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Global Plug-in Vehicle Sales for Q1-2016 and Preliminary April

Plug-in vehicle sales worldwide so far are 180 500 units including preliminary data for April. This is 42 % higher than for the same period in 2015. These include all global BEV and PHEV passenger cars sales and a few light commercial vehicle in Europe. Growth slowed down compared to last year, which was 71 % higher than 2014. Q4-2015 was particularly strong, in anticipation of lowered incentives in a number of markets for 2016, notably in the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and for mini-EVs in China.

Many of these preempted sales were subtracted from the 1st quarter of 2016. In terms of volume growth +52 500 units is still a progress over the +45 300 increase in the year before. More than half of the 52 500 increase goes to Plug-in hybrids (+27 k)  and they increased their share by another %-point to 42 %.

first Global Plug-in Vehicle Sales for Q1-2016 and Preliminary April image

Growth by region for Plug-ins

China is still the growth motor for plug-in sales. "New Energy Vehicle" volume for passenger cars more than doubled in the first quarter and the preliminary April numbers show a similar result. 100 % growth is much more than in any other region, yet, the days of 2- or 3-fold sales increases are probably over.

Japan has finally recovered from the very weak development during 2015 (-22 %) and posts +36 % for the first quarter. Also the US market for Plug-ins left the doldrums and posted 19 % for the first quarter. April came in with only 9 % y-o-y growth, low supply by Tesla being the main reason.

Europe struggles to continue on the 99 % growth rate of last year. Most markets develop strong, but the incentive changes for PHEV in the Netherlands and EVs in Denmark darken the overall picture.

second Global Plug-in Vehicle Sales for Q1-2016 and Preliminary April image
third Global Plug-in Vehicle Sales for Q1-2016 and Preliminary April image

Tesla Model 3 - The Big Leap

The most exciting event in the plug-in scene this year was the unveiling of the long awaited Tesla Model-3. Crowds cheered in front of Tesla stores around the world and the first 100 000 units were reserved before the public presentation. No-one had seen one, let alone driven one. Starting at $35 000, 200+ mls range, $1000 deposit, deliveries to start "late 2017", was all what was known. And yes, it's a Tesla. After the first public showing and during the following 3 weeks, reservations approached 400 000 units. Reduced by some bogus bookings the "official" number in Teslas quarterly SEC filings is 373 000. The current tally could still be a lot higher.

The demand is comparable to the annual global sales of e.g. Audi A4, BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class, indicating the potential for EVs with competitive price, style, space, acceptable range, superior performance and efficiency. Does it need subsidies to be good value? Most probably not.


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