Tesla Model 3 #1 in February
The European passenger plug-in market registered almost 33,000 registrations in February, growing 36% regarding the same period last year, a good performance considering the stagnating mainstream market (-1% YoY), but the changes run deeper than that, because we are witnessing the fall from grace of PHEVs, which have been experiencing consecutive losses since the new WLTP-rules enforcement (last month they were down 3% YoY), while on the other hand, BEVs have been flourishing, in February all-electrics jumped 75% YoY, to over 21,000 deliveries, having been responsible for 65% of all plugin sales last month, with the EV share growing slightly month-on-month, to 1.8%, adding PHEVs to the tally, the share jumps to 2.8%, already above the 2.5% result of 2018.
And with the Tesla Model 3 having its first full deliveries month in March, expect to hear about a record month in a few weeks…
The big news in February top positions was of course the Tesla Model 3 landing with a bang, and jumping right up to the leadership, but unlike what has happened (and is happening) in the USA, the blackhole effect of the Tesla Model 3 is not absorbing sales from other BEVs (well, maybe the Model S is the exception), but from directly competing PHEVs and ICE models.
Proof of this is the fact that all the remaining Top 5 Best Sellers in February had 20%-plus growth rates, which is good news, as it is better to have a Tesla tide lifting all boats, than only their own…
Looking at the Monthly Models Ranking:
#1 Tesla Model 3 – After years of impatient waiting, the poster-child for electromobility has finally crossed the Atlantic, and a few lucky European drivers got their hands on the coveted model. While 3,757 deliveries might sound more than a few, the fact is that this number will seem small a year from now, when tens (hundred?) of thousands were already delivered in the Old Continent. Before the announced all records-breaking month of March, where several markets will be flooded with Model 3’s, February saw the Tesla midsize sedan being delivered mainly in Germany (959 units), Norway (791), Netherlands (472) and France (401).
#2 Renault Zoe – The 3,029 deliveries in February signaled a steady growth for the French hatchback, with deliveries up 21% YoY, as we are now witnessing the real, organic, demand for the current generation, although this shouldn’t last long, as the much improved “new” Zoe (50-60 kWh battery, driving aids, lower price…), and the Peugeot 208 EV announcement, should start to dampen sales of the current generation quite soon. As for market individual performances, the Zoe continues as popular as ever in its domestic market (1,197 units), and there also were positive numbers in Germany (782 units), Norway (208), and Sweden (236).
#3 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – Indifferent to the current doom and gloom of plugin hybrids, and being the only PHEV able to follow the pace of the Best Selling BEVs, the Japanese SUV had 2,754 registrations in February (up 145%), with the Mitsubishi model continuing to be popular in Scandinavia (496 units in Sweden, 550 in Norway), but also in Germany (544 units, new record), the UK and France, with both registering 200-plus performances. This case study of a PHEV succeeding in a BEV-friendly environment, should have to do with its unique mix of utility, space, decent electric range (including Chademo fast-charging) and affordability. On the long run, one wonders how long the Outlander PHEV will resist to the BEV model counter strike, although, with no direct BEV competitor in the short term, the Mitsubishi model could still rack up sales this year, without major worries.
#4 Nissan Leaf – Europe’s 2018 Best Seller was 4th in February, with 2,683 units, up 67% YoY, a consistent performance, although the first signs that buyers are already waiting for the 62 kWh version should start as soon as next month, considering the new version will be available across the Continent in in the beginning of the summer. The main markets were Norway (508 deliveries), France (326), Germany (302) and The Netherlands (311).
#5 BMW i3 – The German
Hatchback sales were up 36% in February, to 2,204 units, with the BMW pocket rocket benefitting from the age-old
formula “bigger battery = bigger sales”. Looking at individual countries, Germany
(694 units) was the main market, with Norway (396), The Netherlands (180) and France
(212), also helping greatly the BMW nameplate. Looking into 2019, expect
deliveries to remain relatively stable in the coming months, as the Tesla Model
3 could steal some growth potential to it, but it won’t be enough to put its
sales in the red.
Looking at the 2019 ranking, the main news was the Tesla Model 3 jumping out of nowhere to 7th, as it prepares itself to jump into the leadership in March, with a five-digit performance (in 3 countries alone, Norway, Netherlands and Germany, it should get some 8,000 units in total).
But is wasn’t just the Model 3 to join the Top 20 in February, as the Jaguar i-Pace finally jumped into the Best Sellers list, in #15, making it 11 BEVs in the Top 20, being the first time since 2015 that the blue team has the majority of seats in the ranking.
Another recent model to climb positions was the Kia Niro EV, up two positions, to #13, thanks to 1,023 units, a new personal best for the Korean crossover that, given enough batteries, could climb to a Top 10 spot.
Outside the Top 20, we should notice the good start of the new generation Volvo V60 PHEV, that with 486 registrations last month, it was the nameplates best score in over a year. Will we see the Swedish station wagon in the Top 20 soon?
Looking at the manufacturers ranking, the race is tight, with last year winner BMW (13%, down 1%) in the lead, followed by Hyundai, Nissan and Renault, all with 10% share, while Tesla, Mitsubishi and Volvo are not far behind, all with 8%.
Next month the standings should be just a little bit different...