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Published on August 27th, 2018 | by Jose Pontes

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Europe’s Electric Car Sales Up 30% In July — #CleanTechnica Report

August 27th, 2018 by  


Nissan Leaf Pushes Forward in Holiday Season

The European passenger plug-in market slowed down a bit to enjoy the holiday season, registering some 27,000 registrations in July. That’s an increase of 30% compared to the same period last year. It pulled the year-to-date count to some 212,000 deliveries (+41% YoY), while the 2018 EV market share remained stable at 2.2%, which, incidentally, was the same market share registered in July.

Last month, BEVs grew faster (+40%) than PHEVs (+22%), but looking at this year’s sales, PHEVs still have the upper hand, with 53% of all plug-in sales.

Looking at Europe’s fuel mix, diesel continues to drop significantly, now having 38% of the total market, its lowest share since 2001, while all other fuels (including CNG, LPG…) are on the rise, profiting from the diesel-fleeing stampede. At this pace, new registrations of diesel-powered vehicles could be virtually dead by 2024–2025.

July is usually the start of the holiday season in Europe, with most models slowing down sales during the summer months, then returning with a bang in September, but it seems the folks at Nissan haven’t got the memo, with the Nissan Leaf scoring in July its best result since March, with over 4,000 deliveries, allowing it to distance itself from its French cousin Renault Zoe.

Top 5 EV Models in Europe

#1 Nissan Leaf — Europe’s best selling PEV model continues to expand its sales, by registering 4,024 units in July, tripling its result in July of last year. With the orders list still to be satisfied in a number of countries, expect the Leaf to continue to be the default #1 throughout the year. With regards to July’s performance, the main markets were Norway (980 deliveries), France (492), Italy (389 units!), and Ireland (305 units!!! — an all-time record for a plug-in vehicle in this market).

#2 Renault Zoe — July’s 1,901 deliveries meant a 13% drop YoY for the French hatchback, making it the second consecutive sales drop. Is the competitively priced Leaf eating into its Renault cousin’s sales? With the automaker promising a production increase in a couple of months, I smell a significant price cut on the Zoe soon. Anyway, regarding July’s individual market performances, the domestic market did the usual heavy lifting, by registering 721 units (-18% YoY). Other significant numbers came from Germany (320 units), Sweden (126, a new record), and Spain (106).

#3 BMW i3 — The German hot hatch’s sales increased (+17% YoY) in July — 1,685 units were delivered across the continent. With the Leipzig factory expected to grow output towards the end of the year, thanks to the upcoming 44kWh version, do not expect the Bavarian carmaker to be worried abouts its quirky looking hatchback’s sales performance. Looking at individual countries, Germany (422 units, 314 of them being BEV) was the largest market for the i3, with Norway (284) and the UK (250) rounding out the i3’s top 3 markets.

#4 Volkswagen e-Golf — The favorite BEV for people who want to keep EV ownership a secret, the inconspicuous e-Golf, had 1,379 registrations, with Norway being once again the backbone of the German hatchback’s demand, with 413 registrations. Norway was followed by Germany (311 units), The Netherlands (182 units, its best result there since January), and Austria (120). With Volkswagen now focusing on developing and getting to market the production version of the ID concept car, do not expect the e-Golf to bother too much the current best sellers in the foreseeable future.

#5 BMW 225xe Active Tourer — This MPV’s deliveries grew 55% in Europe last month, with 1,294 registrations, becoming July’s best selling PHEV, a first for the BMW model. Although impressive, this result had help from the momentary sales slump of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV — the first units of the Outlander’s revised version were delivered in August. Nevertheless, it is a surprising result for the short-range (+/- 30 kms / 18 mi) BMW PHEV, especially when using the currently-not-sexy MPV body. Overall, this highlights the current lack of compact, family-friendly plug-ins in Europe. More proof of that is the fact that in the current top 20, only BMW’s Active Tourer and the Kia Niro PHEV fall into that category.

EV Model July YTD YTD EV Market Share
1 Nissan Leaf 4,024 22,026 10%
2 Renault Zoe 1,901 18,917 9%
3 BMW i3 1,685 12,989 6%
4 VW e-Golf 1,379 11,175 5%
5 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 1,175 10,824 5%
6 VW Passat GTE 1,056 8,439 4%
7 Tesla Model S 576 8,238 4%
8 Volvo XC60 T8 PHEV 687 7,274 3%
9 VW Golf GTE 1,055 7,021 3%
10 Kia Niro PHEV 1,179 6,419 3%
11 BMW 530e 342 6,167 3%
12 Tesla Model X 395 5,998 3%
13 Mercedes GLC350e 525 5,856 3%
14 BMW 330e 615 5,668 3%
15 BMW 225xe Active Tourer 1,294 5,657 3%
16 Smart Fortwo ED 667 5,176 2%
17 Hyundai Ioniq Electric 555 5,126 2%
18 Mini Countryman PHEV 1,009 5,027 2%
19 Porsche Panamera PHEV 561 4,469 2%
20 Kia Soul EV 605 4,132 2%
Others 5,928 45,781 22%
TOTAL 27,213 212,379 100%

Kia Niro PHEV Shines

Looking at the 2018 ranking, the top positions remained the same, with the headlining news being the VW Passat GTE returning to #6. Another big move was the Kia Niro PHEV jumping three positions to #10, thanks to a record 1,179 deliveries that put it at #6 in the July ranking. With a low price (€34,500), usable range (42 km/26 mi EPA), and practical space, the Korean crossover could be a star on the rise in Europe.

Another change in the top 20 was the BMW 225xe Active Tourer climbing two positions to #15, repeating what it had already done in June and thus allowing the German MPV to jump four positions in just two months. Who said MPVs were going out of fashion, eh? Now imagine if the BMW family-friendly model had a decent battery (it currently has a 7.6 kWh, 5.8 kWh-usable battery) and range.

While July hasn’t brought many memorable performances, outside the top 20 there was plenty to talk about. Following on the Kia Niro PHEV’s record performance, its Hyundai cousin, the Ioniq PHEV, registered a personal best result of 575 units, which could mean that the Hyundai-Kia Group is finally getting more battery supply from their providers. And they will surely need it. To get the Kona and Niro BEVs into full production, the Korean group will surely need gigafactories (actual unit of measurement) of batteries.

But the market focus is currently on other segments, with three recent premium SUVs hitting record performances. The Land Rover Range Rover Sport PHEV, besides winning the prize for longest nameplate name, also scored a best ever result of 410 units, while its cousin Jaguar I-PACE registered 199 units, preparing itself to hit full speed by September.

But the Rookie Of The Month was the new Porsche Cayenne PHEV, which in its first full delivery month has already hit 688 units — not only the nameplate’s best result ever, but that means it has immediately outsold its Panamera PHEV sibling. While the sports sedan currently holds the all-time high score for a Porsche PEV model (824 units, set last March), it shouldn’t take long for the SUV to break that record, possibly being the first Porsche to go north of 1,000 units/month.

Now imagine how high the future Taycan can go. Better yet, imagine a BEV Macan!

Looking at the manufacturer ranking, last year’s winner, BMW (17%), is in the lead, while runner-up Volkswagen (13%) is watching #3 Nissan (11%, up 1%) getting closer. Renault (9%) is stable in fourth, ahead of Volvo and Tesla, both with 7%.


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About the Author

Always interested in the auto industry, particularly in electric cars, Jose has been overviewing the sales evolution of plug-ins through the EV Sales blog since 2012, 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 now a partner in EV-Volumes and works with the European Alternative Fuels Observatory on EV sales matters.



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