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Europe Plug-in Sales Q4 and Full Year 2015

2015 finished with 192 500 plug-in vehicles delivered, counting passenger cars and LCVs, nearly double the number of 2014. Growth was strong throughout the year and particularly during Q4, with sales above trend in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Sweden and Denmark. In NL and S, the incentives for PHEV are reduced for 2016, which caused over 10 000 PHEV sales to be pulled ahead into 2015. Plug-in hybrids gained more ground again, their share in the mix reached 57 % in Q4 (for the reasons above) and 48 % for the year, 17 % higher than in 2014.

Also the total light vehicle market in Europe (w/o Russia) finished strong, with 9,5 % increase over 2014 and a total of 15 975 400 units. Plug-in share for 2015 was above 1 % for the first time, 1,24 % to be precise. The share for 2014 had been 0,66 %.

The 99 % sales expansion is a great result for Europe. Growth is accelerating; between 2013 and 2014 it was only 47 %, and 55 % a year earlier. Plug-ins are gaining awareness and, finally, broader acceptance.

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EV Growth Countries in Europe

Caused by the run on PHEV during Q4, the Netherlands became the largest market for Plug-ins in Europe and the 3rd largest worldwide. Sales increased by 183 % over 2014 and NL was the largest contributor to the cheering 2015 result forn Europe. See our article about NL for more details.

Norway is still the market with the worlds highest plug-in share (19 % in 2015), the volume gain over 2014 was 14 200 units (71 %), putting it in the same league with U.K., a car market which is 15 times larger.

80 % of the Europe growth came from the top-5 markets in the chart. The sheer sizes of the German, U.K. and French car market generate much volume, yet shares are still just around 1 % of their total markets. For Italy and Spain they are still well below 0,5 %.

The coming article for the global sum-up will show the complete hit-list.

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Up-grading in Segments

The market has up-graded in buying preferences. All segments, except minis (A) have participated in the overall growth, but to various degrees. The clear winner is the compact segment (aka C), thanks to the successes of the VW Golf GTE, Audi A3 e-Tron and VW e-Golf. The C-segment gained 8 % in the mix, while A and B together lost 8 %. Also the D-segment wins (+3 %), with Passat GTE and Mercedes C 350e as new entries with high volume.

Plug-in hybrids, without their range limitations of most pure EVs, have made Plug-ins more acceptable for higher segment cars, which can be used for all driving, not just as a commuter car for well planned daily errands.

The E-Segment belongs completely to the Tesla Model S and the SUV segment consists of PHEVs only. The first EV SUV, Tesla Model X is not coming to Europe before late this year, if at all in 2016.

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