or will VW fight back and recover the #3 spot? Don’t miss out the next episodes. We surely won’t.

Cool Kids

Looking at this month’s new models, it’s an all-Volvo edition:

Volvo S/V90 T8 (PHEV) — As typical in Sweden as enjoying some Fika time in the garden, surrounded by IKEA outdoor furniture while bathing in the sunshine of the short Swedish summer, the S90 and V90 finally got plug-in hybrid variations (S90 – Sedan; V90 – Station Wagon). These are Volvo’s top-of-the-range car options, and the twins delivered 204 units in their first full sales month, already outselling the veteran V60 T8. So, expect the S/V90 combo to reach some 400 to 500 units/month once they are in full cruising speed, sales that would put them at the same pace as their class’s best sellers, the Tesla Model S and the German Armada.

Volvo XC60 T8 (PHEV) — A smaller, cuter version of the XC90 PHEV yacht, the midsize SUV registered 138 units in its first full sales month. That’s not a lot, but this model’s potential is enormous — not only does it sit at the heart of the SUV craze, but it also has some good looks (the #1 selling point for luxury SUVs) and an almost usable electric range (thanks to a 10.4 kWh battery, which allows some 45 kilometers of range on the NEDC testing circuit). The successful Mercedes GLC350e will have a worthy competitor here, as, technically, the Swede is the superior model (more power & more electric range). And on the subjective looks department, I believe it to be a stunner. All in all, expect it to reach the GLC350e sales level, which is to say a regular top 10 presence.

Also published on our Electric Car Sales page 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 472 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes