French EV Sales Up 34% In May 2019

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The French plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market scored 4,051 registrations in May, up 34% year over year (YoY), with fully electric cars (+36%) growing faster than plug-in hybrids (30%). All-electric cars (BEVs) represented 71% of all plug-in sales.

This growth is even more significant when we realize that the overall auto market remained stagnant (+1%). This result placed the 2019 PEV share (so far) at 2.5%, with BEVs alone having 1.8% share.

Looking at last month’s best sellers, Renault Zoe’s sales were up 23%, hitting 1,331 units, an impressive performance. This is especially notable considering the heavily revised Zoe Neo is just a couple of months away, as are the electric versions of the Peugeot 208 and Opel Corsa, while the much hyped VW ID.3 is not that far away either.

Elsewhere, the Tesla Model 3 recovered its natural place in the French market, the runner-up spot, with 321 deliveries, but what people really want to know is — will the Tesla sports sedan be able to reach another 1,000+/month performance in June or were the 1,153 units of March a freak event? Discuss.

While others go up, others come down, and the previous #2, the Nissan Leaf, dropped to 4th. The Japanese hatchback desperately needs a shot of success from the 62 kWh version, or else the Nissan model will just fade away as the New Kids on the Block (see the note two paragraphs above) land and remove it from a top 5 spot.

Finally, the BMW i3 closed out the top 5 in May thanks to 160 deliveries, with the German hot hatch career proving to be as rust-free over time as its carbon-fiber body.

Rank Model May Sales  
1 Renault Zoe 1,331
2 Tesla Model 3 321
3 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 223
4 Nissan Leaf 172
5 BMW i3 160

In a market known for its stability, this time there were actually a number of changes, even if there was none at the top. The main news was the BMW i3 climbing to #6, putting 5 BEVs in the top 6 positions. Holding on strong, the Outlander PHEV is once again the only PHEV able to sell at the same pace of the best selling BEVs in Europe.

Interestingly, the remaining changes only benefited PHEVs, with the biggest climber being the Kia Niro PHEV, which jumped to #13, in another good month for the Korean brands, which was also highlighted by the 77 deliveries of the #19 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV, its best result in over a year.

On the second half of the ranking, the BMW 225xe Active Tourer was up one spot, to #16, while the Mercedes-Benz E300e/de twins keep on climbing up the steps, up one position to #17. A good sign for the Mercedes EQC? Well, I would say that the success of the new fully electric Mercedes will depend more on the German automaker’s ability (willingness?) to produce the SUUV in volume. Demand should be fairly strong.

A final mention goes out to the most surprising result of the month, the Porsche Panamera PHEV scoring 102 registrations in May, a performance that is especially surprising since the all-electric Taycan is just a few months away.

Rank Model May 2019 2019 EV Market Share
1 Renault Zoe 1,331 7,032 30%
2 Tesla Model 3 321 2,126 9%
3 Nissan Leaf 172 1,641 7%
4 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 223 1,183 5%
5 Kia Niro EV 152 1,092 5%
6 BMW i3 160 1,010 4%
7 Volvo XC60 PHEV 82 950 4%
8 Mini Countryman PHEV 156 788 3%
9 Smart Fortwo ED 78 685 3%
10 Volvo XC90 PHEV 117 681 3%
11 Hyundai Kona EV 141 669 3%
12 LR Range Rover Sport PHEV 102 571 2%
13 Kia Niro PHEV 112 389 2%
14 LR Range Rover PHEV 60 382 2%
15 Peugeot iOn 32 318 1%
16 BMW 225xe Act. Tourer 72 300 1%
17 Mercedes E300e/de 65 292 1%
18 Citroen C-Zero 58 286 1%
19 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV 77 271 1%
20 VW e-Golf 28 219 1%
+ Others 512 2,213 10%
= TOTAL 4,051 23,098 100%

In the brand ranking, Renault (30%), continues in the leading position, while Tesla (10%) is in the 2nd spot. Volvo, Nissan (both with 8%), and Kia (7%) are meanwhile in a tight race for the podium.

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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 443 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes