In-Depth Look At Alternative Energy Vehicle Sales In Europe

APR 5 2017 BY MARK KANE 14

More than a half-million electrified passenger vehicles (a term we hate, as it refers in this case to both hybrids and plug-ins) were sold in Europe (traditionally speaking) last year.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

If we look close at the stats, we can see the market share and growth of each category:

  • Conventional hybrids (full hybrids + mild hybrids): 303,506 (up 29%)
  • Plug-in hybrids: 112,999 (up 17%)
  • All-electric: 90,795 (up 3%)

At first glance, once would expect that plug-ins would be growing faster than hybrids, but they are not.

For BEVs, at least part of the reason for the off year was, as found in US in 2015, was the late introduction of new, much anticipated models (like the Renault ZOE Z.E. 40 for example), and some incentive uncertainties in major countries.

It will be interesting whether or not we will see more gains in plug-in car sales over hybrid car sales this year; the early data points through mid-March are currently tracking a positive result with plug-ins holding a slight advantage.

Other various kinds of alternative fuel cars (such as natural gas vehicles (NGV) + LPG-fueled vehicles + ethanol (E85) vehicles) are now in retreat (down 20% to 176,730)

The largest markets, depending on powertrain, type are:


  • France – 21,751
  • Germany – 11,410
  • UK – 10,264


  • UK – 24,714
  • Netherlands- 18,612
  • Germany – 13,751


  • UK – 52,002
  • France – 50,961
  • Italy – 37,128

source: WardsAuto

Categories: Sales


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14 Comments on "In-Depth Look At Alternative Energy Vehicle Sales In Europe"

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I think LPG is more often aftermarket conversion and is very popular in some countries in Europe.
176,730 number probably doesn’t include it and is misleading.

Buying a decent EV is quite difficult in Europe. Teslas are 30% pricier than in the US. Not all countries have incentives for EVs. Many EV models are offered only on the big markets (Germany, France, UK) And the charging networks are a mess – many small regional networks that require different RIFD cards, registrations and etc. and no europe-wide ones (except for Tesla)


If you think Europe’s charging networks are a mess, you probably haven’t tried to use the networks in America…

In the same vein, the new 41-kWh ZOE seems to be offered continent-wide. Seems to me like a winning range/size/design/price combination for most of Western Europe.

The e-Golf, too, has larger battery now and I think it’s offered continent-wide.

Lack of incentives is a shame, no argument about that. I’m guessing that Italy, for example, has little to no incentives, looking at its chronically abysmal plug-in market share. According to EAFO, they do have some annual-tab exemption, as well as local (city-specific?) subsidies. Probably not enough. You need a hefty nationwide subsidy to start gaining a foothold, esp. when your own automakers are pissing all over the EV concept.

At least you guys have a network, in Australia there is pretty much nothing. The only one doing anything is Tesla which is hardly a “public” network.

I think you’re wrong to hate the term “electrified”. I think it’s a very useful label to describe increased influence of electric motors in operation of vehicles.

The problem here is actually that the hybrid numbers aren’t split up.

Your numbers are not for Europe, but for the EU “proper”.

In particular, they *exclude* Norway, which with >25,000 brand-new BEVs sold in 2016 would top your BEV list, and that’s before accounting for the fact that at least ~2,000 of Germany’s BEV “sales” are really one-day transfers to Norway.

With nearly 20,000 PHEVs, Norway might also crowd flaky Netherlands out of the continent’s #2 spot for PHEVs.

Switzerland with ~6,000 sales, is also part and parcel of the European EV scene, despite not being in the EU.

And that’s before mentioning mavericks like the Ukraine, which added ~2,500 EVs last year, mostly imports from US lease returns.

Other than that, even though it’s somewhat annoying when hybrids and plug-ins are bundled together, it’s good to see that in the EU the former are gaining ground at the expense of downright ICE. That’s *not* what’s happened in the US, with Toyota’s Prius/Camry hybrid suite (which accounts for the vast majority of ICE-hybrid sales here) down ~30% vs. 2015.

But with LUV BEV and passenger BEV it’s more than 25,000 in France for 2016. The 21,751 BEV in France is just for passengers vehicule.

PHEV’s were subsidized in the Netherlands until last year, so a final spike. Now only BEV’s are subsidized there.

I wish people would stop saying “the” Ukraine. No article necessary. Indeed, Ukraine’s EV market is enjoying healthy growth thanks to used imports (Leafs essentially).

Hating Russia and their dirty oil can be very beneficial 🙂

It would be nice to see all subsidies for hybrids, along with low distance EVs, to STOP.

These are going to hurt nation’s electrical grid long term sine many of those will be charged in the daytime.

However, if a car get say 150 MPC (or 250 kmpc), that will enable nearly all car drivers to charge nearly ONLY at night time. That will help the base-load plants and grids, which will help all of the nations.

Yeah, we’re hungry for some circular fire squads, because there are just TOO MANY of us!


What should we do with the midday excess of solar power then? 😛

Charging during the day might rather help stabilize the grids as solar gets popular across the globe…

hybrids are going gangbusters this year with diesel being on the nose and new metal.

march in the uk saw 4% of the market running electrified drivetrains. it looks likely 2017 will see 5% at least for a month or two.