Best Selling Electric Cars In Europe: Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S and Renault ZOE

JUL 23 2014 BY MARK KANE 15

tesla model s driving rhd uk 4

Tesla Model S #2 in Europe

Best Selling All-Electric Cars In Europe: Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S and Renault ZOE

Best Selling All-Electric Cars In Europe: Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S and Renault ZOE

In terms of plug-in hybrid cars in Europe, the clear champ is only one – Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

But for pure electric cars, the market is led by Nissan LEAF with sales in the first half of 2014 reaching 7,109 or nearly 25% of all EVs.

Tesla Model S with 5,330 is in a solid second place (18% market share).  However, the biggest surprise for many will be that roughly two thirds of those cars were sold in Norway!

Third place belongs to Renault ZOE, however 3,669 does not allow it to rest as the BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-up! are close (we don’t know exactly how close at this time, but believe that this will be a thin difference).

Those three models all together hold approximately 56% of all pure electric cars sold in first six months of this year in Europe.

Graphic via Avere France (Francais)

Categories: Nissan, Renault, Sales, Tesla

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15 Comments on "Best Selling Electric Cars In Europe: Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S and Renault ZOE"

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I wonder where the eGolf will slot in now that it’s rolling out. I hear that Golfs are quite popular in Europe. Perhaps it will be a serious contender going forward.

Along the same lines, the GTE could possible give the Outlander a good run for its money. All the specs are right, all that’s needed is for VW to actually be serious about plug-ins (which in my mind is still in question)

Micke Larsson

Quite popular is an understatement. It’s the top selling car in Europe for the last 6 years. It’s been the monthly top seller for every month since march 2010.
And in 2013 it sold 50% more cars than the number 2 on the model sales ranking.

The GTE should beat the living sh*t out of the Outlanders sales numbers if priced correctly. But thankfully they don’t compete but both will add to an increasing market of EV’s. 🙂


I never meant to imply that the GTE would compete with the Outlander (i.e. actually steal sales). I too am pretty sure sales will be additive. I was simply wondering about the relative sales numbers. It seems you and DaveMart are pretty certain that it will blow the Outlander out of the water in terms of sales. I hope you’re right.

And meanwhile, I’m left longing for the GTE to cross the pond. This is simply the most compelling plug-in for a performance addict like myself. Yes, I know we have the i3, but I’m not keen on the form factor. It sits too high for my liking and doesn’t look as nice as the GTE (to these eyes). Plus a GTI is priced much lower than a comparable BMW in the states – I’m still hopeful that the price would be in the mid to high 30s rather than starting in the low 40s like the BMW.

Micke Larsson

I know what you meant :), cross shoping the GTE and the Outlander will never happen.
I don’t even think the XC90 phev and the Outlander will be cross shopped, they are too far off each other within the SUV market.

It will be a hit. But then the GTE, A3 e-tron and Passat plug-in (which all will start selling this year and the GTE and e-tron will hopefully have deliveries before the year is ended too, even though I wont believe it until I see it :P) are different animals from what we have mostly seen before on the EV market.
They are not EV’s first, they are mass market cars first and EV’s second as an affordable option. I think most people will be shocked by the sales numbers.

Micke Larsson

How about maybe looking at the other side of the pond? The BYD Qin might be coming sooner than the GTE.
Assuming it will get through the safety testings and general quality controls.

So far I’ve only seen one chinese car get through the Euro NCAP with all five stars. And that one was designed by some of the best safety engineers and former employees of SAAB and Volvo so even though it’s not cheating it wasn’t all that surprising.

It BYD Qin wouldn’t get 5 stars in the Euro NCAP though, but it might get it from the US NCAP though.


I did not mean to imply that.
One of the big reasons why people may not consider a small SUV is petrol consumption.

The Outlander PHEV largely fixes that.

However the PHEV Golf sits squarely in the most popular segment of the market, with a PHEV Passat to follow for those who fancy a saloon.

I can see booming sales for all of them, so long as VW is not too greedy in its pricing.

The problem for small BEVs in Europe has been that the segment of the market which buys city cars can get a petrol version for $10 or so less, whilst bigger car drivers are often company car drivers who need to be able to travel long distances frequently.

These cars square the circle.


From the link:
‘In total, 17,235 Outlander PHEVs have been sold in Europe in less than 10 months.’

That is more than all the BEVs combined!

Since the VW GTE is a very different car to the small SUV form, I think that they will simply add to the sales of PHEVs with very little impact on Outlander sales.

If you want a medium size hatch, the VW is the one, but for a small SUV……

Micke Larsson

That is not even close to all the BEVs combined.

You must mean that it’s about the same number as 3 of the BEV models during the last 6 months.

So the Outlander PHEV for 10 months back is about half the BEV sales during the last 6 months.

It’s still impressive though, it was the 3rd most sold EV in 2013, behind 2 BEV models. And is the joint top selling EV so far in 2014 with the Leaf (I don’t know who is leading, the numbers are pretty close).


You are in the right of it.
I did not check the number series carefully enough, and wrongly assumed that they were for comparable periods.


The i3 is indeed very close: 3.482 sold in 2014 as of May:

Assuming they sold similar numbers as in May it could already be above 4000 sold.

Hard to say how many are REx, but since both have almost the same EV range it would be weird to count the REx model with PHEVs that have less than half as much fully electric range.

Micke Larsson

The e-UP is probably just a couple of hundred sales behind the Zoe too. It would take a more in depth study to truly be sure of who gets to be up on the podium.
But I guess the french will do what they can to show the Zoe up there since it’s probably the last month it will ever be on a podium.


I’m just waiting for the Belgium numbers to publish the Europe article for June, but based on what i have, the i3 is roughly at 4.200 units (650 in June), if we consider the BMW a pure electric car, then it is #3, 500 units ahead of the Zoe.

The e-Up! (500 sales last month) is at some 3.500 units YTD, having been surpassed by the Zoe in June, thanks to a super-month by the french hatch (1.016 units in one month!)

So, looking just at pure electrics, and considering the i3 as one of them, we have:

1. Leaf
2. Model S
3. i3
4. Zoe
5. e-Up!


The e-Golf has very limited production capacity and is a slow charger for charging at home. Slow charging is e-Golfs major drawback. Its 6x slower than ZOE when charging at home or at the 4500 public TYP2 Chargers.


If there are DC fast-chargers available for it, it shouldn’t be too bad. It will charge up overnight at that ‘slow’ speed. But the issue is really whether there are enough CCS DC fast-chargers being put in.

There are certainly not enough in the USA. 🙁


I’m glad to see Europe get one of their own cars on a pedestal. Perhaps more of them will get on there now that the eGolf, E-Up, Mercedes B-Class, and BMW i3 are now available.

I wish the ZOE was available in the USA, seems like a nice car.