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Global Plug-in Sales for 2017-Q4 and the Full Year (prelim.)

With over 95% of December data collected, we can already make a preliminary analisys of the 2017 Global plug-in vehicle sales. There were around  1.2 million units being registered last year, 57 % higher than 2016. These include all global BEV and PHEV passenger cars sales, light trucks in USA/Canada and light commercial vehicle in Europe. In 2017, 66 % of sales were pure electric (BEV) and 34 % were plug-in hybrids (PHEV). All-electric vehicles have been winning share, as the BEV-friendly Chinese market continues to win importance.

Growth rates were influenced by the booming Chinese NEV market, with the USA and Europe following it, albeit with some distance. In Japan, the Toyota Prius Prime PHEV was an instant best-seller and, together with the Q4 launch of the new Nissan Leaf, plug-in sales went up by 149 %. Globally, December was another sales record, with over 170 000 units delivered worldwide, another 17 % higher than the previous all-time-high in November. In December the global plug-in share touched the 2 % mark for the first time, following consistently strong increases during the last 5 months of the year. The global share for the complete year of 2017 stands at nearly 1,3 %.

For 2018 we expect a sales increase to 1,9 million units, boosted by strong EV adoption in China and mass production of the long awaited Tesla Model-3. By the end of 2018 we expect over 5 million plug-in cars and light trucks to be in use, worldwide.

first Global Plug-in Sales for 2017-Q4 and the Full Year (prelim.) image

China storms further ahead

China remains the unchallenged #1 market for plug-in vehicles, or "New Energy Vehicles" as China calls them: It has increased sales by 72 % YoY, adding over 250 000 units to last year result of 351 000 units, representing roughly half of the global plug-in sales. Japan and South Korea (+130%) contributed further to the momentum in the Asia-Pacific Region, which was 76 % year on year combined.

Europe increased by 38 % this year, with Germany as the largest growth contributor, up 108 % YoY, while some smaller markets did even better, Iceland (+248 %), Portugal (+126 %) and Slovenia (+166 %) are some examples.

USA developed slower than other regions; 27%  growth is still ok, considering the delays on the Tesla Model-3 production ramp-up. The original estimate for Model-3 deliveries was 50 000 during 2017, all to US reservation holders. Canada was less impacted by the delay and increased 72 % over 2016. "Others" include over 30 countries in the Americas, Africa, Middle East and Asia/Oceania, with Canada (18600 units), South Korea (13900 units) and Malaysia (7400 units) being the three largest.
second Global Plug-in Sales for 2017-Q4 and the Full Year (prelim.) image
third Global Plug-in Sales for 2017-Q4 and the Full Year (prelim.) image

Global share reached 2 % in December

Global growth accelerated during the second half and consistently so, in many markets. The is little risk, that the higher uptake was related by sales brought forward for the reason of decreasing subsidies, like this was the case in the Netherlands in 2015 and 2016. We are not aware of any related announcements for 2018 incentives. The increased sales rate has pushed plug-ins to new market share heights, with the December global plug-in share reaching nearly 2%, 67 % higher than 12 months before. Until July 2017, the growth trend had been similar to previous years. From August onwards, the whole market has shifted up a gear.  Considering that only 5 months have passed, it is still too early to assert this as a deflection point; we will look closely at the first months of 2018 to have this new market trend confirmed or not. If this sales uptick is confirmed in 2018, we could see the global PEV share reach 3% or more in December '18. Our forecast for the complete 2018 is close to 2 % share in the global light vehicle market.

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