All-Electric Car Sales In Western Europe Down 0.7% In May

JUN 26 2016 BY MARK KANE 8

BMW i3, Volkswagen e-Golf, Nissan LEAF and Renault ZOE at fast charging station in France

BMW i3, Volkswagen e-Golf, Nissan LEAF and Renault ZOE at fast charging station in France

Europe's electric car market fails to build up steam (Source: EagleAID)

Europe’s electric car market fails to build up steam (Source: EagleAID)

All-electric car sales in Western Europe decreased slightly in May (-0.7%) year-over-year to around 5,800.

BEVs apparently needed to take a deep breath after long-run of growth, because lower sales were reported in 10 out of 16 markets monitored by AID.

Perhaps some of problem could be attributed to the malaise for ‘old, 1st gen all-electric cars’ that has beset the US market now waiting on the next generation’s arrival later this year, creeping into Europe.

But mostly, it is two specific (and very external forces) that are causing the downward pressure:

  • Germany’s new incentives kick off in June (up to €4,000off the MSRP, and up to  €3,000 off the sticker price for PHEVs), which means a lot less sales were made in May (German May results can be found here)
  • Norway felt a 23.7% drop in all-electric sales.  Often the largest BEV market in Europe, recent incentive changes have leveled the field for PHEVs and the market is now finding a new equilibrium for the two types of plug-ins.  PHEVs in May went up a massive 132% as a result.  (Norway’s May results can be found here)

On the other hand, France is doing great up 71.4% in May with over a 1% market share.

As always we enjoy sharing uber-pessimistic EagleAID’s opinion on the plug-in situation as a contrarian viewpoint, and its monthly “analysis” which refuses to acknowledge any actual research into the ‘why’ behind the ups and downs of the market (who needs to mention PHEVs this month right?)

“Last month, Europe’s car buyers not only bought far fewer electric cars than expected, but to the dismay of an outwardly upbeat electric car industry, May sales of pure electric cars in Western Europe fell in ten of the sixteen markets monitored by AID every month.

Excluding plug-ins (PHEVs), West Europe’s May’s electric car penetration – curtailed by buyers’ fast-fading enthusiasm in Norway – eased back to 0.55 per cent from 0.63 per cent during the same month last year, according to AID’s exclusive monthly analysis.

In France, the one chink of light, May’s electric car sales rose 71.4 per cent, resulting in a 1.04 per cent electric car sales share for the month.

Although Germany’s dip in May sales was expected, the same cannot be said for a sudden shift into reverse in nine other West European markets.

May’s poor turnout was particularly disappointing for the industry because the month saw the fastest rise in overall car sales this year.

While none of that appears to have triggered any alarm bells at autoindustry headquarters, the same certainly cannot be said for an ominous looking change in consumer sentiment in Norway, long-seen as a bellwether of underlying consumer interest in electric cars.

The sudden swing in fortunes in Norway, where May sales of electric cars slumped by nearly a quarter, following a distinct loss of momentum since the start of this year, is potentially deeply worrying for the electric car industry.”

It was down .7% in May right?  Not 70%?   Just checking.

Source: EagleAID

Categories: Sales

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8 Comments on "All-Electric Car Sales In Western Europe Down 0.7% In May"

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Another Euro point of view

In Europe so far, it is more or less as follows:

Countries with big EV incentives: big EV sales figures

Countries with no EV incentives: very small sales figures.

As simple as that.

Another Euro point of view

In France for example, EV incentives are massive despite France’s big budget deficit. I suspect however the French to think that promoting EV’s could be a fix for their loss making nuclear industry.

I think the French have a system of feebates in place. This may explain why EV demand in France continues to grow compared to plug-in hybrids.

“The basic idea of a feebate is simple. Buyers of inefficient vehicles are levied a surcharge (the “fee”), while buyers of efficient vehicles are awarded a rebate (the “bate”). By affecting the purchase cost up front, feebates speed the production and adoption of more efficient vehicles, saving oil, insecurity, cost, and carbon.” —

Yes, of course. It is ridiculous to expect people to sacrifice their own personal convenience or finances or anything else if they have zero assurance that others also have to do their part. So until BEVs beat ICE on price and convenience, say 2025, if you want to have change you need to make sure that capitalism works the way it was always supposed to: Align the private good with the public one – so that people making selfish choices are also in fact making choices that benefit society as a whole. I don’t really understand why this is so hard for Americans to grasp. You seem to have some very strong knee-jerk reactions to words like “tax” or “regulation” that to my mind demonstrate an unwillingness to actually stop and consider what taxes and regulations are actually sensible. Most of us understand the “tragedy of the commons” problem, whether we realize it or not. Very few people think it is a bad idea to regulate how much fish can legally be taken out of the ocean each year, and we understand that this is because the common resource would be destroyed if there were no limits (and there’s plenty… Read more »
Another Euro point of view

@Terawatt, I agree that incentives are a good think. I did not write it was not. Incentives will be needed for many years in my opinion. How many is difficult to tell.

A lot of people are waiting for the updated batteries that will come end of this year in Europa. For example the Nissan Leaf from 24 kWh to 30 kWh.

Not sure if you tried, but didn’t find that very funny. The 30 kWh LEAF arrived late last year. For Norway’s part, the fall in BEV sales is thanks to our right-wing government deciding it would rather give some handouts to it’s equally right-wing voters, who have long been very angry about the many and great advantages given to people who choose a BEV. These people often have the quite senseless position of being “anti-green”, so to please them the government decided to give rebates also to those who don’t want to buy a BEV. This is a stupid policy because it isn’t targeted at all. A lot of these buyers will not be plugging in or hardly plugging in, and many of the cars that qualify have such pathetic battery packs AND pathetic power in all-electric mode that they will end up not being driven much in said mode at all. People who previously could only afford a sedan can now get an X5 plug-in that on average consumes more black gold than the sedan would do. Those who live in condos without access to charging will get the PHEV, which is less efficient than the hybrid when they… Read more »
> recent incentive changes have leveled the field for PHEVs I take issue with this. It has made the field LESS level! No incentives should be on offer for PHEVs, in Norway or anywhere else, beyond the pretty steep carbon tax we already have (which is why gasoline/diesel is three to four times US prices over here). If PHEVs need any further incentivizing perhaps the carbon tax should be increased, but an incentive to BUY one as opposed to actually plug it in is an incredibly blunt device that wastes a ton of money for little effect. I live in a condo and paid to get the necessary electrical installation in place at my parking spot in our shared garage. Nobody else in the building has anywhere to charge, and this is a very common situation wherever people share garages, even in Norway which as you know is relatively far along the EV adoption run. Now all these people go into a shop and see a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid version of the same car, they’ll buy the plug-in and save $5000 on the spot. But they won’t plug it in, so in fact they’ll be slightly LESS efficient… Read more »