Sales figures show that in January, far more plug-in and battery electric vehicles sold in Europe than in the U.S.
In Europe, sales of battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles for the month totaled more than 9,300 units. This was 40-percent higher than the 6,100 sales that posted in the U.S.
And while both countries sold more electrified cars in January 2015 versus the year before, greater gains were made in Europe. In January 2014, only 5,000 BEVs and PHEVs were sold in European markets. The 4,300 extra units that the region sold in January 2015 means Europe increased sales by 83-percent.
Sales in the U.S. also rose from year to year, but not as steeply. BEV and PHEV sales were only up by 3-percent in the U.S. at the beginning of 2015, in comparison to 5,900 sales in January 2014.
Breaking down sales from this January, the most popular model in Europe was the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV with just under 2,000 units sold.
Volkswagen was the most popular brand in Europe, though. Sales of its Golf GTE, e-Golf and e-Up! total 2,300. Add in the rest of the VW Group, which includes Audi and Porsche, and total sales for the carmaker jump to 2,800.
In January 2015, sales totals for BEVs and PHEVs in the U.S. were just under 6,100.
Tesla topped the chart as the most popular brand and model, with its Model S bringing in 1,300 sales. The Nissan Leaf was in second with 1,100 sales. The 900 combined sales of the Fusion Energi, C-Max Energi and Focus EV put Ford in third place.
While both regions have about the same number of models available, not all vehicles are available in both markets. Looking at the list of the top 20 BEVs and PHEVs selling in Europe and a similar list for the U.S., a number of cars are missing from each region.
In the U.S., for example, popular European models like the Volkswagen Golf GTE and Renault Zoe are not available. Others, including the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Audi A3 e-Tron, won’t arrive until next year.
Only nine models, in fact, appear on both lists. When looking at just the BEVs and PHEVs available in both markets, Europe is still the leader in sales. But just barely. Europe’s total of 4,074 units sold is only ahead of the U.S. by 68 vehicles.
Comparing the per model sales is also noteworthy. It doesn’t appear as though a vehicle’s popularity in one market guarantees that it will be a success in the other. Tesla, for example, is at the top of the list for the U.S., but ranks sixth in Europe. The VW e-Golf is third in Europe, but ninth in the U.S. (though it was only released in the U.S. last fall).
Remarkably, out of the nine models, only the Nissan Leaf appears to translate well. This BEV posts about 1,000 sales in both markets.
European sales were compiled by Jose Pontes and published on his EV Sales blog. He noted that not all European countries were included in the tally (listing Austria and Portugal as two of the missing regions) though he doesn’t say which countries are included.
January totals for the U.S. were pulled from the monthly HybridCars.com dashboard.