Tesla Model 3 Lands With A Bang In France — CleanTechnica EV Sales Report

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The French plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) passenger car market had 4,178 registrations in February, up 32% year over year (YoY), with all-electric models growing faster than plug-in hybrids (+46% vs +16%). A big portion of this growth came from the landing of the Tesla Model 3, which had 401 deliveries last month, but even discounting the “Model 3 effect,” full-electrics grew 26%, a positive sign that the Model 3 isn’t stealing sales from other electric cars but from its gas/diesel competitors.

Also, most people in Europe would not switch from a €35,000 LEAF to a €60,000 Model 3 … and even people who buy the expensive BMW i3 indicate they would not dump it for a Tesla. … As they would instead buy both, one for the city/commutes and the other for weekend trips.

This overall result placed the 2019 PEV share at 2.6%, with fully electric vehicles (BEVs) alone having 1.7% market share.

Top Selling EV Models in France

Looking at last month’s best sellers, the Renault Zoe sales surge seems to have plateaued (+4%), with 1,197 registrations in February (#38 in the mainstream market), while the main reason for BEVs to shine came in 2nd place, where the Tesla Model 3 landed with 401 deliveries. If those not familiar with this market might feel this is not a disruptive result — after all, the Californian remained far from the leader Zoe — note that this event in France is like the Audi e-tron landing in the US market straight in the runner-up spot. Amazing and unlikely, right? Right. That’s how big this is.

Elsewhere, the usual silver medalist, the Nissan LEAF, this time had to be content with the last place on the podium, thanks to 326 sales. The Volvo XC60 PHEV had its second record month in a row, registering 284 units and confirming its status as the preferred PHEV beyond French borders.

Another interesting event was the Kia Niro EV reaching the 5th spot in February, thanks to a record 253 deliveries, confirming the popularity of this model throughout Europe. If only Kia had enough batteries to satisfy demand…

Rank in February Model February Sales  
1 Renault Zoe 1,197
2 Tesla Model 3 401
3 Nissan LEAF 326
4 Volvo XC60 PHEV 284
5 Kia Niro EV 253

In a market known for its stability, this time there were a number of changes in the top positions in the year-to-date rankings, with the Volvo XC60 PHEV climbing two positions and reaching the podium (#3), while another popular PHEV, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, was also up, to #5.

The Tesla Model 3 landed in #7, and is set to reach the runner-up spot in the next couple of months, while another recently introduced long-range BEV, the Kia Niro EV, was up to #6.

Confirming Kia’s good moment, the Niro PHEV jumped 4 spots, to #14. The best selling Hyundai, the Kona EV, is at #11.

In the brand ranking, Renault (32%, down 4%) continues to hold the leading position, followed at a distance by #2 Volvo (10%) and #3 Nissan (8%, -1%).

Tesla Model 3 & the ICE competition

Rank Model Sales  
1 Peugeot 508 846
2 Mercedes C-Class 804
3 Mercedes E-Class 479
4 Renault Talisman 437
5 Tesla Model 3 401

One of the question marks around the Tesla Model 3 in Europe, regarding the impact that it is going to have on this side of the Atlantic, is whether it will disrupt the PEV and ICE sedan market in the same way that it is doing in the US, or will it be more subdued, because it is playing away from home?

The answer is now starting to be written. Comparing the Model 3’s French deliveries in its first month on the market against its most direct competitors, we can see that the Californian still has a lot of room to grow. One could imagine the Tesla midsizer reaching some 800 units/month once the Standard Range version(s) arrive.


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José Pontes

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.

José Pontes has 472 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes