Top 25 Electric Cars In Europe (May Registrations Roundup)

I love looking at the Dutch, French, German, and Norwegian electric car sales data, but looking at the bigger European picture is where the real fun is. Throwing everything together from the different countries, it’s hard to have a good idea where they will fall out. Plus, the numbers get bigger.

Before we get into the numbers, though, let me get some big disclosures out there. The registration numbers come from José Pontes, who does a tremendous job pulling together figures from a large variety of official and unofficial sources. However, I used to try this myself, and I can tell you this: you basically can’t find complete registration numbers for any country. So, Jose has to “estimate” for certain types of vehicles and certain models in each of the countries. Then there are some countries where he isn’t able to collect the data at all. Nonetheless, pulling together as many numbers as he can for several European countries, including the ones with the biggest electric car markets, gives us a big-picture view of the European electric car market.

So, using José’s numbers, below are the top 25 best-selling electric cars in Europe, followed by some more comments about the cream of the crop.

Europe EV Sales 2014 - May 2015


So, it’s a tight race at the top… not! The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is crushing it. Luckily, I finally got to test drive this vehicle recently, so I’ll soon drop a piece here explaining why I think it’s so popular (…but the big points are sort of obvious).

While the Outlander PHEV has a solid hold on #1, the much younger Volkswagen Golf GTE is racing for a spot to the podium too, reaching #2 in May, and now just inches below its twin sibling, the #5 Volkswagen e-Golf, in terms of January through May registrations. I imagine it will be sitting in the #5 spot once June numbers come in.

But yes, back to the metal winners. The Nissan Leaf has a safe hold on #2 for January through May, but fell way down to #5 in May.

For the year to date and in May, its French cousin the Renault Zoe is holding steady at #3, thanks in large part to its strong sales in the homeland, France.

The Tesla Model S is nipping at its heels, though, and you know you wouldn’t feel comfortable with this beast right behind you in any race.

All in all, the #7 BMW i3 and #8 Audi A3 e-tron are putting in a pretty good showing, still accounting for about 7% of the European electric car market each.

It’ll be fun to see the numbers as they roll in next month. I think it’s safe to say the Outlander PHEV is going to hold onto #1 for the rest of the year, but spots #2 through #6 are quite close. We could see a lot of shifting around before this year is up.

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