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Electric Vehicle Sales Jump 67% In Europe — CleanTechnica EV Sales Report

The European passenger plug-in vehicle market achieved over 33,000 registrations in January, growing 28% compared to the same period last year, but don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s business as usual in Europe.

Renault Zoe Starts in the Lead

The European passenger plug-in vehicle market achieved over 33,000 registrations in January, growing 28% compared to the same period last year, but don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s business as usual in Europe. We are witnessing the fall from grace of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), which have been experiencing consecutive losses since the new WLTP-rules enforcement. On the other hand, fully electric vehicles (BEVs) have been flourishing. In the first month of 2019, all-electrics jumped 67% year over year (YoY), to almost 21,000 deliveries. They are now responsible for 62% of all plug-in vehicle (PEV) sales, leading to a record 1.7% EV share. Adding PHEVs to the tally, the PEV market share jumps to 2.8%, already above the 2.5% result of 2018!

And this is before the Tesla Model 3 tsunami…

The big news in the top positions is the Hyundai Kona EV jumping to #6, with a record 2,263 deliveries, no doubt proof of the popularity of the Korean crossover across the continent (and world). Now, all Hyundai needs to do is find enough batteries to fulfill demand.

Looking at the monthly model ranking:

#1 Renault Zoe – The Zoe’s 3,340 deliveries in January signaled the French hatchback’s return to the leadership position, with deliveries up 79% YoY. Now, with no production constraints, one should see if demand continues as strong for the current generation, once the much improved “new” Zoe is shown to the world at the Geneva Motor Show. As for individual country performances, the Zoe continues to be as popular as ever in its domestic market (1,496 registrations, +136% YoY), and there also were positive numbers in Germany (799 units), Sweden (239 units), and The Netherlands (237 deliveries, a new record).

#2 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – Dependable and always fit for service, the Japanese SUV started this year’s race in 2nd, thanks to 2,983 registrations, with the Mitsubishi model continuing to be popular in Scandinavia (456 units in Sweden, 415 in Norway) and elsewhere, as several three-digits performances (Germany, France, Spain, UK…) can attest. This is a popular nameplate, due to its mix of utility, space, decent electric range, and (relative) affordability. In the long run, one wonders how much damage the recent BEV push will make. Although, with no direct BEV competitor in sight, the Mitsubishi model can still rack up sales without major worries.

#3 Nissan Leaf – Europe’s 2018 Best Seller and the most common plug-in car in the world started the year in 3rd, possibly giving first signs that its audience is already waiting for the 62 kWh version. Considering that the new version will only be available across the Continent in in the beginning of the summer, Nissan will have to pull some rabbits out of the hat (as in, nice discounts) to continue at a steady pace. Nevertheless, by registering 2,899 units in January, the Nissan hatchback showed that it can still move a significant level of stock, with the main markets being Norway (673 deliveries), France (341), and The Netherlands (396).

#4 BMW i3 – The German Stormtrooper Hatchback’s sales were up 33% in January, to a near-record 2,489 units, with the BMW pocket rocket benefitting from the age-old formula “bigger battery = bigger sales.” Looking at individual countries, Norway (619 units) and Germany (703) were the highlights, but France (229), The Netherlands (112), and Austria (106), were also significant markets for the BMW nameplate. Looking further into 2019, expect deliveries to remain relatively stable in the coming months, as the Tesla Model 3 could steal some growth potential but won’t be enough to put its sales in the red.

#5 Volkswagen e-Golf – Remember the time when saying “e-Golf” was synonymous with “Norway?” Not any more. Despite Norway still being one of the largest markets (666 units) for the e-Golf, the German BEV’s deliveries are now more balanced, having scores 746 registrations at home, and The Netherlands also posting a big three digit-performance (653). So, the 2,442 units registered in January were more evenly spread out than in the past. It remains to be seen how the e-Golf will resist to the arrival of newer, more competitive models, while at the same time, it will have to deal with the Osborne effect of the much-hyped VW ID Neo/ID3 /whatever it will be called.

Rank Model January Share of PEV Sales
1 Renault Zoe 3,340 10%
2 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 2,983 9%
3 Nissan Leaf 2,899 9%
4 BMW i3 2,489 7%
5 VW e-Golf 2,442 7%
6 Hyundai Kona EV 2,263 7%
7 Volvo XC60 T8 PHEV 1,615 5%
8 Hyundai Ioniq Electric 1,096 3%
9 Mini Countryman PHEV 1,093 3%
10 BMW 530e 954 3%
11 Kia Niro PHEV 935 3%
12 Smart Fortwo ED 879 3%
13 Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV 878 3%
14 BMW 225xe Active Tourer 856 3%
15 Kia Niro EV 672 2%
16 LR Range Rover Sport PHEV 665 2%
17 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV 522 2%
18 Kia Soul EV 520 2%
19 Volvo S/V90 PHEV 438 1%
20 Audi e-Tron 431 1%
+ Others 5,461 16%
ALL TOTAL 33,431 100%

Looking elsewhere in the ranking, besides the #6 position of the hot Hyundai Kona EV, we should also mention the 68% sales jump of the #7 Volvo XC60 PHEV, to a record 1,615 units. Additionally, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric joined the Top 10, in #8, highlighting one if this year’s trends: The rise to power of the Korean models. We now have 6 Koreans(!) in the top 20 — 3 from Hyundai and 3 from Kia.

Volvo also has reasons to smile. Not only is the Volvo XC60 PHEV beating records, but its larger sibling XC90 PHEV is also on the up, having gotten 878 deliveries in January, its best result in 22 months. And the S/V90 PHEV twins jumped into the top 20, in #19, making 3 Volvos in this ranking. This is especially surprising when one thinks that the Swedish brand still hasn’t joined the now fashionable BEV bandwagon.

In #20, we find the Audi e-tron. Despite being still in demo mode, it is already on the best sellers radar, giving reason to expect big success for the 10,000+ waiting list of the Audi electric SUV.

Looking at the manufacturer ranking, there are some interesting duels. Last year’s winner, BMW (14%), is already in the lead, followed by Hyundai (12%), which came out of nowhere to #2, while Renault and Nissan are racing for the last place on the podium, both with 10% share.

Just off the medal podium, Mitsubishi and Volvo, both with 9%, are on the lookout for an opportunity to join the leader trio.

Top photo by Jos Olijve for CleanTechnica

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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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