Another year, another record in sales for both the EV segment and the PHEV segment in Europe. Sales of battery electric cars increased 47% in 2015 to 91.326 units, after already improving by 50% in 2014. This means that it is very likely that more than 100.000 EVs will be sold in Europe this year, even though a number of governments, most notably Denmark and Sweden, have dialed back on their EV incentives in 2016. Sales of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles got an even bigger boost last year, as they surged 177% to 97.985 units as no less than five new entrants were launched and existing models continued to improve. Only three EV models out of 17 showed sales decrease, and only two out of 15 PHEV models, while the majority showed double, triple or even quadruple digit volume gains.
Total 2015 sales of electrified vehicles were a record 189.161, up 94% from a year earlier, and they now comprise 1,3% of the European passenger car market. For 2016, the aim is around 250.000 sales or just above.
Note: clicking on the model name opens the sales data page for that model; clicking year in the legend turns the display for that year on/off
The top-3 of best selling EVs in Europe are all dedicated electric cars instead of EV versions of existing models, indicating this strategy works best, for now. The Nissan Leaf is no longer the best selling Electric Car in Europe, after leading the segment for the past two years. It has been outsold by the Renault Zoe in 2015, which improved its sales by 67% to 18.469 units, a record for any EV in Europe, thanks to Renault’s decision to stop their battery leasing strategy and also helped by the new longer range electric motor. The Leaf is about to get a new, larger (30 kWh instead of 24) battery pack and ends 2015 with the same volume as the year before, although it was losing ground quickly: Q1 sales were up 36%, Q2 just 4,5% but Q3 and Q4 sales were down 6% and 30% respectively. As a result, the Tesla Model S closes in on the #2 position, becoming the third-ever EV to sell over 15.00 units in Europe in a single year, helped by year-end sales rallies in Denmark and Sweden to benefit from 2015 incentives. The Model X will arrive in Europe in 2016, so I’m curious to see what effect this has on Model S sales.
The Volkswagen e-Golf more than triples its volume from its introduction year to become the best selling non-dedicated EV with 11.124 sales, just 2,1% of total Golf sales in Europe. Its smaller cousin e-Up! is one of the few models to lose volume, as its sales are halved from 2014. The Kia Soul EV is the fastest growing model in the segment, and it has a record 35,5% EV share, although there is a caveat to these figures: earlier this year it became apparent that Kia manipulated its sales of the Soul EV to lower its EU mandated fleet CO2 emission figure. As you’ve read in that article, almost all of the Soul EVs end up in the streets of Norway, where owners of electric cars receive attractive incentives. However, as Norway is not an EU member state, these cars don’t count towards a manufacturer’s average fleet emissions, so Hyundai-Kia has decided to cheat the system by registering a large number of Soul EVs in Germany, even for just a single day, before shipping them to Norway as “used” cars.
The Renault Kangoo Z.E. stays the best selling electric commercial vehicle in Europe, ahead of its Renault-Nissan Alliance sibling the Nissan e-NV200 (Evalia) as both add a third to their 2014 volumes. The majority of Kangoo EV are the commercial version, as only 3 units of the passenger version were sold in Europe. Unfortunately we don’t have LCV sales for the NV200, nor do we have a split of commercial vs. passenger versions of the e-NV200 so we can’t calculate the EV penetration for the Spanish-built model.
We’ve split BMW i3 into the two segments, and make the assumption that two thirds of the model’s sales in Europe are equipped with the optional Range Extender. That means 3.900 sales of the i3 EV, an increase of 31% and helping it stay ahead of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive.
The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive is down 26% as they’re still working on an EV version of the new generation Fortwo, and the previous generation will remain on sale until then, mostly to the Car2Go car-sharing program. The Renault Twizy is also down, by 16% despite the addition of a cargo version which loses the rear seat. The Mitsubishi-PSA triplets show nice increases, especially the two French models, despite their age and limited range. When combined, the three would be in 8th place with 3.392 sales, surprisingly well for a model for which better alternatives have entered the market.
Almost one third of all Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles sold in Europe in 2015 were a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, as the Japanese crossover increased its volume to 31.340 units, a record for any electrified car in Europe. Similarly, more than two thirds of Outlander sales in Europe are the PHEV version, also a record PHEV penetration. The Volkswagen Golf GTE is catching up quickly with 17.282 sales, or 3,2% of total European Golf sales. Including the e-Golf, Volkswagen sold 28.406 electrified versions of Europe’s best selling car, 5,3% of its volume. Its sibling Audi A3 e-Tron is #3 with 11.711 sales thanks to a 5,9% PHEV penetration.
The BMW i3 with optional range extender sells almost 8.000 units if our estimates of 2/3 penetration are accurate. Behind the i3, two luxury rivals fight it out: the Volvo V60 Twin Engine and the Mercedes-Benz C350e. The V60, the only diesel plug-in hybrid, beats the newcomer, although the Mercedes had a couple of monthly victories, so the fight will be on in 2016 when both have a full year of sales. The third midsized plug-in, the Volkswagen Passat GTE arrives in 7th place but will surely storm up the charts in 2016.
The Porsche Cayenne S e-hybrid scores an impressive 18,8% PHEV penetration of the large SUV and it stays ahead of the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine and the BMW X5 40e, but that’s only because the latter two were launched late this year. The Volvo had a 35,5% PHEV penetration in December with 1.633 units sold vs. 22% and 838 units for the X5 vs. 36,5% and 381 for the Cayenne, and this following order will continue in 2016, with the Mercedes-Benz GLE 500e somewhere in between. From the two electrified limousines, the Mercedes-Benz S500e beats the Porsche Panamera S e-Hybrid in its first year. In 2016, BMW will introduce the 740e version of its all-new 7-series, which will be limited by supply rather than demand.
The BMW i8, the only dedicated Plug-In Hybrid vehicle and the only PHEV sports car has sold more than 2.000 units in 2015, not bad considering its price point and practicality.
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