The Curious Case of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles In The Netherlands (February Sales Report)

There’s no denying it — the Dutch electric vehicle market is an interesting one. There was a surge in plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) sales at the end of 2013 because of an expiring incentive for PHEVs. Nonetheless, PHEVs continue to dominate Dutch EV sales.

In both January and now February the Volvo V60 PHEV and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV sat clear at the top of EV sales in the Netherlands.

One of the odd things about this is that the Netherlands is a geographically small and densely populated country. However, there are some cultural reasons why I think sales might be so atypical here. For one, the Netherlands has a tremendous bicycle culture. A huge percentage of resident bike for transportation. Primarily, of course, that’s for short-distance trips. However, rates of car ownership are quite high, not surprising given that the Netherlands is a fairly rich country. But what that means is that a much larger portion of automobile owners don’t use their cars for short-distance trips as much. What they tend to use them for are longer trips, in which a lower range EV like the Leaf or Zoe may not be ideal.

Another thing that crosses my mind is that the initial surge of PHEV sales has simply created a larger market for those vehicles (especially the high-quality Volvo V60 PHEV and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV). And another possibility is that maybe some people decided to buy these vehicles but simply didn’t make the purchase by the December 31, 2013 deadline. Though, I think that’s not as likely an explanation.

I know we have several Dutch readers. I’m curious to hear if there are other explanations for the continued success of PHEVs.

Getting back to February sales, I’ll add that sales were up considerably in February — more than twice January sales. The BMW i3 didn’t compare with the Volvo V60 PHEV or the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, but it still clocked in a respectable 72 sales.

I’m very curious to see what sales look like in March.

Here are static images of the two charts above:

NL EV sales Feb 2014

YTD NL EV Sales 2014

7 thoughts on “The Curious Case of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles In The Netherlands (February Sales Report)

  1. I don’t think it’s that strange, actually. The Volvo V60 PHEV is a tremendously desirable car that sells out in every market it’s in. Same goes for the award-winning Mitsubishi Outlander, one of which- funny enough- Mags is ordering as a baby-mobile.

    1. I know both vehicles are high-quality and selling fairly well. But their market domination doesn’t exist in any other coutnry like they do in the NL. Scroll through the other EU sales reports and see where they land.

  2. The fact is: what we see here are Registration numbers, not Sales numbers. These cars are probably sold in September/October of 2013. The delivery time on some of these cars has gone to up to 6 or 7 months.
    I friend of mine ordered a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in June of 2013 and when I spoke to him three weeks ago he hadn’t taken delivery of it yet.
    So the name of the chart should be Registration chart in stead of Sales chart. The actual sales has taken place a few days, weeks or months before…

    1. Hmm, thanks. That crossed my mind. Am used to US where we report actual sales. But a lot of my European sources are for registrations. Need to check sources here, but think you’re 100% right. And that mean these people don’t get the good incentives from 2013, right?

      1. They don’t get ALL the good incentives no. But some of them only required a purchase date before 01-01-2014. If you look up KIA, MIA and VAMIL you’ll find different Environment Tax regulations (the M stands for Milieu, Environment). Only the ‘bijtelling’ has changed for those who took delivery in 2014. They have to ad 7% of the purchase price of the car to their income and than also pay income tax on that part. Instead of 0% when they would have gotten their car in 2013.
        All other people (who drive a company car) have to ad 14%, 20% or 25%, depending on the pollution (co2/km) of the car.

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