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Plug-in sales Europe Q1 and April 2016

Plug-in vehicle sales in Europe so far are 64 800 units including April,  27 % higher than for the same period in 2015. These include all global BEV and PHEV passenger cars sales and light commercial vehicle in Europe. Plug-in share of the European light vehicle market reached 1,2 % in March, but fell back to 1,1 % in April. Growth slowed down compared to last year, which was 99 % 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.

Sweden remained nearly unaffected and increased over 70 % year-on-year. In Netherlands and Denmark plug-in sales completely tanked this year, with no signs of recovery. NL lost 4400 sales (-60 %) during the first 4 months and DK lost 80 %, compared with January-April 2015. On a more positive note, the German Government has decided to introduce the subsidy of €4000 for pure EVs and €3000 for plug-in hybrids, excluding cars priced over €60 000. The grant is effective in May, with postponed sales being the likely effect so far. We look forward to see the impact in Germany from May or June onwards.

Even if the increase for total Europe slowed down a bit, many Southern Europe markets are now catching up at a rapid pace, albeit from a tiny base far below the 1 % share mark. Countries with plug-in shares over 1 % are: Norway 25,0 %, Sweden 2,6 %, Iceland 2,3 %, Netherlands 1,9 %, Switzerland  1,7 %, France 1,5 %, Belgium 1,4 %,  Austria 1,4 %, UK 1,1 %. These shares are for Jan-Apr 2016 and include passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.
first Plug-in sales Europe Q1 and April 2016 image

Q1 Sales Development for EV and PHEV

Plug-in hybrid sales volumes grow faster than for pure EVs. This trend started with the first appearance of PHEVs and got a further push by a spree of new models for the 2016 Model-year. PHEV shares in the plug-in mix differ widely between countries, depending on tax incentives, grants, charging infrastructure and user habits. PHEV have the range like any other ICE model, or more, but their all-electric range is short, 30-50 km. It depends completely on the charging habits of the driver how much CO2 they emit.

The Netherlands were the leading PHEV market with 80 % PHEV / 20 % EV in the mix. In January 2016 the NL Government put a lid on this behavior, by lower tax incentives for PHEV (without improving them for pure-EV either). The result is visible in the chart.

For total Europe, the share of PHEV has therefore backed by one %-point, to 47 % within plug-in sales. Another contributor was the strong growth in France, which is among the countries with the highest share of BEV in the mix.

second Plug-in sales Europe Q1 and April 2016 image
third Plug-in sales Europe Q1 and April 2016 image

April's Top 10

The winner of April is the Outlander (as usual), but the distance to the #2 and #3 is was insignificant, with Zoe and Leaf posting another strong month.

The Volvo XC90 PHEV SUV remains well established in the Top-10. Like its stablemate V60 (rank 19 in April), the XC90 carries the Twin Engine moniker, combining 239 kW of petrol engine power with a 60 kW electric engine. Specifications are superior to its closest contender, the BMW X5 PHEV, and despite a higher base price of $76 650 in e.g. Germany (X5 €69 200), i outsells the BMW in most markets. The XC90 undercuts the 50g CO2 limit for PHEV incentives, the X5 does not.

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