Electric vehicles were on a roll in Europe through February, before the coronavirus reached higher impacts on sales and production. JATO Dynamics, an auto market firm, reported this week that BEVs were up 92% to 38,700 units year-on-year, and plug-in hybrids were up 153% to 28,700.

There is still much room to grow. In February, EVs represented about 3.7% of total registrations, with plug-in hybrids adding another 2.7%

While the Tesla Model 3 dominates EV sales in the United States, it’s the third most popular electric vehicle in Europe, with 3,481 new registrations in February 2020. The volume of Model 3 sales fell by 6% compared to a year ago. Tesla distribution usually occurs in batches. Registrations for any single month, even year-over-year figures, should not be viewed as a long-term trend.

The Renault Zoe sells nearly twice as many units, with 6,391 registrations last month. Surprisingly, the VW Golf Electric remains popular with 3,695 registrations. The electric Peugeot 208 EV and Nissan Leaf round out the top-five EV sales with 3,463 and 2,416 new registrations, respectively.

In this graphic, JATO used “EV” to denote all electrified vehicles including conventional no-plug hybrids. In Europe, there were 59,000 hybrids registered in February.

Feb 2020 EV sales

JATO Dynamic lumps EVs, PHEVs, and conventional hybrids together in its evaluation of “electrified vehicles.” Felipe Munoz, global analyst at JATO Dynamics, said:

Electrified vehicles were once again the outlier in the industry. Their registrations jumped from 75,400 units in February 2019 to 135,500 units last month. The increase of over 80% came at the expense of diesel and petrol cars who saw significantly fewer registrations.

So far this year, electrified vehicles have been the only lifeline for manufacturers operating in Europe. This is good news, as the industry’s electrification plans have finally seen a positive response from consumers.

Diesel vehicles declined from 34% in February 2019 to 31% of the market last month. Gas-powered models declined from 58% to 54% year-over-year.

Meanwhile, the overall new car market dropped by 7%, continuing the trend established in January. Notably, registrations for SUVs fell by 1.7%. JATO data indicated that the impact of COVID-19 had not yet to hit the European automotive market by the end of February.

While JATO’s inclusion of all electrified vehicles doesn’t allow us to pin down exact EV numbers on a geographical basis, the data shows the direction of electric-car sales by country. Across the continent, EVs represented nearly one-third of all so-called electrified registrations.

  • France: 14%
  • UK: 13%
  • Germany: 11%
  • Spain: 10%
  • Italy: 8.6%

The volume of electrified vehicles more than doubled in Germany and France.

Across the continent, Norway led all other markets with 75% of new car registration as electrified models.

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