Since the advent of modern plug-in electrified vehicles (PEVs) in 2008, sales for 2015 were by far the highest and there also was a trading of places among the top-six PEV adopting countries.

Rhetoric against plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles is still being voiced but while detractors are kicking at an admittedly small market, the case exists that it is globally growing and last year 520,000 more sales added to 1,235,000 cumulative total.

As you might surmise, 2015 also witnessed the millionth PEV sold worldwide, and 520,000 sales – eclipsing previous-high 2014’s 315,000 sales – is about 42 percent of the cumulative total since the launch of the Tesla Roadster – and this all in one year.

Narrow perspectives citing cheaper gasoline and technological impediments do not capture the picture of a market in which European and Chinese automakers are adding to U.S. efforts.

SEE ALSO: Top 6 Plug-In Vehicle Adopting Countries – 2014

New vehicles are being announced in several segments and price ranges as automakers push to 1) stay ahead of regulations forcing them to improve fleet mpg and emission scores, and 2) compete in the budding PEV market that itself is pulling them in.

Last year also saw PEVs entering a second generation – notably the 2016 Chevy Volt extended-range EV launched last October and pending 2017 Chevy Bolt EV. More competitive PEVs are due to follow.

As for this year’s top six PEV adopting countries, their cumulative total 961,000 sales represents around 78 percent of the 1.235 million total. Following are the countries in ascending order.

6. France


France purchased 27,701 PEVs last year for 5.4 percent of the global total and of these 5,000 are light-duty vans. To be sure it was not a lot of vehicles numerically, but represented a share of 1.2 percent of the total passenger vehicle market to exceed the U.S. on a percentage basis.

Since the beginning of its entering the PEV market, France has purchased 74,294 PEVs, or 6 percent of the global cumulative total through December 2015.

5. United Kingdom

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

The UK narrowly edged out France with 28,188 PEV sales last year, or 5.5 percent of 2015’s total.

The cumulative total for the UK is 53,524, or 4.3 percent of the 1.235 million PEVs on record.

Its take rate (market share) is 1.1 percent, also relatively healthy, but like many others, with plenty of room for improvement.

But improving it is already, as its year-over-year growth was 48.3 percent for all-electrics and 113 percent for plug-in hybrids.

4. Norway


In its own small way, the kingdom of Norway is number one with the highest take rate of 22.39 percent.

A model example of what a determined people can do, the country of 5.2 million people bought 34,455 PEVs in 2015 including a small number of utility vans, or 6.7 percent of the global total last year.

Its cumulative total since 2008 is 77,897 or 7.2 percent of the global cumulative total.

3. The Netherlands


Last year the Netherlands purchased 43,971 including a small number of utility vans or 8.5 percent of 2015’s total.

Its market share is an also impressive 9.74 percent PEV, and this makes it the second-highest by market share after Norway.

The Netherlands’ cumulative total since 2008 is 88,991 PEVs or 7.2 percent of the global total.

2. The United States


Yes folks, 2015 was the year as we reported previously that the U.S. slipped to second place for the first time.

Last year the U.S. purchased 2.8 percent fewer PEVs than it did in 2014 and combined both Europe as a whole and the new number-one China bought more.

Since 2008 the U.S. does however lead with 411,120 PEVs for 33 percent of the global cumulative total.

Its 115,262 sales for 2015 was 22.3 percent of that year’s total but cheap gas and pending models which led to fence sitting were factors that saw also the first year of no year-over-year growth.

Take rate was down also to 0.66 percent from 0.72 percent in 2014.

1. China


China’s 176,627 PEV sales was 34.2 percent of the global total last year. The country also leads the world with heavy-duty plug-in electric buses and commercial vehicles, and its total “new energy vehicle” sales amounted to 331,092.

This was basically one big surge of 233 percent year-over-year grwoth, as it entered last year with but 81,701 PEV sales under its belt (about 53,000 were sold in 2014).

It now has 258,328 cumulative total since 2008, and has jumped to second place in the cumulative total with 21 percent of the 1.235 million PEVs the world has purchased through December 2015.

Other Notable Countries

Places seven through 10 are held down by Germany (23,494 sales). Japan (over 21,000 – and which slipped from second place in 2013, third in 2014, and is now eighth), Sweden (8,908), and Switzerland (6,421) or Canada (6,354 partial count). The ranking between Canada and Switzerland will depend on how sales fare for Canada which, like Japan, has a few vehicles not counted yet.

Thanks to sales tracker Mario R. Duran for help in crunching numbers and compiling this data.