European Plug-In Electric Car Sales Surge, While Diesel Collapses In October

NOV 29 2017 BY MARK KANE 60

Plug-In Electric Car Sales In Europe – October 2017

October brings significant growth of plug-in electric car sales in Europe. Around 27,800 were delivered, which is 56% more than one year ago.

Recent delivery of 500 Renault ZOE Z.E. 40 available in Zity car sharing service in Madrid

The steady move up resulted in around 2.1% market share.

At the same time, Europe observes collapse in diesel-powered cars, which in one year lost nearly one fifth of its market share, shrinking from 49% to barely 42%. Two years ago it was more than 51%.

In total, more than 242,000 plug-in electric cars were sold in Europe in the first 10 months of 2017.

The best selling model in October was Renault ZOE with 2,205. The YTD number is 26,143 – nearly 10,000 more than the second best BMW i3.

Second in October was the Volkswagen e-Golf that nearly beat ZOE – 2,159 in October and 10,091 YTD.

The top 10 selling plug-in models for 2017 YTD:

  • #1 Renault ZOE 2,205 (26,143 YTD)
  • #2 BMW i3 – 1,687 (16,567 YTD)
  • #3 Nissan LEAF – 1,075 (15,914 YTD)
  • #4 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV1,494 (15,477 YTD)
  • #5 Tesla Model S773 (11,365 YTD)
  • #6 VW Passat GTE – 1244 (10,787 YTD)
  • #7 Mercedes GLC350e1,056 (10,332 YTD)
  • #8 VW e-Golf – 2,159 (10,091 YTD)
  • #9 Tesla Model X – 616 (9,392 YTD)
  • 10 BMW 225xe Active Tourer939 (8,763 YTD)

Comparison of plug-in electric car sales in the U.S. and Europe.

Plug-In Electric Car Sales In Europe – October 2017

Source: EV Sales Blog

Categories: Sales

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60 Comments on "European Plug-In Electric Car Sales Surge, While Diesel Collapses In October"

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It is sad that so many sites continue to include hybrids with EVs. Hybrids are oil based, not EVs. As such, they should count on the oil side, not EV.

Some of them are marginal no doubt bit If its got a plug and battery is big enough to qualify. It qualifies.

Until such time that energy density and weight improve significantly PHEVs are part of the solution.

We are starting to see a generational change in phevs with smaller 3cyl and ev range beyond all but the most rare of daily use cases.

Sorry, but no. Even the highest AER ranged PHEV, the Volt, does not have a range “beyond all but the most rare of daily use cases”.

With only about 69-70% of Volt miles powered by electricity, that means nearly a third of miles put on Volts are gasoline powered miles.

* * * * *

I don’t know how old the graph linked below is. It may be a few years out of date, but I doubt much has changed with the Volt’s only marginally improved range:

The i3 REX has more all electric range.

That might qualify.

How does that indicate PHEVs shouldn’t be included? Obviously people buying those Volts didn’t believe they could get by on a full electric. So, the alternative to those 70% electric miles would be 0% electric miles as they drove a standard hybrid.

PHEVs should absolutely be included when looking at the plug-in market. In 5 or 10 years we can start drawing distinctions, but right now a Volt driver is just as much on the cutting edge, driving change as someone with a Leaf or Model So.

Volt E miles are within 6% of Leaf miles

That graph is all but meaningless to me. Only the BLUE bars are defined… the other colors are????

Looks like the green area dominates for up to 70 miles daily? And the blue vanishes pretty soon after?

Those 30% of gas miles on the Volt represent trips that no BEV except Tesla’s can make. All of my local driving in my Volt is electric. Medium length trips, for example to Boston or Portsmouth both of which are about 50 miles away are at worst 50/50, or 100% EV if I’m luck enough to find a charger in a garage at my destination (the one in Portsmouth is working, the garage I use near symphony in Boston has been broken since Jan). I wouldn’t dare to make those trips in a Leaf, a Bolt would be fine. But the Bolt can’t make my summer Vermont or Maine trips, for that I would need 400 miles of range or 300 miles and access to a fast charger conveniently placed (true for Tesla in Vermont today, will be true for Tesla in Maine sometime next year). So bottom line is than a Volt will cover more EV miles than a Leaf because you can use all of it’s battery capacity and still make it home, in a Leaf you have to limit yourself to trips that are well within it’s range, and those trips can almost always be done within… Read more »

I agree that some are pretty lame excuses for an EV, but there really aren’t any practical alternatives yet. I have to make a one-way 300 mile drive tomorrow with two 10,000+ passes, winter conditions and no non-Tesla DC charging options. Then I have to do the whole drive over Saturday night. Even a Bolt doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of doing this drive without spending hours at a level 2 charger somewhere along the way.

My Volt is really the only sub-70,000$ car that can do this and I don’t have 70,000$ to spend on a car.

> My Volt is really the only sub-70,000$ car that can do this

A Prius Prime can do it.

Prius Prime is even less of an EV according to those who say PHEVs shouldn’t count.

A Prius Prime has less than half the EV Range of a Volt, in fact it has 10 miles less range then the 2011 Gen1 Volt. The Volt has enough range, 53 rated but I get as much as 70 in the summer if I avoid highways, that it can do most of it’s driving on battery alone, the Prius Prime can go to the grocery store and back but not much more. There is a legal definition of an EV based in the current tax code that the Volt meets and the Prius Prime doesn’t. Volt’s get the full EV tax credit, the Prius Prime only gets a partial credit. The difference comes down to the differing attitudes to EVs between GM and Toyota. GM has been an early mover in EVs so they designed the Volt as the best transitional EV that they could and then was the first company to ship an affordable mostly practical EV, the Bolt (mostly practical because 238 miles is good enough to handle all of the driving of second car but not good enough to be an only car). Toyota’s heart is not in BEVs, they flushed billions on FCEVs, so now… Read more »

If it has a plug it counts. My Volt has more electric miles on it than most iMiEV’s, i3 BEVs or early Leafs will ever have.
Are you going to limit the qualifying BEV’s to ones that actually have enough range to satisfy most drivers the vast majority of the time? Because the short legged BEVs I just mentioned aren’t half the car my Volt is.

I agree with you.

Just to play devil’s advocate: your Volt also has more gas miles in it than all LEAFs, iMiEVs, and i3s combined.

LOL! That is true as well.

Pretty generalized statement there. My Volvo XC60 T8 is on its way and I expect to be 90% electric. Total average daily miles for me and my wife is about 30, across multiple trips. So with mid day charging opportunities, even the paltry 17 mile electric range will cover most of our driving. Having such a holier than thou attitude of all or nothing isn’t doing electric car penetration a service. Why carry around and pay for an 80kwh battery when 11kwh gets me 90% of the way there? Especially when one of the production limiters across the board is battery availability.

Ah because you are still inheriting all the ICE disadvantages: fuel, oils, servicing, tail-pipe polution.

But AFAIK there is no EV that really compares with his XC60, at least not at that price point. And the same is true for people that own a Volt because they sometimes need more range, or any other PHEV that doesn’t happen to be a compact hatchback.

So if the only option is waiting for someone to build the car you need as an EV, or to dive 60, 70, 80, or 90% of your miles on electricity right now, I’d say the PHEV isn’t pretty good.

You can always do better, with extra spending, or some sacrifice. But not anyone can have a gigantic PV with enough battery storage to feed the grid with excess energy at any time needed and drive a Ioniq only if the distance is too far to take a bike. Because that would be as close to perfect as it can probably get.

Because anything less still could be improved.

This is debatable. In the real world many of those hybrids will do 90% of their miles/kilometers on electricity. And this will have a noticeable impact both on the oil and EV charging infrastructure industries.

“Electrified” vehicles, then. Europe dominates but where’s China?

China dominates Europe, in everything from percentage to absolute numbers to BEV vs. PHEV percentage.

No. Selling 10 PHEVs with 20 miles AER for the same price as regular gassers is vastly much better than selling one expensive 200 miles BEV. Now eventually all cars will be BEVs but we are not there yet.

In addition, it will be interesting to see numbers in about 6 months or less.
America is a LARGE % of the M3.

Why would EV sales in Europe and the US have exactly the same pattern?

Correction: *plug-in sales*, not EV sales.

Tesla’s quarterly bias toward domestic deliveries obviously affects the US numbers in a big way. But that shouldn’t affect the European numbers in the manner shown….

I’m definitely not going to say Tesla affects the Euro sales chart to the near the same degree as the US (cause it doesn’t – the most Tesla EVs sold in Europe for any quarter was Q3 2017 at ~4,750, before that, it was 4k in March 2017), but the Tesla quarterly bias 100% results in the same phenomenon in both regions. Europe has 50% more sales volume than the US, and Tesla only does about half as much business in Europe as the US, so the ‘quarterly spread’ can only effect the net EV sales amount in Europe by up to ~15% in any given month…but that is still fairly significant, and can often be seen on the charts. — Depending on where the cars are going internationally, it can take Tesla anywhere from 6 – 10 weeks once a car is completed in California to be a logged sale overseas. Tesla’s ‘late in the quarter’ sales rush in the US is actually a result of these international shipping delays, otherwise they would have no need to ‘surge build’. Nutshell: As soon as Tesla feels it can no longer build and ship a sale to the US, generally in… Read more »

Very interesting, Jay! Thanks for breaking out the numbers by month. I hadn’t thought that the shipping process to Europe would be that slow. Tesla is already leading this parade, and hopefully they will start moving past the Model 3 slowdowns in the months to come.
When they get to 5,000 3’s a month delivered (worldwide) it will be huge. But if and when they get to 5,000 a week it will be transformative.

It is not Tesla’s bias but Europe’s idiotic import and sales taxes that lower Tesla sales in Europe. Those hurt EVs even more than they do imported gas cars since with an EV you pay more money for the car and later less for fuel. EVs have a better TCO even in Europe but the big chunk of money that you need to pay initially is a big psychological barrier for many people.

There is no import tax on Teslas and VAT is on everything so nothing to whine about.

For $100k cars the initial price point is not very interesting since it’s for the rich and if they want to waste money then they do.

USA has end of quarter spikes because of Tesla.
EU has spikes due to registration milestones. Some are at end of year, but the UK is in Spring and Fall.
I believe the surge at end of 2016 was mainly due to reduction of Dutch incentives.

Nobody understands my question.

I’m asking why for two years (at least), plug-in sales in the US and Europe are in lockstep.

This is not a Tesla question. Tesla doesn’t sell the majority of EVs, anyway. This has to do with the buying patterns of consumers on two continents, and I can’t understand why they move in concert.

Can somebody oópls cite Norway’s October EV and purely electric / BEV sales?

It was cca 60% EV / 32 % BEV in September.


First of all it was not 60% in september, traditional hybrids does not count.

In October is was 21,3% BEV and 21,6% PHEV for a total of 42,9%.

(and 14,2% traditional hybrids if you want to use that info in any way).

Is there a graph showing the average price of new EV’s vs. the average price of new ICE cars? I suspect the moment the two lines come close to each other is the time when EV’s will really take off.

You might even be able to extrapolate the current pricing trends to get an idea when this is going to happen. Not sure on how to get that data though.

I doubt there’s a big downward trend in average EV sales price. It may even be going up, if Tesla sales are increasing. What is happening is that you now get a lot more EV for, say, $30k, than you did a few years ago.

Starting next year something like that gets you a 40kwh Leaf, whereas a few years ago you’d get a 24kwh model for that price. Bump up a little more and you can have a 60kwh Bolt, something you’d have had to spend twice that or more to get previously.

We’re still working our way up to a basic minimum specs standard for EVs; probably the Bolt is close, though eventually it may settle at 300 mile range as the entry point. Once we have that, the average EV sales price can start lowering.

“Europe observes collapse in diesel-powered cars, which in one year lost nearly one fifth of its market share…”

While any loss of market share for diesel powered cars is good, I find it rather disappointing that the well-publicized and wide-reaching “clean diesel” fraud resulted in a loss of only ~1/5 of its market. And to call that a “collapse” seems a bit overstated to me. Now, if it had dropped to less than half in a year, that I would call a “collapse”.

But maybe that’s just me.

Have to agree that calling deisels sales a colapse is a giant stretch but they are calling it the same on ICE auto websites…
Dont know about others but PSA is actualy having to import gasoline engines from China because the are set up so much so for deisels…
Even though all manfuctures were commiting emissions fraud through loop holes there are some still looking at fines via the letter of the law…
France is possibly going after PSA and FCA and Germany is looking at Mercedes while FCA is also facing law suits and fines in the US…

For myself, I would definitely call it a collapse for sure. You have to remember, you are talking about people who have bought diesel cars moving away back into conventional/hybrid/plug-in cars…its a huge turnaround and erosion of a core market that not so long ago was gaining incredibly fast. Here is a chart for Western Europe from the last two years, it is down from a high of ~57% just earlier off this chart. You have to think about this drop in W.Europe (the heart of diesel) akin to something like, ‘what would it take for gun sales in the US to drop 20% in a year?’ How hard would it be to convince 1 out of 5 gun owners that guns were now bad, that people shouldn’t own them, and to refuse buying them anymore? And in just 12 months? …the answer is: it would be really, really hard, and it would be an epic market change. It is hard to imagine almost any scenario in which that might happen, yet that is what has happened for diesel. Overall, a move in a calendar year of just a few percentages higher of lower in the auto segment brings headlines… Read more »

Thanks for the awesome insight on this.

Most of us Americans do not recognize the scale of diesel car sales, since that market really doesn’t exist here outside of heavy duty trucks. The comment on lost buyers Q1 to Q2 is staggering.

It is setting the EU market up really well for adoption of the numerous 200+ mile EVs coming soon.

The first thing to understand is that the scandal happened in the USA, NOT in Europe.

The second thing is that the choice for diesel over gasoline is a financial choice, pure and simple.
The tax structures that created a diesel market share of nearly 60% are mostly still in place. If you drive more than 15k or 20k or 25k km per year, depending on your country and tax regime, gasoline is just too expensive.

The drop in sales is mostly by people choosing to pay more for their driving because of environmental reasons. If you realize that, the drop is gigantic.

Hopefully the disruption of the status quo will make these people more open to considering EVs over the next few years.

Nice graphic. As a former TDI owner who first heard “~580K affected TDI’s US, ***11 million*** in Europe”, I don’t have a hard time understanding the hard fall. Europeans had to digest the whole affair, without nearly as much legal recourse or restitution. In light of fairness or “what the Americancs got”, that probably changed a few purchase decisions.

While very few Europeans own a gun (why would they) they often own a diesel car. The drop (roughly 3.5% of the total market) is most likely due to changes in taxation profiles in the larger countries. The dieselgate is a purely American thing which only few Europeans even know about…

42% is far from Collapse vs.2 % (included everything.)…nice exaggeration!!!!!….with millions of NEW cancerogene cars after the SCANDAL
……people Just don,t care–except 1-2% of rich greens………..

EVs are just getting started. It wouldn’t even be possible for more than a couple percentage of sales to be EVs because there aren’t even enough being produced.

“except 1-2% of rich greens”

Your diesel is “cheap” and your EV is “expensive” only because your communist government decided this way.
But if you wish, continue believing that you are doing the right thing. That is until you get your lung cancer at age 50…

In Germany there are two basic facts that until they change will ensure diesel is still a major player for the foreseeable future.
1. Fuel is really expensive. Over $5.50 per gallon. Even if diesel and gas were the same price, a vehicle that is 30% more efficient will result in significant savings and a very short payback period for the extra cost of a diesel over gas.
2. Gas and diesel are taxed differently creating a large price differential with diesel around $0.75 per gallon cheaper.

Items 1 and 2 form a multiplicative effect which leaves the cost per mile for diesel fuel around half as much as for gasoline. The trick is for EVs either through taxation policy or improvement in cost/performance to overcome that calculus.


Both points are correct, but you missed one thing.
You have to pay a higher tax for your diesel car compared to a gasoline car in germany.
For example a diesel with 2 liter engine size will cost as a diesel 300 € a year. A gasoline car with the same sized engine will cost 150€ a year.

Yeah, I really struggle to believe diesel is half the cost of gas, all-in. Have you added EGR, DPF, urea and other maintenance that is unique to compliant diesel’s exhaust road-map (to get ~.06 gram NOX)? Are we amortizing in the higher costs of a diesel car, and the taxes mentioned? Globally, diesel has chased upward against the price of refined gas. You can only “crack” so much of it from a barrel of crude. Wherever the subsidized euro diesel price is, it has to be tighter to gas than it was?

I suppose we could be like VW, and claim health risks from nitrogen oxides are unproven, and then play hardball against the evil regulators. As much as I’m sure the good soldiers inside VW fall in line, this approach isn’t working so well anymore. Sure would be cheaper. Good for profits, ad budgets, etc. Just don’t live in congested hamlets, like Stuttgart.

Diesel would be DEAD here if tax advantages were taken away.
Lots of company cars. Due to CO2 limits deciding how much the employee has to pay for the private use of those cars, they have to buy diesels. Or EVs.
Also carbon tax still too low formdiesel fuel compared to gasoline.

Politicians afraid to touch it.

Cheers from Austria

Yeah, and EVs would be pretty much dead too if the tax advantage would be removed.

I have decided to forgo the PHEV/Rx route because I think they are almost as bad to build as owning two ICE cars when you only need one.

However they are still plug-in and thus qualifie. Most such owners have done the sums and bought own that fits them.

I understand the need for a catchy headline and first section, but that is not an excuse for tendentious miscalculation: a decline from 49 to 42% is 7%, which is rather precisely one seventh, and not one fifth.
Don’t create a reality – observe it.

No, it’s a decline of 15%. 42 / 49.

I think you would compare the decline to what it was (49%) rather than to what is has become (42%)

BTW one seventh (1/7) is 14.2%

Is that the new Leaf or old?

Plugins capturing 2% so quickly is a good news. Still Diesel is a close #2 behind Petrol. Still a long way to go.

But change takes some time and I hope Diesel will lose more share as more customers flock to Hybrids to begin with.