The Nissan LEAF is the top-selling electric car in the world. It’s also the top-selling electric car in the US. However, from estimates of European EV sales, it’s not the top-selling electric car (if you include PHEVs) in Europe. Those numbers aren’t official or inclusive, so I try to avoid making grand conclusions from them, but I assume they provide an accurate general view. With numbers on Europe Nissan LEAF sales out from Nissan itself, however, I can now compare Europe and US sales.
In October, Nissan sold 1,261 LEAFs in Europe. That compares to slightly more than twice as many LEAF sales in the US — 2,589 — for the same month. The US advantage was smaller in September, but even larger in August. Sales numbers for most other months aren’t available, unfortunately.
One of the reasons for the discrepancy might be that the LEAF has a relatively low price in the US, thanks to low-cost manufacturing there and ease of shipping/deliveries. I think there are two bigger factors, though.
For one, Europe has a number of EV models that the US doesn’t have that do quite well. The Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in is a big one, leading the European EV market. However, I don’t think many Outlander Plug-in buyers would go with the LEAF if that vehicle weren’t available. Much more direct competitors are the Renault Zoe and VW e-Up!, which do quite well.
The second factor is that European buyers seem to have much more allegiance to national brands. The Renault Zoe does much better in France; while the BMW i3, VW e-Up!, and Smart Electric Drive all do much better in Germany. Those are two of the biggest European markets. The Netherlands has a clear preference for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles… despite the country being quite compact, ironically; and Norway — well, Norway buys everything, but the LEAF more than anything else, but even that doesn’t help Europe Nissan LEAF sales to compare to US Nissan LEAF sales.
It’s very interesting to compare the Europe and US EV markets, in my opinion. I only wish that we had more data, so that we could more conclusively compare the markets, as well as the markets within the markets! Also, it would be nice to compare more than just a few months.
Would it be helpful? Maybe. Would it be cotton candy for number-loving EV enthusiasts? Of course!