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VW e-Golf Shines, StreetScooter Work Breaks Into Top 20 (Europe Electric Car Sales Report)

The European passenger plug-in vehicle (PEV) market seems to have reached a turning point, with October growing 56% in comparison to the same period last year, to over 27,000 units. This is the 5th month in the last 6 with +50% growth rates.

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VW e-Golf Shines

The European passenger plug-in vehicle (PEV) market seems to have reached a turning point, with October growing 56% in comparison to the same period last year, to over 27,000 units. This is the 5th month in the last 6 with +50% growth rates.

Looking at the broader picture of the overall automotive market in Europe, we are also watching some seismic changes, with diesel-powered cars dropping 10% year over year (YoY) in October, to 41% market share, while regular gasoline cars are up to 51% and alternative fuel cars (PEVs, HEVs, CNG, etc.) are up to 6% market share.

If we look only at PEV share, October hit 2.1% share, keeping the year-to-date share at a record 1.8%.

October saw a close race between the Renault Zoe and VW e-Golf, decided at the last minute by a photo finish, with the Renault Zoe winning by just 46 units while the VW e-Golf (2,159 units) performed its third personal best score in a row.

Interestingly, the two best selling gas/diesel 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.

Looking at the monthly model ranking:

#1 Renault Zoe — Despite growing 52% YoY, the October performance of the French hatchback was a bit disappointing, scoring 2,205 sales, losing the untouchable status it had in the first half of the year. Considering there is still a waiting list to be filled, Renault could increase production at its Flins factory without major demand problems. Are production constraints to blame? As for performances in individual country markets, despite underperforming in its home market (775 units, down 4%), it broke all records in Spain (554 deliveries) thanks to a carsharing deal, and also collected high numbers in countries like Germany (243 units) and Sweden (119 deliveries, the third straight month of record deliveries).

#2 Volkswagen e-Golf — The range increase of this German hatchback coincided with a massive spike in demand, with record-breaking performances almost every month. Registrations rose to 2,159 last month. With a months-long waiting list, Volkswagen has enough room to continue improving results, and we might even see it win the best seller trophy soon. Will it be in November? Looking at its largest markets, Norway is still the backbone of demand, with a record 1,168 units being delivered there, but Germany (389), Netherlands (184 units, new personal best), Austria (78 registrations), and other markets are helping it along. The e-Golf is now a more spread out vehicle and not just a “Norway thing.” With the sales record (11,170 sales in 2015) set to be broken in November, and Volkswagen announcing production increases to meet demand, expect 2018 to build on this year’s success. Oh, the wonders of increased range…

#3 BMW i3 — The German Hot Hatch was down 4% in October, to 1,687 units, with this drop likely being explained by the current facelift change. With BEVs now representing 74% of all sales, we are very far from the mix of April 2016, when the BEV version represented only 48% of sales. Looking at individual countries, there are no big surprises, with Norway registering 417 units (all BEV) and Germany scoring 332 registrations. Looking ahead, expect deliveries to pick up as BMW starts to deliver its new, facelifted units.

#4 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV — A sure value, the Japanese SUV has seen its sales go up 6% YoY, to 1,494 registrations, with Mitsubishi being one of the few top OEMs to have its sales limited by demand and not production. As such, Mitsubishi is actively promoting its plug-in model, highlighting its unique mix of space, AWD, and electric range (50 km, NEDC), with competitive prices (read: “deep discounts”) as the icing on the cake. This makes him popular in markets like the UK, Norway, Sweden, and Germany. In the long run, 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 Passat GTE — Back in the top 5, VW’s favorite PHEV company car recorded 1,244 units last month. The largest markets for the Passat GTE were Sweden (535 units), Germany (235), and Norway (207). With the right mix of space, electric range, and a familiar badge, expect this model to continue to be a regular here.

YTD Ranking – Volkswagen e-Golf Climbs to #8, StreetScooter Joins Top 20

October didn’t bring many changes to the YTD ranking, with the Renault Zoe remaining stable in the lead and the 2nd place BMW i3 distancing itself from the Nissan LEAF, which is now entering “sunset mode.”

With the Outlander PHEV fewer than 500 units behind, we might even see Mitsubishi’s SUV drop the LEAF to 4th before December.

The first position change from October sales was in the 8th Position, with the VW e-Golf displacing the Tesla Model X. The ever improving German BEV is now aiming for the 5th position by year end, and maybe a podium place next year.

In the second half of the top 20 we see the Golf GTE climb to #13 and the Hyundai Ioniq Electric reach #18.

But the real news is the Streetscooter Work delivery van joining the top 20, having 910 units registered last month. That’s despite being sold in only two markets (Germany and the Netherlands). It is already the best selling model in its category, and it knocked the Nissan e-NV200 off the top 20 list. Is the DHL-owned company starting to be disruptive in the delivery van class?

Looking at the manufacturer ranking, BMW (20%) is comfortably seated at the Iron Throne, followed by Renault (13%) in 2nd place, while a recovery-mode Volkswagen (13%) is closing in, having recovered 1,200 units in October and now being only some 800 units behind the French manufacturer.

Will we see VW reach silver next month?

Off the podium, Tesla (9%) is running ahead of Nissan and Mercedes, both with 8% share.

Europe October YTD Market Share
1 Renault Zoe 2,205 26,143 11%
2 BMW i3 1,687 16,567 7%
3 Nissan Leaf 1,075 15,914 7%
4 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 1,494 15,477 6%
5 Tesla Model S 773 11,365 5%
6 Volkswagen Passat GTE 1,244 10,787 4%
7 Mercedes GLC350e 1,056 10,332 4%
8 Volkswagen e-Golf 2,159 10,091 4%
9 Tesla Model X 616 9,392 4%
10 BMW 225xe 939 8,763 4%
11 BMW 330e 808 8,682 4%
12 Audi A3 e-Tron 587 7,102 3%
13 Volkswagen Golf GTE 947 6,550 3%
14 Volvo XC90 T8 780 6,543 3%
15 Mercedes C350e 436 5,679 2%
16 Hyundai Ioniq Electric 565 4,924 2%
17 BMW X5 xDrive40e 435 4,913 2%
18 Kia Soul EV 583 4,431 2%
19 BMW 530e 697 4,248 2%
20 StreetScooter Work 910 3,633 1%
Others 7,836 50,990 21%
TOTAL 27,832 242,526 100%

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

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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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