Plug-In Vehicles = 7.8% Market Share In Europe

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After a Covid-derived drop in April (-16% year over year), the European passenger plug-in vehicle market went back to black in May, having scored 46,800 registrations (+23%), a great performance considering the overall market is still recovering (-57% in May). That placed last month’s plug-in vehicle share at 7.5% share (3.8% fully electric), leaving the 2020 plug-in vehicle share at 7.8% (4.3% for full-electrics alone). That is more than doubling the 3.6% result of 2019.

Will we see Europe’s plug-in market share end 2020 in double digits? Now that would be something to write about. …

With May representing a transition month, as supply chains recover from the lockdowns, the Renault Zoe was last month’s best seller, profiting from the lack of fresh units of the Tesla Model 3.

Interestingly, we have a 100% electric top 5 in May, this being only the second time it has happened this year.

#1 Renault Zoe — The 3,712 deliveries in May signal the return to form from the French hatchback, with the Renault EV winning its 3rd best seller award this year (the first two having been in January and February). The main markets for this model are France (1,165 units), Germany (896), and Italy (524). For the coming months, expect the Zoe to continue sharing the next 3 best seller trophies with the Tesla Model 3, until September, when a certain VW ID.3 lands. …

#2 VW e-Golf — The evergreen e-Golf won its second silver medal this year, scoring 2,488 units last month, the veteran model’s demand continues to be immune to the long shadow of the ID.3, with Volkswagen milking everything it can from the e-Golf, at least until its successor effectively lands in September. Regarding May, the e-Golf’s main markets were Germany (1,153 units), Norway (610), and the Netherlands (221).

#3 Tesla Model 3 — Limited by the lack of fresh units, the EV poster child this time was limited to just 2,278 deliveries, ending the month only in 3rd. Expect the Californian to go after the Zoe in June, though, thanks to fresh units coming from the US. Back to May, the UK was by far the best market for the Tesla nameplate, with 852 deliveries, followed by Germany (244) and France (219).

#4 Hyundai Kona EV — The Korean electric crossover was an immediate hit among European buyers, which caught Hyundai completely off-guard (“now, where will we find batteries for all these orders?!?”). That originated in thousands-long waiting lists and limited the success of the Kona EV to just 7th in 2019. With Hyundai now making the Kona EV in Europe (in Nosovice, Czech Republic) and the battery strain now solved, registrations are already jumping, to 1,824 units, allowing it to win its first top 5 presence in 2020, with its main markets being Norway (443 units), Germany (371), France (351), and the Netherlands (212). With several thousand orders still to be satisfied, and Hyundai determined to end the backlog, expect the Korean crossover to become a familiar face in this top 5 during the coming months.

#5 Audi e-tron — The big Audi continues to impress, with May having 1,687 registrations. Although, one wonders for how long Audi can keep the e-tron’s pace at this level, considering that these uncertain times aren’t the best for models nearing six-figure prices. This time the biggest market for the German crossover was Germany, with 583 registrations. The usual bread and butter market, Norway, was barely relegated to 2nd, with 579 registrations, with the UK following in third, with 200 units registered.

Looking at the 2020 ranking, the big news was the Renault Zoe recovering the leadership position from the Tesla Model 3, but with only 462 units separating the two, this race will have another exciting chapter in June, as the Tesla sedan will try to remove the Renault model from the leadership position.

Another relevant position change was the Audi e-tron climbing to 4th, surpassing the previous SUV default choice, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and the Japanese SUV might lose more positions soon, as the Nissan Leaf is just 408 units behind.

A few positions behind, the VW Passat GTE was up one spot, to #9, at the expense of the BMW 330e, which desperately needs the station wagon version to recover its sales (532 units last month) — in May, it not only lost to the Model 3 (no news here), but also to the aforementioned Passat GTE (1,167), the Mercedes C300e/de (763) archrival, and even the Volvo S/V60 PHEV twins (981) managed to beat it. …

In the second half of the ranking, we should mention that the Kia Niro EV was up one spot, to #13, while the BMW X5 PHEV climbed to #16.

We have two new (or not so new) faces in the table as well, with the Mercedes E300e/de family returning to the top 20, in #19, while the veteran Audi A3 PHEV is experiencing a second youth, returning to the table after a two-year absence.

Outside the top 20, the Ford Kuga PHEV (euro-spec Ford Escape), scored an amazing 1,620 units in May, becoming May’s best selling PHEV, and we should see it soon in the table, which will make it Ford’s first model in the top 20 since … well, ever!

In the brand ranking, we have the most balanced race in the history of this ranking, with Tesla (9%, down 1 percentage point) hanging on to the throne, slightly ahead of Volkswagen and Renault, each having 9%, while BMW (8%, down 1 point) is running slightly behind. So, we currently have four manufacturers running for #1! Now, that’s what I call an entertaining race!

Fully Electric D-Segment / Midsize Category

Tesla’s midsizer sales are in another galaxy, and won’t have significant competition until next year, as the Polestar 2 will remain a niche player, and once the BMW iX3 lands, the German automaker would probably be happy if it got a third of the sales of the current Model 3.

The real competition will only be when the Tesla Model Y lands — not only will it drain Model 3 sales, but it will also outsell it, so … enjoy the throne while you can, Model 3!

As for the rest of the podium, the Jaguar I-PACE is still #2, but it has seen its sales drop by 45% year over year, to 3,125 units. Still, that was enough to beat the #3 Mercedes EQC in May (401 units vs 333 units), so Mercedes needs to ramp up production further if it wants to beat the Jaguar and reach silver.

Fully Electric E-Segment / Full Size Category

The e-tron recent domination of the segment is proof that Teslas aren’t unbeatable — you just need competitive products to get there.

Your turn, Tesla. And while cutting prices and incremental range updates will surely help, what we all want to see is some love for both Model S & X — revamping the design, inside and out, while keeping the 100 kWh battery at a low price and adding a new 120 kWh version. Call it Plaid, Battlestar Galactica (my favorite), or whatever you wish to call it … but make it.

As months pass by, the competition becomes stronger. Last month, the six-figure (and still ramping up) Porsche Taycan surpassed the Tesla Model S and reached the second position in this category for the year through May, with 2,053 registrations. In May, the German sports sedan doubled the registrations of the Tesla flagship sedan (500 vs. 246), highlighting Tesla’s need to do something to its flagship models.

Tesla Model S sales in 2020 are down 26%, while for the same period, e-tron sales jumped 123%, which says a lot. …

Editor’s note: Want to see how crazy/new/different the European EV market is? Look at the top two sales charts again with “Others” (all other models combined) added:

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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 446 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes