Sales of plug-in cars are steadily gaining momentum in the U.S., but in Europe electric vehicles are the fastest growing car segment, as the Old World auto industry seems to finally have turned a corner. .
In the first half of 2014, European EV sales were up about 91% compared with the same point in 2013, with total sales of 23,826 electric cars across the continent, reports Automotive News. The Tesla Model S and BMW i3 are two of the top sellers, though with over 7,100 sales, the Nissan LEAF replaced the Renault Zoe as the best-selling electric car in Europe. Model S sales were over 5,330 for the first half of 2014, while Renault Zoe sales have stumbled, slipping about 25% compared to last year as Renault’s electric vehicle strategy seems to be slipping. The Renault Fluence Z.E. was granted a stay of execution thanks to a deal with China, but sales of the Kangoo electric van are also pretty paltry.
Norway is far and away the top market for electric vehicles, with the LEAF and Model S trading places at the top of the monthly sales chart for the past year. The 91% sales growth also means that EVs are the fastest growing car segment in Europe, barely edging out crossovers, which saw a 89% increase. On the flip side, coupe and convertible sales slipped 26% and 12% respectively, and midsize cars fell 6% compared to 2013.
The numbers indicate that European EV sales should be just shy of 50,000 units this year, and keep in mind that doesn’t include plug-in hybrids. These numbers should show automakers that electric cars are far from a fad, and when you make them available, people will buy them. While still just a small sliver of the European car market. the turn in fortunes should have EV enthusiasts feeling optimistic.