Three months into the current year, and following the high-profile market debut of new battery-powered heavyweights from BMW and Volkswagen, AID’s regular health check for the region’s closely watched electric car market can still only detect a faint pulse
This year was widely expected to be the year when electric cars were expected to gain some serious traction.
That’s thanks to last year’s market debut of Renault’s ZOE, followed later that year by other comparative sector heavyweights like BMW’s i3, Volkswagen’s all-electric eUp and last but not least the European market debut of Tesla’s much-praised Model S.
One quarter into the current year, apart from the sole bright spot in the region – Norway – precious little has changed. Judged by all the various industry yardsticks, the underlying message spelled out loud and clear is that Europe’s electric car market still operates at a very low charge.
West European electric car sales
The good news for electric car makers is that March set a new all-time record for electric car sales in Western Europe.
AID’s own exclusively compiled figures show a more than doubling in March sales to a highest-ever 6,705 units, easily beating the region’s previous best monthly sales tally.
Moreover, in March electric cars made up five tenths of one per cent of all cars sold in Western Europe, bringing sector sales penetration at this year’s first quarter point to an only marginally slimmer 0.4 per cent.
A sign of progress, this compares to just one-quarter of a per cent during last year’s opening quarter.
But the conceivable sense of optimism portrayed by these latest developments is not quite what it seems.
Dig below the headline figure, and it is all too clear why Europe’s 2014 electric car sales season got off to a flying start.
This is due in large measure to this year’s meteoric climb in Norway’s electric car sales.
This comparatively tiny Nordic market, which stands out on its own as an electric car owners’ paradise, soaked up almost half the electric cars sold in Western Europe in
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West European new electric car sales:
by country March 2014 VS March 2013
by country Q1 2014 VS Q1 2013