Plug-in electric car registrations in Europe in Q4 2015 (source: ACEA)

Plug-in electric car registrations in Europe in Q4 2015 (source: ACEA)

*According to registration data released by the ACEA, the European plug-in electric car market doubled in 2015 to a record high of 186,170 (compared to 92,455 in 2014). And that's only new passenger cars, without at least several thousand commercial EVs.

The total result concerns 22 countries in the European Union and Norway with Switzerlands (EFTA). In the fourth quarter, sales nearly hit 70,000, which was more than conventional hybrids (full hybrids + mild hybrids)!

Total hybrid registrations stood at 234,170 in 2015, which means that in 2016 even relatively moderate growth could enable plug-ins to overtake hybrids.

"In the fourth quarter of 2015, total alternative fuel vehicle registrations in the EU continued the positive momentum (+21.1%), totalling 164,718 units. Of these, electric vehicle (EV) registrations showed a substantial increase (+160.5%), more than doubling. EV registrations rose from 22,531 units in Q4 2014 to 58,689 units in Q4 2015. Demand for new hybrid vehicles (HEV) also grew significantly (+28.8%), reaching 60,911 units. On the other hand, new registrations of cars powered by propane or natural gas showed a double-digit dip (-31.8%) similarly to the previous quarter, totalling 45,118 – more than 20,000 units less than in Q4 2014.

Among the EU’s major markets, the Netherlands saw the largest increase of AFVs registered over the last quarter (+258.1%), followed by France (+43.7%), Germany (+27.8%) and the UK (+17.4%). Growth in these countries was fully driven by electric and hybrid electric car markets, especially in the Netherlands where the largest number of new electric cars was totalled. Italy performed less well compared to Q4 2014 (-23.6%), mainly due to the decline observed in the gas-fuelled car registrations, which represent more than 80% of total AFVs.

In 2015, more than half a million AFVs were registered in the EU, up 20% compared to 2014. This represents 4.2% of total passenger car registrations. The uplift was fully sustained by the electric (+108.8%) and hybrid electric (+23.1%) markets, while the other alternative fuels declined (-8.4%)."

ACEA put in the Electric Vehicle category various types of drivetrains from all-electric, to plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (those are rare).

Netherlands (in part due to the rush to avoid higher taxes of plug-in hybrids) took #1 with 43,441! That's more than Norway (33,721). Top 5 is closed out by three countries - UK (28,715), Germany (23,481) and France (22,867).

Those five countries hold nearly 82% (152,225) of the plug-in passenger car registrations in Europe.

Plug-in electric car registrations in Europe in 2015 (source: ACEA)

Plug-in electric car registrations in Europe in 2015 (source: ACEA)