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11% Plugin Vehicle Share in Europe!

The European passenger plugin vehicle market is on fire, having gotten over 97,000 registrations in August, +171% year over year (YoY). That put last month’s plugin share at 11% share, or 5.7% fully electric vehicles (BEVs).

The European passenger plugin vehicle market is on fire, having gotten over 97,000 registrations in August, +171% year over year (YoY). That put last month’s plugin share at 11% share, or 5.7% fully electric vehicles (BEVs), and pulled the 2020 plugin electric vehicle (PEV) share to 8.4% (4.5% for BEVs alone). That is getting mighty close to the disruptive 10% mark …

… so expect next year to be #Disruption ’21!

This sales push is benefiting BEVs (50,232 units, +112% YoY), but even more so plugin hybrids (PHEVs), whose sales are jumping through the roof (+285%!), pulling the BEV/PHEV breakdown towards parity. Plugin hybrids had 48% of registrations last month, versus 47% in the YTD tally.

With fresh units coming from Fremont, the Tesla Model 3 won last month’s best seller title, its first since last April. Tesla is now preparing for a big delivery push in September. Adding that to the Volkswagen ID.3’s official landing and a predictably strong month for the Renault Zoe, we should have all three top sellers hitting 5-digit scores next month.

We have one new face in the top 5, with the Mercedes A250e joining the best sellers list, being one of the most interesting PHEVs around. The Kia Niro EV had its second record performance in a row and ended the month in #6, thanks to 3,381 deliveries.

#1 Tesla Model 3 — The world famous sports sedan returned to form, with 7,020 registrations last month, allowing it to have its first monthly win since last April, which is a promising sign for this super-September high tide. I would say that 17,000 units seems like a realistic target. Regarding August, the Model 3’s main markets were Germany (2,824 units), the UK (950), and the Netherlands (609).

#2 Renault Zoe — The Zoe’s 6,183 registrations are the result of the recent uptick in orders of the French hatchback, and despite being down in August compared to the consistent 10,000-ish performances of previous months (August is French holiday season), expect the numbers to go back there in September. Last month, the main market was Germany (2,210 units), followed by France (1,618 units), Italy (509), and the UK (350). In the coming months, expect the Zoe to continue in top positions, racing with the Tesla Model 3 and VW ID.3 for the leadership position.

#3 Ford Kuga PHEV — The Kuga PHEV (Euro-spec Ford Escape PHEV) is doing wonders for Ford. The carmaker finally found a plugin success story in Europe. In August, the compact crossover scored 5,055 registrations, earning its 4th Best Selling PHEV monthly title in a row, making it the new reference point in the plugin hybrid field. The markets where the Dearborn plugin was in high rotation were Germany (1,588 units), Denmark (1,509 units, best selling model in the overall market!), and the UK (350). With the Kuga PHEV’s decent usable electric range and competitive pricing, the Ford model is now one of the best value-for-money plugin hybrids out there.

#4 Hyundai Kona EV — Chronically limited by production constraints, Hyundai has finally opened the floodgates for its small crossover, thanks to the Czech plant’s production increase. It scoring 4,054 registrations in August, gaining another top 5 standing. After the waiting list was is emptied (by September?), we will finally start to see the real demand level of the small crossover. (3,000/month?) Back to August, Germany was by far the best market for the Hyundai nameplate, with 1,397 registrations, followed by France (420 units) and Norway (408).

#5 Mercedes A250e — Thanks to competitive pricing (for a premium brand), usable electric range (64 km / 40 mi WLTP), and even CCS availability, the compact Mercedes has become the automaker’s star player. With a record 3,505 units registered in August, that was its second record performance in a row. Its biggest market is its homeland, Germany, with 1,939 registrations, followed by France (260 registrations), and the UK (253 registrations).

Looking at the 2020 ranking, there were two changes in the top positions. The Hyundai Kona EV jumped two spots, to #4, but the most significant change happened below it, with the Ford Kuga PHEV surpassing the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and becoming the new best selling plugin hybrid in Europe. If the compact SUV manages to keep its leadership position until the end of the year, it will be an historic moment, as it will be the first time since 2012 that the Outlander isn’t the best selling PHEV in Europe!

With these changes, the top 5 is now 100% BEV. Furthermore, it includes models from different classes, from the small Renault Zoe, to the compact VW e-Golf, to the midsize Tesla Model 3, to the luxury Audi e-tron, and the Hyundai Kona EV thrown in for those who want something different. These models are like BEV templates for each of these categories (well, the e-Golf is on its last legs, but with its ID.3 successor now spreading across Europe, Volkswagen will continue to have the template for compact EVs in Europe for years to come).

Speaking of Volkswagen’s new baby, in super-September, the Volkswagen ID.3 is landing with a bang, with 20,000+ 1st Edition deliveries. Adding that to some 11,000 Zoe and 17,000 Model 3 should result in at least 48,000 registrations for September from just 3 models! Add a minimum of 80,000 units from the remaining market and we should have some 130,000 units being delivered in one month, and some 12–13% market share!

Regarding August, the second half of the table had a few position changes, with the Volvo XC40 PHEV jumping two spots, to #13, while the small Volkswagen e-Up climbed to #16 and the Mercedes A250e joined the ranking, in #18, thanks to a record 3,505 units.

But the A250e wasn’t the only Mercedes to shine, as the GLC300e scored a record 1,749 performance last month, while the E300e/de (1,254 units in August) and the C300e/de (1,441) jumped to #21 and #22, respectively. So, we could have three Mercedes in the table soon, and as if that wasn’t enough, there were two other models from the Daimler stable that reached four-digit scores last month. The Mercedes EQC registered 1,292 units, while the tiny Smart Fortwo EV scored 1,325 deliveries, thus resulting in 6 models from the OEM with 1,000+ scores!

And Mercedes is now starting to ramp up production of other models, as the CLA250e (565 units) and B250e (315) have started to see their numbers rise and should hit significant volumes soon, while the GLA250e (60) and EQV (26) are waiting in line for their turn. The three pointed-star automaker started late, but it is electrifying its long lineup at breakneck speed. After all, Daimler is one of the worst CO2-emitting OEMs in Europe and the fines are heavy, so they might as well go for plugins and comply with the rules, right?

Not to be outdone by its Stuttgart rival, BMW also pulled a few rabbits from its hat, and while it’s not the model onslaught of Mercedes, the production ramp up of the Mini Cooper EV (1,709 units last month) and BMW X1 PHEV (1,545) added to the good result of the BMW X5 PHEV (1,334 units, its best score since January). Those rising scores have helped to counter balance the so-so results of the BMW i3 and 330e.

Still outside the top 20, PSA Group is also ramping up deliveries, with the small Opel Corsa EV hitting a record 1,487 deliveries while the Peugeot 2008 EV crossover registered 1,331 units in August. The French automaker is expecting this last model to be its Third Musketeer in the top 20.

In the brands ranking, we have the most balanced race in the history of this ranking, with 5 brands separated by 1%. Volkswagen, BMW, and Renault each have 9% now, while Volvo and Tesla have 8%. And don’t forget the rising (7%, up 1 point) Mercedes in 6th!

BEV D-Segment / Midsize Category

Tesla’s midsize sedan sales are in another galaxy, and it has even seen its sales increase 29% YoY last month, so it won’t have significant competition in the near future, as the recently arrived Polestar 2 (1,144 units last month) is present in a limited number of markets and will remain a niche player this year, with expansion plans only set to be enabled in 2021. It’s the same story for the BMW iX3 — with its first deliveries set for the summer of next year, do not expect volume numbers from it for a long, long time.

The real competition will only come when the Tesla Model Y lands.

As for the rest of the podium, the Mercedes EQC has finally surpassed the Jaguar I-PACE, becoming the new runner-up, while the British sports SUV has seen its sales decline in August by 19% YoY, to just 588 units, which could soon place it in the firing range of the new Polestar 2, as the Sino-Swede is said to have its own super-September edition (around 1,500 deliveries).

BEV E-Segment / Full Size Category

The Audi e-tron’s domination is unquestionable and continues to grow, with the big Audi scoring 3,047 units last month, representing a 141% sales increase YoY. With Tesla basically giving up on the Model S & X, not only will the #2 Porsche Taycan (1,183 units last month) continue to extend its lead, but both Teslas will become easy prey for anyone (Audi e-tron GT, Mercedes EQS, BMW iNext …) that lands in this still rarefied market.

Just to have an idea, last month, the Tesla Model S was the best selling of the flagship Teslas, registering just 109 units, down 82% YoY.

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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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