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Published on September 29th, 2018 | by Jose Pontes

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The Porsche Cayenne PHEV Soars To #3 In Europe, Electric Car Sales Up 42%

September 29th, 2018 by  


The European passenger plug-in market grew slightly above average last month (42% in August vs 41% year to date). The continent registered some 30,000 plug-in cars, pulling the year-to-date (YTD) count to some 242,000 deliveries and pushing the 2018 market share to 2.3%. For the month of August, the market share was 2.7%.

Note: Porsche Cayenne PHEV = #3 in August, with 1,848 registrations, but not in this chart because it is not in the top 20 for year-to-date sales.

Last month, fully electric cars (BEVs) grew slower than plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) — +35% versus +47% — with plug-in hybrids catching some tailwind from August being the last month of the CO2-friendly NEDC standard. That allowed PHEVs to grow their share to 56% of plug-in sales, +2% compared to the total year breakdown (46% BEV, 54% PHEV).

August is holiday season in Europe, with most models slowing down sales during the summer months and then returning with a bang in September, but it seems the folks at Porsche had to take their vacations at another time, as both of their plug-in models hit record sales. The Panamera PHEV scored 850 registrations, narrowly beating the Tesla Model S (832), while the recently introduced second-generation Cayenne PHEV had 1,848 deliveries, skyrocketing it to the August podium in only its second month on the market. Is it a case of veni, vidi, vici for the Cayenne, or has it been simply a case of a pre-WLTP sales rush? To be continued…

Looking at the monthly model ranking:

Nissan LEAF 2018

#1 Nissan Leaf — Europe’s best selling plug-in car model continues to expand its sales, registering 2,924 units in August. That triples its result at this time last year. With the order list still to be satisfied in a number of countries, expect the Leaf to continue to be the default #1 throughout the year. In August, the main market was by far Norway (1,241 deliveries), but several other markets reached triple-digit performances, such as France, Netherlands, Germany, UK, Sweden, Portugal, and Ireland. That’s a lot of triple-digit markets!

#2 Renault Zoe — The August 2,213 deliveries meant just 7% growth year over year (YoY) for the French hatchback. With stagnant sales this year, I smell a significant price cut on the Zoe coming soon … especially since the automaker promises a production increase in a few months. Anyway, regarding individual market performances in August, the domestic market did the usual heavy lifting, by registering 571 units. Other significant numbers came from Germany (421 units), Norway (386, a year best), Sweden (155, a new record and for the second time in a row), and Denmark (111, a year best).

#3 Porsche Cayenne PHEV — This SUV’s deliveries reached an amazing 1,848 units, in only its second month on the market, becoming not only August’s best-selling PHEV but also its 3rd place podium bearer. Both titles are a first for any Porsche model. Although impressive, this result might have had help from the pre-WLTP sales rush, but this will be something we will only be sure about in a couple of months. Nevertheless, it is a surprising result for the high-end SUV, especially since it’s a model that has just landed. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this performance is that several markets contributed to it, with four countries (Germany, France, Norway, and Spain) delivering triple-digit results. Other smaller markets also contributed with relevant numbers, like Austria (53 units), Finland (81), and Switzerland (67).

#4 BMW i3 — The German hot hatch watched its sales increase yet again (+46% YoY) in August, with 1,675 units being delivered. Its Leipzig factory is expected to grow output towards the end of the year, thanks to the upcoming 44 kWh version and limited supplies compared to demand globally. Do not expect the Bavarian carmaker to be worried about its quirky-looking hatchback’s sales performance in the coming year. Looking at individual countries, Norway was the largest market in August for the BMW hot hatch, with 473 registrations. Though, Germany (412 units, 282 of them BEV) was closely following it.

Viktor Irle, Roger Atkins (lying down), Jose Pontes (me), and Afeez Alade-Kolawole. Photo by Zach Shahan

#5 Volkswagen Passat GTE — The favorite PHEV company car in Europe had its best month since 2016, with 1,636 registrations. Again, that sales boost was probably connected to the WLTP change, with Sweden absorbing a large portion of it (676 registrations, a new record), but also with strong results in Norway (298) and Germany (328). A model made to keep fleet managers happy, the Passat GTE has the right mix of space (including offering a station wagon design), range, and price to keep selling well in markets where company cars are a large part of the market.

EV Model August YTD YTD PEV Market Share
1 Nissan Leaf 2,924 24,539 10%
2 Renault Zoe 2,213 21,127 9%
3 BMW i3 1,675 14,664 6%
4 VW e-Golf 1,457 12,489 5%
5 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 1,080 12,132 5%
6 VW Passat GTE 1,636 10,036 4%
7 Tesla Model S 832 9,069 4%
8 VW Golf GTE 1,163 8,114 3%
9 Volvo XC60 T8 PHEV 462 7,835 3%
10 Kia Niro PHEV 971 7,254 3%
11 BMW 225xe Active Tourer 1,408 7,055 3%
12 BMW 330e 1,316 6,939 3%
13 Tesla Model X 600 6,602 3%
14 Mercedes GLC350e 495 6,530 3%
15 BMW 530e 353 6,412 3%
16 Hyundai Ioniq Electric 617 5,741 2%
17 Mini Countryman PHEV 726 5,673 2%
18 Smart Fortwo ED 589 5,622 2%
19 Porsche Panamera PHEV 850 5,306 2%
20 Kia Soul EV 738 4,870 2%
Others 7,844 54,050 22%
TOTAL 29,949 242,059 100%

Note: Porsche Cayenne PHEV = #3 in August, with 1,848 registrations, but not in this table because it is not in the top 20 for year-to-date sales.

BMW PHEVs Shine

Looking at the 2018 ranking, the top positions remained the same, with the headlining news being the VW Golf GTE climbing to #8 thanks to a year best 1,163 registrations — pre-WLTP fever? The BMW’s 225xe Active Tourer and the 330e did even better, with the first shooting up to #11 while the second jumped two positions to #12, a surprising performance for the sedan, with the 1,316 units representing its best result in 15 months, something that can only be explained by the Pre-WLTP sales rush.

Elsewhere, another plug-in hybrid from the BMW Group climbed positions. The Mini Countryman PHEV reached #17 thanks to 726 deliveries.

Besides the thundering arrival of the Porsche Cayenne PHEV, there are other models outside the top 20 that deserve some attention, and we start with the most promising of them. The Hyundai Kona BEV had its first real delivery month in Europe in August, registering 455 units, not as many as we (and thousands of reservation owners) would have wished, but … it’s a start.

The Jaguar i-Pace continues to not ramp up deliveries (86 last month), although it has been said that significant volumes are expected in September. And the Chinese JAC delivered its first units of its iEV7S crossover in Europe, namely in Norway and Belgium. They are coming…

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%) with a close eye. Renault (8%) is in a distant 4th, just ahead of Tesla (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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