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Global Plug-in Sales for 2017 Q1 + April

Global plug-in vehicle sales in Q1 of 2017 were  191 700 units,  40 % higher than for the same period 2016. These include all global BEV and PHEV passenger cars sales, light trucks in USA/Canada and light commercial vehicle in Europe. 65 % were pure electric (BEV) and 35 % were plug-in hybrids (PHEV). The preliminary April results show a 30 % increase over April 2016, with 67 800 units sold, 68 % BEV and 32 % PHEV

Monthly growth rated were strongly influence by regional particularities: A slow start in China for January, where subsidy approvals were late and sales prices were uncertain. The appearance of the Toyota Prius Prime PHEV, which became an instant best-seller in Japan for February-March and turned that market around. April had stagnant sales in some larger Europe markets, which held back the global increase in that month.

The US market stayed consistently strong, with 49 % increase for Q1, 24 % for April and 45 % (preliminary) for May. High gains by the new Toyota Prius Prime PHEV and the new GM Bolt are important contributors.

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The pace continues

Plug-in volumes have more than tripled since 2013 and continuing on last years growth rate of 42 % would mean 8 out of 10 cars sold being Plug-ins in 2030. Inconceivable today, not impossible for the future. The global picture shows just 0,84 % market share today, but in some markets it is already a multitude of that: Norway had 29 % plug-in share in Q1, Sweden 3,8 %.  Hong Kong saw a record plug-in share of 35 %, before the generous EV incentives expired.

Amid smallish numbers, the whole sector develops at a rapid pace. The number of public charging locations has doubled within 2 years. The number of available plug-in models has increased from 70 to 130 since 2013. Battery cost have come down by 50 % in the last 3 years. Leading OEM have announced EV portfolios good for 25 % in their sales mix, for the next decade, among them VW and Daimler. And then, there is Tesla ...

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Growth in all regions

Delayed subsidy approvals in China led to a severe dent in the registrations: January was 54 % lower than in the year before. February and March compensated by 77 % and 103 %  increases, Q1 in total ended with a 41 % gain. Preliminary April numbers show a 49 % increase over April of last year.

Following two quarters of decline, Japan returned to growth with the start of the Prius Prime, the successor of the Prius Plug-in, which sold in infinitesimal number by the end of its life-cycle.

Europe increased 28 % in Q1, but a mere 2,5 % in April, all y-o-y. May results in some markets indicate, though, that this halt was temporary. Notably, Germany speeds up EV adoption, with 88 % growth Jan-Apr, compared to last year.

North America turned out to be the fastest growing region in Q1, with +49 % for USA and +50 % including Canada.

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