By on February 6, 2015


EV and PHEV manufacturers may have fared well in Western Europe last year, but further gains in the market aren’t likely for some time to come.

Forbes reports sales in Western Europe climbed 51.7 percent in 2014 to 58,582 EVs and PHEVs, gaining an overall market share of 0.49 percent according to Automotive Industry Data. Editor Peter Schmidt, however, warns that this may be the peak of such sales for the next five years:

Effectively, you have no detectable, genuine underlying consumer demand from private individuals. To make things worse, looking ahead at the next couple of years, I would say this is a scary time for electric car makers, chiefly because as the price of oil continues to hover around levels inconceivable a year ago and with fuel prices falling month by month, those people who had thought about buying an electric car may give up when they look at motoring expenses.

Per AID‘s figures, the Nissan Leaf took gold with 14,354 units sold in 2014, with the Renault Zoe winning silver with 10,885 units, and the Tesla Model S in a close third with 8,698 units. BMW and Volkswagen fill out the rest of the standings, with 8,290 i3s and 8,461 E-Ups and E-Golfs sold. Schmidt says those numbers don’t point to a “detectable genuine underlining consumer demand,” with Norway being the sole exception. There, 18,090 EVs and PHEVs took 12.5 percent of the country’s overall market last year, thanks to tax credits that make such vehicles equally as attractive as gasoline- and diesel-fueled models.

He adds that cheap oil “has tempted a rethink” among consumers as far as seeking out such vehicles are concerned, especially among those in the United States, where fuel is cheaper than in Western Europe already. Schmidt believes the lower prices at the pump would hold back the EV/PHEV market for the remainder of the decade, leading to major financial losses among the manufacturers who went all-in on EVs and PHEVs.

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19 Comments on “Schmidt: Western Europe EV, PHEV Sales Stalling Through Decade...”

  • avatar

    Already made mention of this: Netherlands incentives for low-zero emission vehicles have costed the Dutch taxpayer 6 billion euro so far, the equivalent of 150 billion USD if Obama would have done the same. Mind you, despite the 7 USD per gallon gasoline it costs to fill up.

  • avatar

    Here in Norway electricity is still way, way cheaper than gasoline. The station near my house currently sells 95 for about 7.50 dollars/gallon. Thats about as low as it’ll go. And we have very cheap electricity.

    Plus incentives for EVs here includes free toll roads and use of the bus lane in rush hour.

    18.000 EVs were sold in Norway last year, in a country that’s a pretty small car market. January EV sales were up 72,4% compared to january 2014.

    Also plug-in hybrid sales were up nearly 400% in january mostly thanks to the Mitsubishi Outlander PHV.

    It’s also interesting to notice that Tesla is not the main driving force for EV sales anymore. It’s the VW E-Golf.

    Tesla sales will likely increase again when the Model S 4×4 becomes available.

  • avatar

    Unless there are huge incentives subsidized by the tax-payers, EV are simply too expensive to justify the cost.

    When I could simply buy a Chevy Impala or Dodge Charger for $50,000 and have far more technology , far more comfort and far more FUN than I could in a $70,000 base trim Model S, I’d have to be stupid to bother going for one.

    Same goes for the low end. The Sonata, 200 AWD, WRX and a bunch of other sub-$40,000 cars put the Volt, Bolt, Leaf and Fiat Electric to shame when you compare what you get to what they offer.

    Not to mention the complete lack of range anxiety.

    The government MUST place incentives on charge-point construction.

    The government must place incentives on EV ownership.

    Then, the corporations must compete for the consumer’s dollar with better batteries and better charging times.

    OK – you’ve managed to trick these people into thinking the world is ending because their carbon emissions are “killing the planet” – nevermind plate tectonics, and volcanism and asteroid bombardment and insolation and all the other natural factors adding energy to the planet (the sun continues to send MORE ENERGY to earth than we can possibly capture or use – and will do so for the next BILLION years)

    Now – put them all in these soul-less econoboxes so the price of gasoline for ME will decrease and my exhaust note will be ridiculously loud.

    HELLCATS 50% off!

    • 0 avatar
      This Is Dawg

      Because I have driven none of the above, I’m curious what makes an Impala or Charger more fun than a Model S?

    • 0 avatar

      Didn’t take long for someone here to deny fact and science.

    • 0 avatar

      Ever notice how when you park your car at the beach in the summer, it gets much hotter inside than out? Greenhouse gases do the same thing. It’s simple physics.

      Now, I would point out that greenhouse emissions from personal transportation amount to only about 15% of emissions in the US–less than meat eating. And I will also say that I prefer my ICE straight, like my bourbon. And I have no interest in dealing with range anxiety.

      But if you have grandchildren, they are going to be living in interesting times–unless we greatly reduce greenhouse emissions starting pronto.

      • 0 avatar

        #1 We were promised over 50 years ago that the Ozone layer would be depleted by now – as well as all the ice in the antarctic would be melted.

        We pay all the attention to the ARTIC and none to the ANTARCTIC. The Antarctic ice is not melting beyond what is naturally melting due to seafloor volcanism beneath.

        Greenhouse gases are TRAPPED in rock, but released during volcanic eruptions. Take a look at Iceland.

        A volcano erupts spewing tons of CO and SO, but it doesn’t cause warming immediately. It causes COOLING. Why? because the ash blocks INSOLATION.


        Look it up.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle


          Did you know that the Ozone layer is a different thing from global warming?
          The reason the ozone layer is doing better is because CFCs were banned. By governments, btw.

          Yes, ash causes short-term cooling. Just like a passing cloud does. It’s something that most kids figure out at a very young age, and it does not affect long-term trends.

          Also, just because you pay no attention to the Antarctic does not mean that no-one else does. For instance, here’s something that you should have paid more attention to in school: Antarctica is a continent (“look it up”). There is no seafloor beneath.

          • 0 avatar


            There’ve been plenty of IDIOTS yelling about us depleting the world’s oil reserves by now…

            Well then…

            Ask Russia how much they found in the Arctic Circle.

        • 0 avatar

          The ozone layer is not depleted because the world took action to stop it from happening by banning the relevant gases from commercial use. (But I don’t think anyone was making such predictions in 1965.)

          And, yes, I know about insolation. I learned about that in John Holdren’s class, Quantitative Aspects of Global Environmental Problems in 1975, at the University of California. I also learned about the greenhouse effect from Holdren. That was when there was a lot of talk about global cooling, but Holdren knew better. (You could google him.)

          CO and sulfur oxide are not greenhouse gases. Sulfur oxide is very rare.

        • 0 avatar
          Alex Mackinnon

          How on earth did you get to be a geologist?

          On a geological time line the carbon leaving geological formations will likely somewhat equal the amount being sequestered. It’s not like volcanism is a point source that magically generates SO2 and CO2 from nothing.

          Ash also isn’t insulative. It generally has a high albedo, so the solar radiation gets reflected. Not insulation. It’s different.

          CFCs are almost gone because of the Montreal protocol which banned their use. Hence the Ozone layer is recovering. Ozone is naturally generated over time by solar radiation interacting with oxygen in the atmosphere, without CFCs destroying the ozone it will recover.

          So your argument here is because we’ve had success fending off one environmental disaster, that we shouldn’t take a legit attempt at doing the same with GHGs? Man… you’re breaking my mind.

      • 0 avatar

        Not to take anything away from what you are saying, but I argue we are already living in “interesting times”.

        • 0 avatar

          That’s my best ironic laugh of the week so far. Right you are.

        • 0 avatar

          Isn’t that a Chinese curse?
          “May you live in interesting times.”

          • 0 avatar

            Correct (although no actual Chinese source has ever been produced).

            The nearest related Chinese expression is “宁为太平犬,莫做乱世人” (níng wéi tàipíng quǎn, mò zuò luànshì rén) which conveys the sense that it is “better to live as a dog in an era of peace than a man in times of war.”


  • avatar

    Funny, all those red shirts at the Tesla dealership look like the ones I remember at the Saturn dealership when I bought my ’93 all those years ago.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Eh, according to Holdren we all starved to death back in the nineties anyhow. So, why worry now?

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