Volkswagen Golf GTE, Mercedes C350e, Audi A3 e-tron and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Ahead Of ICE Counterparts In Netherlands

JUL 28 2015 BY MARK KANE 34

Mercedes-Benz C350e

Mercedes-Benz C350e

With nearly 2,700 sales, June was one of the better months for plug-in electric car sales in the Netherlands. Stunning is that models with a plug-in hybrid version are typically selling better as PHEV.

The best selling model with charging inlet was the Volkswagen Golf GTE (652), but most important is that around every second Golf sold in the Netherlands in June was GTE.

For the Mercedes-Benz C350e plug-in ratio was even higher – two-thirds of all Mercedes C-Class.

Also, the Audi A3 e-tron noted more sales than ICE A3.

It’s hard to beat the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV reaching 99% share in Outlander sales in peak months, although plug-in dominance among other models is very strong too.

The reason for strong plug-in hybrid sales in the Netherlands is mostly high incentives.

Source: EagleAID, EV Sales Blog

Categories: Sales

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34 Comments on "Volkswagen Golf GTE, Mercedes C350e, Audi A3 e-tron and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Ahead Of ICE Counterparts In Netherlands"

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“Stunning is that models with a plug-in hybrid version are typically selling better as PHEV.”

Why is it stunning? This is a rational decision if someone has one car and needs to go both short distances (electrically) and long distances (petrol). I think in my mind, the word “Stunning” should be replaced by “As expected,”. EVs make far more realistic sense when they fulfill all driving requirements. If a driver cannot do their weekend get-away to the mountains because no EVSE is available on route or at the destination, a PiHV version is far more practical and sometimes cheaper than a full BEV.

Oh, the fabled remote mountains of Netherlands (highest point 322.7 m, on the border with Belgium and Germany).

Seriously, the main thing driving Netherlands’ EV sales patterns are incentives that are somehow far better for PHEVs than for BEVs, it seems. The vast majority of Dutch cars are city cars in application. They could easily be BEVs.

“Oh, the fabled remote mountains of Netherlands”

LOL! Not to mention that the name Netherlands literally means the “Low Lands” / “Low Country”.

The incentives aren’t better for phev, they are the same as for bev. Also you do know that people who live in small countries tend to go on a holiday in neighbouring countries right? Belgium has mountains and way less chargers. And France is so easy to reach it basically suffers from a yearly invasion of Dutch people. People need a reliable way to get their energy on holidays that span multiple countries. That’s the only real reason most Dutch people prefer a phev over a BEV. Tesla model 3 will shock the market here…


I defer to your authority as someone apparently living in the Netherlands. But here are a couple of questions:

– In the US where distances and miles driven are far higher than in Netherlands, and the Volt gets the same Federal incentive as BEVs, still BEVs sell relatively far better than in Netherlands? How so? Is that possibly because the Dutch usually have only one car, whereas most middle-class US families have two (so one can easily become a BEV)?

– I get that the Dutch like to go on out-of-country trips. But how often do they do it? Wouldn’t it be more economical to forgo gas altogether on a daily basis (what’s the current Dutch gas price?), and then at worst case rent an ICE compact for a trip that cannot be accomplished via BEV + quick charging?


Look at the cheap $99 lease deals on Nissan Leaf. And then try to find the same kind of deal on Volt. That explains why you see Leaves as second cars (commute cars) in US. No one buys these. People just lease for free (yes, free in Georgia) and use for commuting to work.

Dutch also bike a lot. I don’t live there, but I think they are using the cars mostly for weekend trips, not for daily commutes. This is the case in most of Europe, which has much higher population density and much better public transport than US.

Assaf: I am not dutch and have never been to the Netherlands, but I will attempt to answer your questions none-the-less. kosee, please feel free to correct/dispute whatever I say in response… 1) I’m not so sure that the distance/miles would be any different. The distances within the US are far greater, yes, however, as kosee pointed out, Dutch folks frequently travel, for holiday or other reasons, outside the Netherlands through other countries within Europe. The question might be better put as “do the Dutch travel as many miles as Americans by car?” before getting to your other questions. In any case, I suspect the answer to your question is “sort of.” Most middle class Americans, as you state, are two car families and that could be one explanation (I think there are more than one, however) why BEVs sell better here. However, I suspect that most Dutch don’t own a car because of how well developed their cycling, rail and public transit infrastructure is. The few that do probably have done so out of desire, as opposed to here in the US where it is more out of necessity. 2) I think you mostly answered your first question with… Read more »

1. Yes Dutch people usually have only 1 car. Although in a lot of cases it simply might be smarter to have a BEV and sometimes rent a car in the weekend, people don’t purchase cars like that. This probably counts for most people in the world and can explain low bev sales anywhere. A car purchase isn’t always the most logical decision.

Also a second reason might be that a lot of Dutch people simply don’t know how well developed the quick charge network really is. Fastned is awesome and there are more chargers thrn fastned.

Another perhaps interesting point: lots of homes don’t have a garage or driveway or any other way to privately charge a BEV at night. This is ok with a phev because if your public charging spot is gone, you simply use gas the next day. What if you want to go to your relatives
tomorrow and your spot is gone? Are you going to quick charge somewhere half an hour after 15 minutes of driving? With 2 children in the back of the car?


Thanks! I knew I was missing something.

Of course, the detached single-family home in urban/suburban settings, is a predominantly North American phenomenon. I can see how many or even most Dutch would not have a permanent parking spot available.

Incentives here in the Netherlands are not beter for BEV or PHEV, but the just-as-cheap (because of incentives) PHEV compared tot BEV is still the beter option here.
Because PHEV is (not in 2016) cheaper for some people compared to their full ICE competitive models.

Therefore, as correctly stated in the article, its all about incentives here. And that’s also the reason that the Outlander is sold here in great numbers.

In 2016, the ‘bijtelling’ (incentive) will be different, and I expect a rise in BEVs then, because the PHEVs are more expensive to drive then.
And when the model 3 is sold here, it will be a massive success. (In case the bijtelling is not altered in due course of time)

I feel very sorry for the Norwegians, who are stuck with only BEVs for their government’s silly decision. Dutch must be laughing at them 🙂

While the Netherlands sold the most Outlander PHEVs, Norway was no slouch at #4 last year…

That’s a bit strange. Has Norway changed the rules favoring PHEVs? I thought, they are penalized more than ICE cars as they are heavier.

Waiting for Mitsubishi to show up in the U.S. I bet they could sell a couple of thousand each month in N.A. if it comes with 30-40 miles of EPA AER.

Yes, they have changed the rules slightly. PHEVs are less punished for their weight now.

It’s a good thing, PHEVs should be somewhere inbetween BEVs and ICEs.

I too am looking forward to the Outlander PHEV arriving on US shores. However, the recent closure of its Illinois plant is worrisome…

It’s funny as a Dutchman to see a bunch of americans bickering over the behaviour of us lowlanders:-)

We do bike a lot, but there are millions of Dutch people who commute by car. I think I have read on average 25 miles a day. It is however true that we live in a densely populated country and that the majority of people do not have a driveway or garage. So when home you are still reliant on public charging. That works in Amsterdam with a phenomenal charging infrastrcture, but not every where.

To be honest, quick chargers like fastned are brilliant, but you want to plug in at home and leave in the morning with a full charge.

I move house this summer including a garage and a driveway, coming from Amsterdam and only consider to buy a BEV now.

Thank you and Koshee for the insiders’ view!

Are the Dutch EV/PHEV incentives going to continue for a while, or is there any talk of reducing or eliminating any of these?

Never mind. I see the post below from Benz.

I don’t think we are “bickering” so much as trying to understand a people who are foreign to us. I appreciate the first-hand experience given by yourself and Kosee. Thanks for chiming in!

Sorry did not mean bickering in a negative way. Should have used a different word!

Yes, thank you to you both. As Brian said, I don’t think we are bickering. I think a lot of us are fascinated (and maybe a little envious, at least in my case) of the Dutch and the remarkable infrastructure that your country has achieved. And I did qualify my statements by inviting you guys to dispute anything I said. 🙂

Top 10 List:
VW Golf GTE – 652
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – 518
Audi A3 e-Tron – 346
Mercedes C350e – 338
Tesla Model S – 276
Volvo V60 PHEV – 201
Ford C-Max Energi – 90
Porsche Cayenne PHEV – 80
BMW i3 – 38
Nissan Leaf – 23

Volkswagon made a “winner” with the GTE. It’s the closest thing to a Volt that they have in Europe now. But it also has great performance and doesn’t sacrifice any interior space for the batteries. It’s no surprise that it is popular.

Yup, and readers here didn’t get why Robert Llellewyn was calling it a “game-changer” in his show.

For the US it would be like if the F-150 AND the Corolla got electrified.
That might be easier to understand.

No matter what motivates production of ~30km PHEV electric range cars, the economics aren’t much different than in the U.S. You still run out of range, and pay Europe’s always higher petrol prices when that happens.

I don’t think the regs match the distance needs of people who’ll want to go all-electric, every day. That is an issue, a lot of us share.

The Golf GTE has less than 1% of all Golf sales in Germany. It’s a miserable failure.

And even more important, the Golf is by far the best selling model in Europe so the base of customers is already massive.

I can’t imagine it’s all that hard to get an incoming Golf customer to go with the GTE version.

All these PHEV cars have been leased as a company car to be used by employees during the lease period.

Employees pay a certain % as a kind of added income tax for having the company car at their disposal in their private time. This % is going to increase in the coming years as follows:

2015 – 7%
2016 – 15%
2017 – 17%
2018 – 19%
2019 – 21%

Already in 2016 we should see a drop in demand for PHEV cars in The Netherlands.

By the way, for BEV cars it’s just 4% (up to and including 2019) !!! This is very promising for the next few years.

Yes this is going to change a lot. For those not so lucky the Dutch government is also looking into an incentive for private bev buyers.

Spot on, these changing Tax incentives will drastically change the BEV vs PHEV equilibrium

Wasn’t aware of the 4% till 2019. Seems model 3 is really going to be a killer here in the Netherlands.

I’m sorry, but such a poorly written article I have to object. Grammatical mistakes, incomplete information, and a conclusion that leaves with an incredibly weak result “mostly high incentives”. What are they?

InsideEVs, you can do better than this.

Last sentence in the article says it all: PHEV incentives matter a lot in the Netherlands.

PS: For a comparison the global VW sales and numbers:

EV and PHEV marketshare still has decades to grow, car markets are slow-moving with long replacement cycles.