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Tesla = #1 And #3 In Near-Record Month (Europe Electric Car Sales)

The European passenger plug-in market returned from the holiday season with fully charged batteries, growing almost a third (+32%) compared to the same period last year by registering some 33,700 units. That’s just a whisker below the all-time record of December 2015 (33,827), which, let’s not forget, was inflated by fiscal changes that happened in the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark in January 2016.

The European passenger plug-in market returned from the holiday season with fully charged batteries, growing almost a third (+32%) compared to the same period last year by registering some 33,700 units. That’s just a whisker below the all-time record of December 2015 (33,827), which, let’s not forget, was inflated by fiscal changes that happened in the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark in January 2016.

This growth is even more significant against the backdrop of a stagnating (-2%) automotive market in Europe, making plug-ins the fastest growing segment on the Old Continent.

Looking at the plug-in vehicle (PEV) share, September hit a record 2.2% share, pulling the year-to-date share further up, now at 1.8%.

In September, Tesla had its usual last-month-of-quarter peak performance, but this time the tide was higher than usual, with the Model S registering its best result in 18 months, stealing for the first time this year the best seller award from the Renault Zoe. At the same time, the Model X scored a record result, all while the VW e-Golf performed its third personal best in just four months.

Interestingly, the two best-selling ICE models in Europe (VW Golf and Renault Clio) have their plug-in counterparts (e-Golf and Zoe) reaching the top 5. Expect this to become a trend, once more and more mainstream buyers — more risk-averse — join the EV market.

Monthly Model Ranking

#1 Tesla Model S — It had been 30 months since the last time the Californian wore the Best Seller scepter in Europe, but September brought boatloads of the Model S to Europe — in consequence, deliveries were up 50% in September, to 2,527 units, thus winning the month.

It appears the Model 3 reveal not only didn’t hurt sales, but actually helped it, as many buyers preferred to not wait and instead bought the older and more luxurious model. Looking at individual countries, Norway’s contribution is undisputed (1,007 deliveries, best result in over two years), but the Netherlands (310 deliveries, best result in 18 months) and Germany (226 deliveries) were also heavy contributors in what was a generally positive month throughout the continent for the sports sedan. Looking ahead, expect deliveries to return to more regular levels — that is, unless Norway does put forward the “Tesla Tax.”

#2 Renault Zoe — The French hatchback had a rather disappointing September month, growing only 23% YoY, to 2,306 units. For the first time this year, it lost the Best Seller of the Month trophy. Deliveries were expected to be higher, especially considering there is a 3–4 month waiting list to be filled, so there is room for Renault to increase production. As for individual market performances, besides the usual good result at home (1,267 units, up 56%), there were also high numbers in countries like Germany (278 units) and Sweden (113 deliveries, new record).

#3 Tesla Model X — The Ugly Duckling of the Tesla stable had an opportunity to shine in September, growing 42% YoY to 2,137 units and ending the month on the podium. With record sales in important markets like Norway (996 deliveries) and the Netherlands (244), the SUV-minivan-that-thinks-it’s-a-sports-car is profiting from incoming improvements (e.g., second- and third-row seats are now foldable …) and might start to leave the long shadow of the Model S older brother.

#4 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV — The Japanese SUV’s sales were down 11% YoY, to 2,080 registrations, but despite this setback, the Mitsubishi model continues to profit from its unique mix of space, AWD, range (50 km on the NEDC), and affordability (€40,000). That combo makes him popular in markets like the UK, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Germany. In the long run, however, it is not certain that the Japanese SUV can keep up with the general growing sales trend and stay among Europe’s top sellers.

#5 Volkswagen e-Golf — The range increase of the German hatchback coincided with a massive spike in demand, with record-breaking performances almost every month, pulling registrations up to 2,041 deliveries last month. With a 4-month-long waiting list, Volkswagen has enough breathing room to continue improving its results, and we might even see it win the Best Seller trophy soon. Will it be in October?

Looking at its largest markets, Norway is still the backbone of demand, with 949 units being delivered there, but with Germany (494, new record), Netherlands (121 units, new personal best), and Austria (111 registrations, again a new record), and other markets helping it along, the e-Golf is set to become a more spread out vehicle and not just a “Norway thing.” With 2016 sales (6,678 units) already surpassed and the record (11,170 sales, in 2015) not that far off, 2017 will surely be the best year ever for the all-electric Golf. Oh, the wonders of increased range…

YTD Ranking – BMW i3 Recovers 2nd Place, Teslas & e-Golf Shine

There’s a lot to talk about in the YTD ranking. While the Renault Zoe remained stable in the lead, the remaining positions had plenty of changes, starting with the BMW i3 (2025 units, best month since March) recovering the Silver medal from the Nissan LEAF, now entering this model year’s “sunset phase.”

With the Outlander PHEV less than a thousand units behind, we might even see Mitsubishi’s SUV drop the LEAF to 4th before December.

Other models on the rise are the Tesla Model S & X, with the first climbing to #5 and the second to #8, while the VW e-Golf joined the Top 10 at #9 and could reach as high as the #6 position by year end — and maybe even a podium place next year.

In the second half of the top 20, we see the VW Golf GTE and Volvo XC90 PHEV hitting year-best performances, and a hot seller is bubbling up, with the #29 BMW 530e (679 registrations) climbing one position and looking to climb a few more in the future.

Outside the ranking, the Streetscooter Work delivery van deserves a special mention, having registered 852 units in September, thus becoming the best selling model in its category that month. Is the DHL-owned company starting to be disruptive in the delivery van class?

Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BMW (20%) is seated at the Iron Throne, followed by Renault (13%, down 1%) in 2nd place, while a recovery-mode Volkswagen (13%, up 1%) is now firmly in 3rd place, less than 2000 units behind the French manufacturer. Will we see VW reaching silver next month?

Europe September YTD EV Market% Share
Renault Zoe 2,306 23,938 11%
BMW i3 2,025 14,825 7%
Nissan LEAF 1,387 14,809 7%
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 2,080 13,963 7%
Tesla Model S 2,526 10,580 5%
VW Passat GTE 1,264 9,520 4%
Mercedes GLC350e 1,191 9,260 4%
Tesla Model X 2,136 8,774 4%
VW e-Golf 2,041 7,915 4%
BMW 330e 1,289 7,862 4%
BMW 225xe Act. Tourer 1,196 7,804 4%
Audi A3 e-Tron 856 6,495 3%
Volvo XC90 T8 930 5,735 3%
VW Golf GTE 976 5,568 3%
Mercedes C350e 782 5,231 2%
BMW X5 xDrive40e 547 4,476 2%
Hyundai Ioniq Electric 552 4,352 2%
Kia Soul EV 502 3,829 2%
BMW 530e 679 3,508 2%
Nissan e-NV200 379 3,279 2%
Others 8,072 42,424 18%
TOTAL 33,716 214,147 100%

Also published on EV Obsession’s Electric Car Sales page.

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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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