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Record EV Sales In Europe

While the overall European market is still in recovery mode in June, down 24% year over year (YoY), the European passenger plugin vehicle market has returned to the fast track, having achieved almost 93,000 registrations in June (+95%).

While the overall European market is still in recovery mode in June, down 24% year over year (YoY), the European passenger plugin vehicle market has returned to the fast track, having achieved almost 93,000 registrations in June (+95%). That was actually a record performance, placing June’s plugin share at 8.2% share (4.4% fully electric vehicles/BEVs), pulling the 2020 plugin share to 7.9% (4.3% for BEVs alone). The 7.9% market share more than doubles the 3.6% result of 2019, and gets mighty close to the disruptive 10% mark.

Will we see Europe’s plugin vehicle (PEV) market share end 2020 in double digits? Now that would be something to write about. …

With production in full speed mode and orders pouring in like never before, the Renault Zoe was last month’s best seller, with its first 5-digit score, while also profiting from a limited Model 3 high tide. The Californian should only be able to go head to head with the Renault model in the coming Super-September month. However, both may lose to the flood of VW ID.3 units that should come then. But more on that later.

Interestingly, we have two fresh faces in the top 5, both plugin hybrids (PHEVs), which highlight the recent uptick of plugin hybrids in general. Plugin hybrids shot up 226% last month, versus the more sedated 44% growth rate of BEVs, allowing PHEVs to now represent 45% of the total market.

#1 Renault Zoe — The record 10,342 deliveries in June are the result of a surge in orders, thanks to recent incentive changes in a number of European markets. This added to the recent production ramp up at the Flins factory, allowing the Renault EV to benefit from a perfect storm (> incentives; > orders; > production). The model should score consistent 5-digit performances in the coming months. Regarding June, the main markets were France (record 6,012 units), Germany (record 1,448 units) and the UK (record 900 units). In the coming months, expect the Zoe to win the next two best seller trophies, until September, when the VW ID.3 lands.

#2 Tesla Model 3 — Limited by the production shutdown in April, the high tide this time was limited to just 7,224 deliveries, the lowest end-of-quarter performance for the sports sedan in Europe. Expect the Californian to go back to 5-digit performances (15,000 to 18,000) in September. Back to June, the UK was once again the best market (by far) for the Tesla nameplate, with 2,517 deliveries, followed by he Netherlands (716 units), France (620 units), and Norway (527 units).

#3 Ford Kuga PHEV — Before the Kuga PHEV (Euro-spec Ford Escape PHEV), Ford was something of a dead duck in Europe, with its plugin sales peak happening in 2015, when it sold 1,308 units in the whole year, 1,230 of them belonging to the Ford C-Max Energi. Remaining years saw an average of 200 registrations. … Not exactly stellar behavior for what is still one of the major brands in Europe. But the Kuga PHEV has changed all of that. After scoring an impressive 1,629 units in May, June came and the compact crossover got an amazing 3,684 registrations, earning its second consecutive Best Selling PHEV award and selling more in just one month than Ford did in the previous 6 years (2013–2019)! The markets where the Dearborn plugin was in high rotation were Germany (807 units), Denmark (730 units!), and the UK (500 units). The Kuga PHEV is being heavily advertised and is still in launch mode in a number of countries, so expect it to become a regular feature here.

#4 VW e-Golf — The evergreen e-Golf scored 3,037 registrations last month, with the veteran model seemingly immune to the long shadow of the ID.3 as Volkswagen milks everything it can from it, at least until its successor effectively lands in September. (Or October?) Regarding June, the e-Golf’s main markets were Germany (1,310 units), Norway (707), and the Netherlands (299).

#5 Volvo XC40 PHEV — The compact Volvo continues to impress, after a loooong production ramp up that took the whole second half of last year (one would almost say that Volvo was playing with the recent CO2 rules…). This year, things started to pick up quickly (well, if we exclude the pandemic-related period), with June registering a record 2,962 units. The biggest market for the Swedish (but Belgian-built) SUV was Norway, with 475 registrations, while Belgium bought 417 units of its homemade model, and neighboring Netherlands registered 374 units.

Looking at the 2020 ranking, the big news was the Renault Zoe consolidating its leadership position, earning a 3,342 unit advantage over the #2 Tesla Model 3. With July helping the French model to gain an advantage of a few thousand more, it might have enough of a margin to sustain the September high tide from the Model 3.

In the meantime, in the coming Super-September, the VW ID.3 should land with a bang, with 30,000 1st Edition deliveries expected. Added to some 11,000 Zoes and 17,000 Model 3s, that should provide 58,000 registrations in September among just 3 models! Add some 70,000 units from the remaining market, and we should have close to 130,000 units being delivered in one month! And some 11–12% market share!

But back to the frontrunners race, with VW said to produce only 60,000 ID.3 this year, the best that the new German EV can aspire to this year is the bronze medal. Gold will be fought over until the end by the two frontrunners. The two will be close in September, the Zoe will win an edge in October, November should see both players keeping their positions, and in December the Tesla Model 3 will profit from its end-of-quarter high tide to go after #1.

If I had to bet my money, I would still go for the Model 3 as this year’s best seller, but the fact that it will have to run hard until the last days of the year was simply unimaginable just 6 months ago.

In other news, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV recovered the 4th position from the Audi e-tron, with the German SUV now threatened by the rising Peugeot 208 EV, in #6 and just 272 units behind the big Audi.

But the “Climber of the Month” was the Volvo XC60 PHEV, which jumped 5 positions to #9, thanks to a record 2,682 score in June, a new personal best for the midsize SUV. Overall, June was a very positive month for the Swedish automaker, as it had several models shining — the S/V60 PHEV twins were up to #11, thanks to 2,010 deliveries, the midsizers’ best score since December 1813 2013, while the XC40 PHEV joined the table in #17, with a record 2,962 registrations, and even the XC90 PHEV barge flagship had its first four-digit score this year. …

… And they were not the only ones hitting best ever performances. In a record month, personal bests were plentiful, like the Hyundai Kona EV reaching 2,745 units, thanks in no small part to the Czech-made units, its cousin Kia Niro EV hitting a record 2,342 units, and even the VW e-Up had its moment by delivering a record 1,850 units. On the PHEV side, another Volkswagen Group veteran, the Audi A3 PHEV, had its best score since December 2015 (1,514 units).

Besides the aforementioned Volvo XC40 PHEV, we have another new face in the table, with the Ford Kuga PHEV jumping to #16 thanks to a record 3,684 deliveries, making it the first Ford plugin to join the Top 20 Best Sellers table in Europe.

Outside the top 20, the ramp-up of several models is starting to gain relevance, like the Mercedes A250e, with the German PHEV registering a record 1,471 units, and the Audi Q5 PHEV, which delivered 1,386 units. On the BEV side, we have the Opel Corsa EV reaching a record 1,140 units, and on the other side of the scale, the Porsche Taycan had its best score yet, with 1,054 units.

In the brand ranking, we have the most balanced race in the history of this ranking, with none other than 4 brands with 9% share (Tesla, BMW, Renault, and Volkswagen). Tesla is hanging onto the throne by a thread (well, 489 threads … which are the number of units that separate Tesla from the #2 BMW). Only 1,155 units separate the #1 Tesla from the #4 Volkswagen, and Volvo (8%, up 1 percentage point) is rising toward 9% itself. So, we currently have five manufacturers running for #1. …

So, while the models race is hard to predict, the brands trophy is casino gambling!

Finally, looking at the plugin rates of these brands, there are some interesting numbers. Tesla is of course easy to see — 100% electric. The others show a varied picture: BMW (13%) and Renault (10%) show moderate electrification rates, Volkswagen (6%) is below average — so, the ID.3 is badly needed — while Volvo is the clear progressive force among these legacy OEMs, with a 25% plugin vehicle rate. There are other established automakers with even higher electrification rates, like Porsche (31%) and the French luxury brand DS (33%), both of which are profiting from the advantages of being small companies, and therefore agile, proving once again what the Dinosaur theory says:

“In stable times, it’s good to be big, because of scale. In disruptive times, it’s good to be small, because you can change faster.”

Top in D-Segment / Midsize Category — Full Electrics

The Tesla midsizer’s sales are in another galaxy, and despite a slight fall in deliveries (-12% YoY), it won’t have significant competition until next year, as the recently arrived Polestar 2 (first 23 units in June) will remain a niche player (Jaguar I-Pace level?) and once the BMW iX3 lands, the German maker will be happy if it gets a third of sales of the current Model 3.

The real competition will only come when the Tesla Model Y lands. Not only it will drain sales from the Model 3, but it will also outsell it.

As for the remainder of the podium, the Jaguar I-Pace is still #2, but it has seen its sales drop by 44% YoY (the high price is hurting the British sports SUV), while the #3 Mercedes EQC is slowly ramping up, having beaten the I-Pace in June (694 units vs 647) — but Mercedes needs to ramp up production even further if it wants to beat the Jaguar and reach silver.

Top in E-Segment / Full Size Category — Full Electrics

The Audi e-tron’s domination is unquestionable, and while Tesla prepares a Model S & X  refresh (October?), the Porsche Taycan continues to ramp up deliveries, having registered almost as many units in June (1,054) as the Model S & X did … counted together (1,096).

More proof of the urgency to refresh the big Teslas (if the company wants to compete here) is the fact that Model S sales in 2020 are down 43% YoY while for the same period e-tron sales jumped 103%, which says a lot. …

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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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