European Electric Car Sales Jump by 42% in First Half of 2018

Paul Ausick

European sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) totaled 195,000 in the first six months of 2018, up 42% compared with the same period in 2017. Electric vehicle (EV) sales accounted for 1.44% of all new car sales in Europe in the first six months of 2017 and rose to 2% in the first half of this year. EVs accounted for 1.74% of total car sales in Europe last year.

The largest first-half gain came in Germany, where sales rose by 12,000 units to around 35,000 units sold. Norway held on to its position as the top-ranked country for EV sales with 36,500 units sold.

The data were reported Monday by research firm EV-volumes, which noted it expects second-half 2018 growth to reach 40% for a total of 430,000 BEVs and PHEVs sold in Europe. That total does not include sales of Tesla’s Model 3, which EV-volumes does not expect to begin selling in Europe until 2019.

At the end of 2017, there were about 930,000 EVs in Europe. With the addition of an estimated 430,000 in 2018 that total rises to 1.35 million by the end of this year.

The top-selling EV in Europe is the Nissan Leaf. The new 2018 model has a range of 150 miles on a full charge and a base-model sticker price in the United Kingdom of about $34,135, before incentives. Nissan sold more than 18,000 Leaf EVs in the first half of this year, up 58% year over year.

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

  • Volvo XC60 PHEV: up 9,880% to 6,587 units (ninth overall)
  • VW e-Golf BEV: up 160% to 9,820 units (fifth overall)
  • BMW 530e PHEV: up 269% to 5,825 units (eighth overall)
  • Porsche Panamera PHEV: up 400% to 3,983 units (17th overall)

Sales of BEVs accounted for 51% of all electric car sales in the first half of the year, slightly below the 52% of total sales registered in all of 2017.

EV-volumes notes that vehicle inventory may limit sales in the second half of the year:

Our tracking of plug-in] inventory shows an average of only 4 days of supply on stock and 2 months of order backlog. Models with more than 10,000 unfulfilled orders, each, are Hyundai Kona, VW e-Golf, Jaguar i-Pace and Nissan Leaf and obviously the Tesla Model 3, all of them BEVs.

The total number of EV models available in Europe rose from 51 last year to 56 at the end of June; 27 are BEVs and 29 are PHEVs. Top manufacturers are BMW (35,450 units, up 29% year over year), Volkswagen (33,700 units, up 44%) and Renault (21,400 units, up 10%).

EV-volumes reported 80,000 public charging stations in Europe at the end of 2017 and expects around 100,000 when the data are in for this year.