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Western European EV Sales Slightly Down in May (Don’t Freak Out)

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The 2016 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Ride gets 82 MPGe on a single charge

Electric vehicle sales seem to have stalled slightly in Western Europe, with sales dropping by 0.7% in May, compared to sales last year, according to EagleAID (Eagle Automotive Industry Data). The monitoring group reported lower sales in 10 out of 16 markets that it monitors.

So, what is going on? Well, one possible explanation is the same one that caused a slowdown of EV sales in the US, where sales stalled as consumers waited for the next generation of significantly improved EVs to hit the market. However, according to InsideEVs, the stalling is due to two main, external forces acting on the industry.

First, you had the passing of Germany’s new electric vehicle sales incentives, which offered significant savings and didn’t begin until June. Consumers in Europe biggest car market decided that they would rather wait a month and cash in on the new incentives than buy a new EV in May. Second, Norway faced incentive changes of its own, making the field more level for plug-in hybrids and causing a 23.7% drop in all-electric sales (plug-in hybrid sales soared upward by 132%).

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EagleAID saw this drop as a sign that electric car sales are quite possibly facing a cooling of consumer interest (especially in Norway, although EagleAID ignored the sudden flying interest in plug-in hybrids). The group called this dip a “loss of momentum,” and “deeply worrying for the electric car industry.” InsideEVs, however, pointed out that interest in EVs is hardly gone, as France saw a jump in sales of 71.4%, while sales of plug-in hybrid cars, which can be operated a large amount of the time in all-electric mode, had shot upwards (AID’s article doesn’t explore plug-in hybrid sales).

Generally, I agree with InsideEVs. A strong incentive program can do a lot for sales and move them fairly easily from month to month, and just because interest in full electrics has lessened in Norway, it doesn’t mean that people won’t want electric cars anymore. We will simply have to watch and see.

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News Sources: InsideEVs.com, EagleAID

  • Daniel SuscoEditor

    Daniel Susco is a native of the Dayton-Cincinnati area, and has written on a multitude of subjects. He can discuss Shakespeare, expound on Classical Mythology, and even make witty jokes about Pliny the Elder (More like “Pliny the Rounder,” right?). In his free time, Daniel enjoys reading, cooking, woodworking, and long walks on the beach (just kidding – sunburn is no joke). See more articles by Daniel.