European Electric Car Sales Soar by 39% in 2017

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European sales of battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) vehicles totaled 307,400 units last year, up 39% compared with 2016 sales. Electric vehicles accounted for 1.74% of total car sales in Europe last year, and they accounted for 2.55% of all December sales.

The largest gain came in Germany, where sales rose by 30,000 units, up 108% year over year. Electric vehicles accounted for 1.6% of Germany’s 2017 total sales and 2.3% of December sales.

On a percentage basis, electric vehicle sales in Norway amounted to 32.5% of all 2017 sales, reaching 42% of total December sales. Counting only passenger vehicles, 50% of Norway’s December sales were down to electrically chargeable vehicles.

The data were reported Monday by research firm EVvolumes.com, which noted it expects 2018 growth to reach 41% for a total of 430,000 BEVs and PHEVs sold in Europe. That total does not include sales of Tesla’s Model 3, which EVvolumes said won’t be included in its estimates until 2019.

At the end of 2016, there were 630,000 electric vehicles in Europe. With the addition of 307,400 in 2017 and an estimated 430,000 in 2018, that total more than doubles to 1.35 million by the end of this year.

The top-selling electric vehicle in Europe is the Renault Zoe, a BEV with a range of about 130 miles and a base-model sticker price in France of about $26,460 before incentives of $8,300. Battery rental fee for up to 4,700 miles of driving in one year is $77 per month. Renault sold more than 31,000 Zoes in 2017, up 45% year over year.

Other vehicles with large year-over-year sales gains:

  • Mercedes-Benz GLC350e PHEV: up 566% to 11,248 units (ninth overall)
  • Hyundai Ioniq BEV: up 440% to 6,131 units (17th overall)
  • Tesla Model X: up 242% to 12,655 units (eighth overall)
  • BMW i3 BEV: up 39% to 20,957 units (second overall)

Sales of BEVs accounted for 51% of all electric car sales last year, slightly below the 53% of total sales registered in the first half of the year. New PHEV models for German automakers are responsible for the shift in percentages.

A few other interesting data points from the report:

  • Norway currently plans to ban the sales of new fossil-fueled cars in 2025.
  • The elimination of incentives for PHEVs in the Netherlands led to a 58% decline in sales last year (incentives are still available for BEVs).
  • One-third of European growth last year came from sales in Germany.
  • European, Japanese and Korean carmakers are expected to launch five new BEVs and 16 new PHEVs in 2018.
  • EVvolumes reported 60,000 public charging stations in Europe at the end of 2016 and expects around 80,000 when the data are in for 2017.