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European Electric Car Sales Up 85% Year Over Year, Kia Deliveries Constrained By Batteries

Sales of cars with motors account for more than 7% of the European new car market with battery electrics up 85% YOY in May. But access to batteries is constraining sales for some manufacturers, including KIA.

Klaus Frōehlich, head of R&D for BMW, says nobody wants to buy an electric car. Too bad he doesn’t have a subscription to Inside EVs. If he did, he would know that in May electric car sales were up 85% year over year compared to 2018. You would think any automaker would be over the moon with joy to see sales in any segment of the market increase by that amount, but not Klaus. He’s still in a diesel state of  mind.

Photo by Zach Shahan, CleanTechnica

Total car sales in Europe were higher than in any month since May 2007, with SUVs leading the way with a 37.2% market share. Cars with motors, which includes hybrids, accounted for 7.1% of the market with 95,800 sold. Battery electrics were up 85% year over year (YOY), with 22,800 registered by the Renault Zoe. Plug-in sales were actually down 13% YOY at 13,400, led by the evergreen Mitsubishi Outlander. Hybrid sales were up 35% YOY, led by the Toyota RAV4.

KIA Sales Constrained

Want more proof that Europeans are clamoring for electric cars? In Norway, sales of the Tesla Model 3 are booming as Norwegians gobble up all the electric cars they can find. But according to Norwegian news source TU, KIA is notifying reservation holders for Niro Electric and the Soul EV that they will have a longer wait than expected for their cars because the company simply doesn’t have enough batteries available to fill all the orders.

The company says it will be able to deliver no more than 25o Niro Electrics during the rest of 2019 and 2020 isn’t looking much better. The same applies to the newly introduced Soul EV. The Norwegian importer expected to sell about 2,000 of each model this year but now believes only about 800 of each will actually be delivered.

Demand for both cars has been far greater than anticipated throughout Europe, outstripping the company’s battery supply. Many European buyers expect to be able to tow a light duty trailer with their cars, but KIA says the Niro Electric with a tow bar option will not be available until 2020, at the earliest. By contrast, the Tesla  Model 3 with a tow bar can be delivered in less than 2 months time, giving Tesla a significant advantage in the European market.

The message for the Klaus Frōehlichs of the world is that battery electric cars are here to stay and demand is growing quickly in all European markets. What that means for BMW’s ability to survive as an auto manufacturer is anyone’s guess.

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?


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