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Another Record Month For Plugin Vehicles In Europe

The European passenger plugin vehicle market is on fire, having scored over 113,000 registrations in July (+213% year over year, the highest growth rate in 5 years). This is the market’s second record performance in a row

The European passenger plugin vehicle market is on fire, having scored over 113,000 registrations in July (+213% year over year, the highest growth rate in 5 years). This is the market’s second record performance in a row, after the 93,000 registrations of June. This resulted in a plugin share of 8.7% (4.1% fully electric vehicles/BEV) in July, pulling the 2020 PEV share to 8% (4.2% for BEVs alone), more than double the 3.6% result of 2019 and getting mighty close to the disruptive 10% mark….

This sales push is benefiting BEVs (53,694 units, +123% year over year and an all-time record), but even more so PHEVs, whose sales are jumping through the roof (+390%!), tilting the BEV/PHEV breakdown towards plugin hybrids, which had 53% of plugin vehicle registrations in July, versus 47% in the year-to-date tally.

With September set to be another record month, the prospect of seeing Europe’s plugin market share end 2020 at 10% is starting to be realistic …

… and then it would be #Disruption ’21!

With production in Full Speed Mode and orders coming in large volumes, the Renault Zoe was yet again the month’s best seller. With Renault now earning a fat profit on each one of them, expect the French carmaker to continue actively selling/milking the small hatchback in the coming months.

This Zoe win in July, added to the fresh units drought of the Tesla Model 3 in July, allowed the French EV to win a sizable (12,000 unit) advantage over the Californian. That lead will be significantly reduced in Super-September, when the much hyped Volkswagen ID.3 finally lands. Expect it to try to immediately secure the #3 spot.

Interestingly, we have one new face in the top 5, with the Hyundai Kona EV just now joining the best sellers list despite being one of the most interesting and popular EVs around.

Let’s look more closely at July’s top 5 models:

#1 Renault Zoe — The record 9,388 deliveries in July were the result of a recent uptick in orders of the French hatchback thanks to recent incentive changes in a number of European markets, which added to the recent production ramp up at the Flins factory and allowed the Renault EV to benefit from a perfect storm (> incentives; > orders; > production). This should allow the Zoe to score consistent 10,000-ish performances in the coming months. Regarding July, the main markets were France (3,834 units), Germany (record 2,851 units), and the UK (900). In the coming months, expect the Zoe to continue in the top position, racing with the Tesla Model 3 and Volkswagen ID.3 for the leadership spot.

#2 Ford Kuga PHEV — Before the Kuga PHEV (Euro-spec Ford Escape PHEV), Ford was something of a dead duck in Europe, with its record year being in 2015, with 1,308 units. … Not exactly stellar behavior, is it? But the Kuga PHEV has changed all of that. In July, the compact crossover scored an amazing 6,366 registrations, earning its third Best Selling PHEV monthly title in a row, each time beating its own personal record! How high will will the Kuga go?!? The markets where the Dearborn plugin was in high rotation were Germany (record 1,691 units), Denmark (1,660 units!!! What happened here?!?!), and the UK (record 1,000 units). With the Kuga PHEV’s decent usable electric range, competitive pricing (and already being discounted in some countries), the Ford model is now one of the best value for the money plugin hybrids out there, so expect it to become a regular feature here.

#3 Hyundai Kona EV — Chronically limited by production/battery constraints ever since it landed a couple of years ago, Hyundai has finally opened the floodgates for its small crossover, thanks to Czech plant production, allowing a record 4,444 deliveries. This record gave the Kona EV its first podium position. After the waiting list is finally emptied (September?), we will finally start to see the real demand level of the small crossover. (3,000/month?) Regarding July, Germany was the best market for the Hyundai nameplate, with a record 1,680 deliveries, followed by France (780 units), Norway (383), and the Netherlands (363).

#4 Volkswagen e-Golf — The evergreen e-Golf, nearly at the end of its line, scored a record 4,153 units last month! The veteran model, seemingly immune to its announced sunset, somehow managed another record as Volkswagen milks everything it can from the model until the high-volume landing of the ID.3 successor in September. Regarding July, the e-Golf’s main markets were Germany (record 2,633 units), the Netherlands (488), and Norway (201).

#5 Volvo XC40 PHEV — The compact Volvo continues to impress. After a looong production ramp up, things are picking up quickly (excluding the pandemic-related period), with July scoring 3,884 registrations, its second record performance in a row. The biggest market for the Belgian-built Swede was France, with 609 units, with Sweden following, with 516 units, and the Netherlands also registering high volumes, 402 units.

Looking at the 2020 ranking, the big news in the top positions was the #5 Audi e-tron closing in on the #4 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, with only 38 units now separating them. So, the big Audi could regain the SUV crown soon. Meanwhile, the Hyundai Kona EV jumped two positions, to #6.

But the Climber of the Month was the Ford Kuga PHEV, which shot up 7 spots to #9 and now has its headlights set on the #4 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, the current holder of both the PHEV and SUV trophies. If it won’t get there by August, then in September it’s dead certain it will surpass the veteran Japanese model.

Still within the top 10, the Kia Niro EV was up two spots, to #10, thanks to a record 3,371 registrations, highlighting a very positive month for the Korean group. Besides the aforementioned Hyundai Kona EV and Kia Niro EV, the Niro PHEV returned to the table, in #20, thanks to a record 1,812 registrations. In fact, Hyundai–Kia had 6 models scoring four-digit performances (Hyundai Kona EV — 4,444; Kia Niro EV — 3,371; Kia Niro PHEV — 1,812; Hyundai Ioniq Electric — 1,441 units and a new record; Kia Ceed PHEV — 1,417 units and a new record; Kia Soul EV — 1,002).

But the Hyundai Motor Group wasn’t the only to rise so much, as Daimler and BMW Group also had 6 models scoring 4-digit performances last month. Volkswagen Empire Group did even better, by having 10(!) models with 1,000-plus performances (VW e-Golf, VW Passat GTE, VW e-Up, Audi e-tron, Audi A3 PHEV, Audi Q5 PHEV, Skoda Citigo EV, Skoda Superb PHEV, Porsche Taycan, and Porsche Cayenne PHEV).

Volkswagen Group is starting to look like the best German soccer teams: What they may lack in talent, they make up for in teamwork. … Now they only need a Beckenbauer (ahem, ID.3) in the back to pull the team forward.

In other news, the #13 BMW 330e surpassed its pure electric stablemate, the i3, thanks to a year best score of 2,951 units (for once, BMW can say that its sports sedan outsold the Tesla Model 3 … #sarcasm). The small EV is continuing its slow fall into irrelevance, now that cheaper and equally exciting small EVs are available on the market.

The Volvo XC40 PHEV jumped two positions, to #15, thanks to a record 3,884 deliveries, but the Belgian-Swede wasn’t the only one hitting record performances. In a peak month, personal bests were plentiful. Among them, and not yet mentioned, there were the 2,442 units of the VW Passat GTE, the 1,670 units of the Audi A3 PHEV, another veteran unwilling to retire, and the 2,549 units of the VW e-Up, and if we add the triplets together (VW e-Up — 2,549; Skoda Citigo EV — 1,371; Seat e-Mii — 777), we get the nice total of 4,697 deliveries in July, which would make it the 3rd best selling EV last month! Not only that, all three nameplates scored record performances in July, so it seems demand for the triplets is more than assured.

Outside the top 20, the increasing sales of several models are starting to gain relevance, like the Mercedes A250e, with the German PHEV registering a record 3,504 units, the BMW X1 PHEV, which has 2,281 registrations, and the Opel Grandland X PHEV (1,503). Meanwhile, on the BEV side, we have the refreshed MG ZS EV reaching a record 1,514 units, and on the top of the EV food chain the Porsche Taycan had yet another record score, this time with 1,490 units.

In the brand ranking, we have the most balanced race in the history of this ranking, with 4 brands separated by just 1 percentage point. Volkswagen and Renault each have 9% share of the PEV market, while BMW and Tesla each have 8%. And right behind them we have Volvo, with 7%!

So, if the model race is hard to predict, the brand trophy is casino gambling!

BEV D-Segment / Midsize Category

The Tesla midsizer’s sales are in another galaxy, and it won’t have significant competition until next year, as the recently arrived Polestar 2 (104 units in July) will remain a niche player. and once the BMW iX3 lands, the German maker will be happy if it gets a third of the sales of the current Model 3.

The real competition will only come when the Tesla Model Y lands, which is expected to outsell the Model 3.

As for the remaining vehicles on the podium, the Jaguar I-PACE is still #2 and scored its best result so far this year, with 1,144 registrations in July. Its sales have grown by 39% year over year. Furthermore, the #3 Mercedes-Benz EQC is finally reaching decent volumes, having gotten a record 1,611 registrations last month, and it is now only 371 units behind the British sports SUV, so we might actually see the Benz reach silver this year.

BEV E-Segment / Full Size Category

The e-tron’s domination is unquestionable and continues to grow, with the big Audi scoring 3,110 units last month, representing a 75% sales increase year over year, and while Tesla prepares the Model S & X refresh for the end of September, the Porsche Taycan continues to ramp up deliveries, having delivered almost as many units this year (4,605) as the Model S & X did … counted together!

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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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