Three new entrants this year help the Electric Car segment become Europe’s second fastest growing segment of 2013, after small crossovers. A 74% increase over the 2012 tally means a total of 31.507 EV’s hit European roads last year, which is still just 0,25% of all vehicles sold last year, or one in every 400.
The best selling EV in 2012, the Nissan Leaf compact car, remains unchallenged in 2013 as well, as sales more than double to just over 11.000 units, making the Leaf the first electric car to surpass the 10.000 annual sales threshold. The Renault Zoe subcompact hatchback was sold over 8.200 times in its first year of sales, helping the Zoe storm up the charts into second place.
The Tesla Model S large sedan, which competes at a totally different price point than the other cars in this segment, but also offers much more range than those cars, is especially successful in Norway (almost 2.000 sales or half of all European registrations) and The Netherlands (almost 1.200 sales), where government subsidies and preferential treatment of electric cars help to put these vehicles on the map. In fact, the Model S was the overall sales leader in Norway in both September and December, giving it a top-20 position over the full year. The Model S electric sedans for the European market are assembled in Tesla’s assembly line in Tilburg, The Netherlands. In its first year of sales in Europe, the Model S is sold almost 4.000 times, which is not bad at all for an electric car at this price point. I’m curious if it’s able to expand its success to other European markets when the network of supercharging stations rolls out.
The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive, used in various car-sharing projects across European cities under the Car2Go label, almost triples its sales to just short of 3.000 units in 2013, of which 2.146 in Germany and 478 in France. The Fortwo ED in third place is followed by the BMW i3, all-new for 2013 and not yet at full potential, as I expect the i3 to hit the 2014 EV sales top-3. In December alone, BMW registered 551 units of the i3.
The Mitsubishi-built triplets i-MiEV, C-Zero and iOn suffer heavily from the increased competition, as the three of them combined lose about three quarters of last year’s volume, while the Renault Fluence Z.E. faces a similar fate.
The Nissan Leaf has now passed the i-MiEV, C-Zero and iOn in cumulative EV sales in Europe, with 18.072 Leafs on the road by the end of 2013, compared to 16.439 of the Mitsubishi triplets combined.
Note: the Renault Twizy is not included in this ranking, as it is officially not a car, but a quadricycle, and because Renault doesn’t split sales of the 45 km/h version from the 80 km/h version, while only the latter could be argued to qualifiy as a car.
Tesla Model S
Smart Fortwo Electric Drive
Renault Fluence Z.E.
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