EV and PHEV sales in Europe continue to break records in 2020 with a 116% increase of deliveries in the first nine months to over 775,000 sales of plug-in vehicles, which is 9% of the total European car market, triple the share of 2019! Of this, full electric cars make up 422,945 sales, up 77% on the first three quarters of 2019, which gives them a 4.9% share of the car market. PHEV sales surge with a 196% improvement to 353,892 units, which is a share of 4.1%. These impressive growth figures are a result of the new average fleet emissions quota of 95 grams per kilometer which are virtually impossible to be reached for any brand without plug-in vehicles. The latter will be counted double towards the fleet average. Another reason for the fast growth is the continued launch of new nameplates, most notably PHEVs.
In the electric car ranking, the Renault Zoe continues to break all records and looks set to reclaim the title of best selling electric car in Europe from the Tesla Model 3 which has suffered from production interruptions in the USA due to the COVD-19 pandemic. Tesla might still strike back in the last quarter, as a first shipment of Chinese-made Model 3’s arrives in Europe in the beginning of December. Still, with sales up 89% the Zoe racks up a great performance and will finish 2020 with more than 90,000 deliveries as it seems unphased by the arrival of new competitors like the Peugeot e-208 and the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa-e. Now that battery supply constraints have been removed, the Hyundai Kona EV is closing in on the podium position. It also helps the Korean crossover that the Volkswagen e-Golf has been replaced by the all-new Volkswagen ID.3. The latter was launched in September and will storm the charts in Q4 but it’s unlikely to reach a podium spot this year. It will be a top contender in 2021, for sure.
The Peugeot e-208 has a take rate of almost 15%, which is above expectations but its volume that trails the Zoe by a large margin still doesn’t prove that building a modular platform for BEVs and ICE versions is better than standalone EV platforms as Renault and VW Group have chosen. The Nissan Leaf and BMW i3 are struggling with all the fresh competition and see their sales sink, but not as much as the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla’s large models. We welcome the Polestar 2, Mazda MX-30 and Honda e to the ranking in Q3, with the Polestar the most promising of these newcomers.
In the rest of 2020 and early 2021, we expect a number of new entrants, which should help accelerate the growth of EV sales in Europe to close in on the 10% market share level. In alphabetical order, the most important upcoming new launches in the coming months are: Audi Q4 e-Tron, BMW i4, iX3 and iX, Dacia Spring, Fiat 500e, Ford Mustang Mach-e, Jaguar XJ, Mercedes-Benz EQA, EQB and EQS, MG5, Nissan Ariya, Peugeot e-2008, Opel/Vauxhall Corsa e as well as EV versions of the PSA midsized vans Peugeot Traveller, Citroën Spacetourer, Opel/Vauxhall Zafira Life and Toyota Proace Verso, Renault Twingo Electric, Seat Elborn, Skoda Enyaq, Tesla Model Y, ID.4 as well as the Volvo XC40 recharge.
2020 Q1-Q3 EV sales Europe
Electric Car Segment
% EV 2020
Tesla Model 3
Hyundai Kona EV
Kia Niro EV
Smart Fortwo ED
Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Smart Forfour ED
Tesla Model X
Tesla Model S
Hyundai Nexo FCEV
Plug-in Hybrid electric cars
Plug-in hybrid vehicles had a great first nine months of 2020 with sales up almost 3-fold thanks to a flock of new PHEV models hitting the market. Stricter government regulations have forced manufacturers to increase battery size and thus range of their PHEVs to reach a decent range on a full charge which helps them get below 50 g/km of CO2, the threshold used by many governments to qualify for subsidies or even to be allowed in some city centers. It’s also the threshold used by the EU in its supercredit system that will be implemented this year, which gives automakers extra credits for every car sold that emits less than 50 g/km and fines them for an average above a set limit that will be lower every year (95 g/km in 2020).
With technology improving and automakers increasingly relying on electrified vehicles to keep down their average fuel economy, a wave of new and updated PHEVs are being launched this year as manufacturers are unlikely to be able to reach those 95 g/km without any plug-in hybrid vehicles. On the other hand, there’s an increasingly strong countermovement voicing their concerns about real-world emissions of plug-in hybrids being a multitude of the test results. If governments become convinced that PHEVs are not as environmentally friendly as they seem and legislation changes again, sales of these vehicles could plummet just as hard as they climbed.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is no longer the best selling plug-in hybrid in Europe, a title it has held ever since its launch. In fact, in Q3 the Outlander wasn’t even in the top-5 of best selling PHEVs. The Ford Kuga PHEV is now the new leader, although it may struggle to maintain the top spot till the end of the year as Ford had to halt the production lines at the end of October until an issue with the batteries is solved. Already delivered cars will be recalled starting December. The Outlander does still hold the highest take rate among PHEVs as nearly 80% of Outlanders sold in Europe are equipped with an additional electric motor. The Volvo XC40 Recharge has moved onto the podium and could finish the year on top of the PHEV chart if Ford is unable to restart production soon enough. The XC40 had a take rate of nearly 30% in Q3, and an all-electric version will be launched in Q4.
The Volvo XC60 T8 is in fourth place with a take rate of 32.3% and makes it a top-4 that’s 100% crossovers. The Volkswagen Passat GTE follows with a take rate of 20.1% and the Mercedes-Benz A250e which was the #2 best seller in Q3 and is therefore a serious podium contender for the full-year chart. The Volvo S60/V60 T8 have a comparable take rate as the other models from the Swedish brand at just over 30%, while the BMW X5 45e is the best selling large SUV with a plug-in powertrain. It has a take rate of almost 40%.
2020 Q1-Q3 PHEV sales Europe
% PHEV 2020
Ford Kuga PHEV
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Volvo XC40 Recharge PHEV
Volvo XC60 T8
Volkswagen Passat GTE
Volvo S60/V60 T8
BMW X5 45e
Peugeot 3008 PHEV
Hyundai Ioniq PHEV
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Monthly registrations on all BEV, PHEV, FCEV and HEV by country and model.
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