European Union Electric Car Sales Up 58% In Q1 2015


In terms of growth, the UK is the clear lead with sales of electric car shooting up by 134% in Q1 2015 (compared to Q1 2014).

The UK was followed by France where sales increased 69%.

But the bigger picture is what matters most.

The European Union as a whole saw sales of electric cars shoot up by 58% in Q1 2015, reaching a volume of well over 20,000 units sold in the first three months of the year.

The growth pace in Europe far exceeds the U.S. right now.  However, total volume in Europe is still a bit below the U.S., but that could change soon.

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18 Comments on "European Union Electric Car Sales Up 58% In Q1 2015"

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Anybody have theories as to why sales are up sharply? Word is getting around on how cheap they are to drive? New incentives? German EVs now becoming more available?


– Countries like UK and France are increasing incentives.
– Plug-In vehicles are available from many more sources, and in many new shapes and sizes
– European Gas prices are at least 3x US gas prices, so the economy of owning EV’s are far better
– Small cars (which most EV’s still are) are more common in EU than in the US

+1, with some corrections:

– The gas price factor has always been there, so it doesn’t explain the current surge

+ I think EU economy is looking better in 2014-5 than it looked in 2012-3, when the US shot ahead while EU EV sales disappointed.

Also, a speculation: Americans are much quicker to buy stuff, in particular cars and novel technologies. The average European consumer is more cautious. But by now with the Leaf having nearly half-decade track record, the esteemed German makers on board, etc. etc., the European buyer is perhaps more willing to take the risk with this new technology. This includes fleet buyers, by the way.

more models = more buyers

As far as I can tell, the sudden (if belated, from an American viewpoint) European surge in plug-in EV sales is all due to new incentives from the various governments.

1. It’s not due to the price of gas. Gas prices were already twice as high in Europe. If prices are now three times as much, I think that’s because American gas prices have gone down… not because European gas prices have gone up.

2. It’s not due to lack of availability. The Opel Ampera, which is the European version of the GM Volt, was canceled due to lackluster sales.

3. Just look at Norway. That country has had an amazingly high percentage sales of PEVs, higher than any other country (worldwide, not just in Europe), and that has been going on since 2013, if not before. Why? According to Wikipedia: “Among the existing government incentives, all-electric cars are exempt in Norway from all non-recurring vehicle fees, including purchase taxes, which are extremely high for ordinary cars, and 25% VAT on purchase, together making electric car purchase price competitive with conventional cars.”

1) France/UK increased incentives.
2) Norway got cheap EV (e-golf/e-up), that can be afforded by ordinary person, far, far, far cheaper then any ICE.
2) France/Germany have plans for increasing DC/QC stations.
3) As some pointed out, we now have bit better economic situation.
4) Also some proposed regulations will require up to 20% of OEM fleet to be *EVs. So OEMs may have already started to pressure car dealerships to sell *EVs.

i can only speak for the situation in sweden, where the incentives have not changed (it has if anything gotten worse with our new gowerment, with insecurity about if the money for the incentive (about 4000 euro) will last or run out leaving you without it)
despite of that situation we have seen >1% market shear for the second month in a row here so it is not incentives.

i think they are getting more acceptable and the price of them have dropped lately. especialy the leases. (3000kr/month for the leaf)

but also awareness has grown aloft lately.
i think tesla is to thank here, them being in the news allot makes ppl geting aware of other evs to.

More congestion pricing, and benefits of driving ev’s in special lanes. The tell two friends factor, as early adopters convince the more slower to adopt new technology crowd of the benefits of ev’s. Also from a statistical perspective there is almost an unlimited field for expansion as most people are not now driving ev’s.

Are these numbers BEV only? They must be, because they are far from the numbers for total EV’s sold in Europe (BEV + PHEV).

The total numbers for the first quarter is 37-38k for all EVs.

And total volume for both BEVs and total EVs are higher than for the US.

And total YoY increases in sales for EVs in Europe for the first quarter is an even more impressive 99% (PHEVs having a faster growth than BEVs).

Yes, Renault is going with just BEV sales here I believe (as that is all they offer, lol)

Smart move since Renault/Nissan are totally dominant on the BEV side in Europe.
And it will satisfy the purists too. 🙂

They jusy got more models they like.
– Outlander PHEV available in UK and France from april 2014.
– Golf GTE and Audi e-tron – from autumn 2014.

This year new Zoe + Passat GTE will spur sales little bit.

And the growth in Europe is even larger since Norway is not part of the European Union (the +58%, since it is growth in EU, cannot include Norway).

When including Norway (if it’s not included) the growth gets lower in percentage (but higher in absolute numbers) since their growth in percentage is less than the 58%.

Feels like the world is just waking up to the realities of driving electric. Quiet, cheap way to get around.

More folks have friends who have one. And most of us are great evangelists for the tech.

More folks keep seeing these pesky chargers everywhere around us.

Tesla makes awesome world leading cars that increase the cachet of driving electric. They give us something to brag about. Abruptly woke up the lazy, slow talking, sleeping dogs of auto manufacturing.

Nissan keeps making the ‘Beetle’ of electric cars and they are chugging along and catching on everywhere as an economical, quiet, reliable mode of transport for hundreds of thousands of people world wide.

The word is getting out. Can’t wait for next years models. More quick charging across all models please!


As already pointed out by Mikael, the data reported is NOT for all plug-ins.
(I guess it’s for BEVs only)
Maybe that should be clarified in the article? Eric…?

Even more impressive are sales of all plug-ins, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association

Plug-in sales in Europe (EU + Norway + Switzerland) in Q1 increased by 92.1% to 33,835.

Plug-in sales in the EU alone in Q1 increased by 117.9% to 24,630.

And since Total car sales in EU + Norway + Switzerland in Q1 have been 3,635,346, EV share there is 0.93%.

Isn’t this worth to be added to the article?