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Leaf leads global sales surge, Australia EV uptake doubles

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Data shows Nissan Leaf sales are booming in the first quarter of 2018 | Source: Nissan

Worldwide electric and hybrid vehicle sales are surging as never before, with fresh data showing  many countries doubling their sales figures in the first quarter of 2018, including Australia.

Data provided by industry statistician EV.columes.com shows that Australia sales rose by 132 per cent over the previous corresponding period.

Other countries to show strong growth included Finland (+144%) followed closely by South Korea (+138%), the Netherlands (+122%), Spain (+118%), and Canada (+114%).

More importantly, China also more than doubled its sales (113 per cent), and that is significant because it is by far the biggest market in the world.

In total, there has been a global increase in sales of 59% compared to the previous first quarter of 2017.

The EV.volumes data includes all global BEV and PHEV passenger car sales, as well as light commercial vehicles in Europe and light truck sales in the USA. The emerging light commercial vehicle sales market in China was also included in the data.

Source: http://www.ev-volumes.com

The figures, which are over double that of two years ago, show that overall, sales of plug-in hybrids are surging with a 69% increase, compared to a 52% increase for pure EV vehicle sales. PHEV sales are maintaining pace at a 39% increase for Q1-2018.

In terms of market share, the Scandinavian countries Norway, Iceland and Sweden continue to have a high uptake of electric or hybrid vehicles.

Whereas EV market share in other countries globally are 2.5% or lower, an astonishing 46% of new car sales in Norway were plug-in electric cars, up from only 23% as reported by the Centre of Automotive Management (CAM) in Germany.

Iceland figures show a 26% market share while in Sweden, 7% of EV sales account for new cars purchased in the first quarter of this year .

This is expected to increase when Sweden brings in its new taxation scheme on July 1, 2018, which will encourage the uptake of low emissions vehicles through a bonus-malus system.

In China, industrial policy is the motivating force driving EV vehicle sales, comments Stefan Bratzel at CAM.

While Chinese New Year events and delayed subsidy approvals resulted in a poor January, sales were still strong and the 113% increase must be seen in that light, says EV-volumes.com.

Meanwhile, well-known PHEV models Toyota Prius and Mitsubishi Outlander remain popular, experiencing a 14% and 45% growth respectively compared to 2017 YoY sales.

In Japan, these as well as the Nissan Leaf comprise 90% of plug-in sales, with the Prius taking a hit from increased Leaf sales.

Generally speaking, the Nissan Leaf is flavour of the first quarter, with data showing over 22,000 units sold which is an increase of 44% YoY, with sales of the model not only strong in Japan but also in Europe.

While the USA is yet to see a delivery of the Nissan Leaf II, it was reported in Renew Economy that Australia can expect to see the new model in the new fiscal year. With the Leaf’s gaining popularity, that’s surely good news for EV enthusiasts.

The EV.Volumes data shows Tesla Model S deliveries down in the first quarter and Model X deliveries static.  This reflects focus on the new Model 3, where production issues are expected to be resolved, with a goal of lifting output to 5,000 a week by the end of June.

But with reports of a factory being set up in Shanghai, China, where EV sales are booming – there is a strong chance of a big lift in sales over the medium term as it gains greater access to the world’s biggest market.

Source: EV-volumes.com Data Center

An estimated 3.3 million plug-in vehicles were on the road at the end of 2017. First quarter 2018 sales increased by 59 %, but the numbers compare to a poor start in 2017, with dismal January results in China.

The data predicts a total of 1.9 to 2 million worldwide plug-in sales for 2018, of which 400,000 in the US – if Tesla reaches the Model-3 ramp-up production goals – plus 430,000 in Europe, 920,000 in China and 150,000 elsewhere.

Note: This article has been updated to clarify movement of Tesla car sales.  

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  • George Darroch

    Meanwhile, Australia’s Federal Government does nothing to wean us from polluting cars and oil-dependency.

    Of the states and territories only Queensland and the ACT have any kind of real leadership.

    • trackdaze

      High price (on mulitiple fronts)of Fuel more likely to encourage EVs particularly phevs soon enough.

  • Patrick Comerford

    If Australia’s Ev uptake numbers were to be believed how is it that no reference is made to any particular model ? When to the best of my knowledge nothing is available apart from Tesla. So If the increase sales are due to Toyota prius’s then it’s meaningless fake news.

    • Farmer Dave

      Patrick, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is available in Australia, and has been for several years.

    • Jonathan Milford

      Agreed. I would have bought a Prius if I could have plugged it into my solar system. Or a Leaf if it had more leg room for the driver. With the rapid uptake of solar panels, it is surprising that Toyota and Nissan are delaying release of their new models in Australia’s growing market.

      • Ian

        It’s very hard to ramp up lithium battery production, and perhaps EV manufacture. Who’s going to get the EVs, those countries with incentives and targets or those that will buy any old wheezer? If you are willing to buy rubbish then your place will be a dumping ground.

        • Mike Shurtleff

          “If you are willing to buy rubbish then your place will be a dumping ground.”
          You are just anti-EV trolling. Who cares what you think? Some dang nice PHEVs and EVs for sale in USA now. Coming to Oz soon.

          • RobertO

            Hi Mike Shurtleff, We as in Australia are the dumping ground. We have no standards for FF (It might put the car manufactures out of business, oops they already gone! ) and no incentives for PHEV or for EV. Our Fed Gov is anti RE of any sort and some in our Fed Gov (coal ash group or RWNJ’s) want a new High Emissions, Low Energy Coal power station(s) built to show the world we are trying to help the poor people of the world (by drowning them in sea water, rising water levels).

    • Ken Dyer

      Inclined to agree. Carsales.com.au shows 108 EVs out of 239000 cars for sale. This figure is up from about 60 odd a few months ago.

    • Nick Kemp

      Perhaps Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyota Prius and Renault Zoe & Kangoo (available to business)

      • Malcolm Scott

        The Prius sold in Australia doesn’t yet include the short range partial performance plug-in version that is doing so well in other markets

    • Ian

      EV-volumes make no distinction between PHEV and pure EV . So, yes they are using euphemisms to disguise the lack of EV uptake in Australia. – “a PHEV is a sort of EV , only it’s got a PH in front of its name , still it’s electric, sometimes. It’s an oilman’s EV. You can drive to the first traffic light on plug-in electricity, that’s got to be good, right?, it’s the NEG of new-energy transport, plenty of range plus a feel-good battery-motor setup.”

      I do like the Swedish bonus-malus idea , hugs and kicks, nothing like a bit of social engineering to start the day.

      • Mike Shurtleff

        “You can drive to the first traffic light on plug-in electricity, that’s got to be good, right?”
        You are dead wrong. A number of PHEVs have 30+ miles all-electric range. Rough average driving distance in North America. I own a Volt 2, ~50 miles all-electric. Current lifetime 192 MPG after over a year, 17,000 miles traveled. That’s a heck of fuel use reduction, even from the Prius HEV I had for over 10 years, ~50 MPG.
        My commute to work is ~39 miles round trip. I rarely buy gasoline now.
        PHEVs are a worthwhile stepping stone to full EVs for some of us.

        • Ian

          You still need to make a distinction between your stepping stone technology and the ideal of gasoline-free transportation. Lumping the distinct categories like PHEV, HEV and Pure EV together as one type and calling this super-category EV is confusing . Some will understand EV to mean 1: any vehicle using an electric drive and others to mean 2: any vehicle with only batteries and an electric drive. The EV-volume site seems to use the first definition. In Australia the uptake of PHEV is not bad but the availability and sale of Pure EV is dismal.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            “Lumping the distinct categories like PHEV, HEV and Pure EV together as one type and calling this super-category EV is confusing.”
            There you go with the pure EV or nothing hyperbole again. There is no way sales of HEVs should be lumped in with PHEVs and EVs. No all-electric range at all. Real jump in fuel savings starts with PHEVs. Experience with fun of all-electric driving starts with PHEVs. Experience with electric charging starts with PHEVs. I would love to own a pure EV instead, but that would require me to own two cars. The fast charge infrastructure in the areas I occasionally have to travel is not there yet.

  • Joe

    I hope that our ‘EV Champion’, the Kelly, is sitting down when this news arrives on his desk.

  • Ian

    The Fed Gov is wreckless in its failure to support the elecrification of the fleet. Especially with the supposed shortage of backup petroleum supplies.
    They need to join the dots.

    • Ferris B

      Join the dots? Most of them are still working out which end of the pencil to use.

  • Malcolm Scott

    I might be a contrarian with this view. I think the Australian EV sales will not be significant until EV incentives in the major markets run out. Currently manufacturers are configuring EVs and targeting a price point well above average ICE vehicle pricing, and even above ICE pricing after incentives. Manufacturers are minimising their losses at the moment despirately trying not to canibalise their ICE market share. GM has said it will not be profitable on EVs until 2020, which will also be after US tax incentives will expire for GM (and Tesla and Nissan).

    When the tax incentives came off hybrids in California the prices came back substantially. The same might occur with Plug-in EVs.

    $10,000 off the price of EVs in OS markets could have a big effect on the price in Australia. But we do need to set targets so that investments decisions have a reliable foundation. Otherwise we are just going to flounder along oblivious to the climate emergency driving the transition.

    • George Darroch

      It does mean that the dinosaur manufacturers are prioritising rebate and tax-preference countries and states. The ones trying to sell EVs in volume will come here though.

    • Ian

      Your point does not sound contrarian at all. China builds electric vehicles for its own market , their pollution levels demand this. European governments are starting to force EV uptake, In the USA the demand is huge and their champion EV car maker is heroically trying to singlehandedly supply this market. Traditional Marquees are only now starting to awaken from their ICE-induced slumber. We have had many just-around-the-corner moments with the EV revolution but this time around we may see real changes.

      How hard is it to retool a vehicle factory to produce EVs. New models are produced all the time. Germany and other European governments are starting to send strong signals to the likes of VW and this country needs to do the same. We in Australia consume over 1% of world car output. Very targeted incentive signals could help. We don’t have to be very imaginative about the bonus-malus options since the Europeans have already done the thinking for us.

      The obvious incentives would be removing all taxes on purchase price of EV
      Reduce registration fees to just cover 3rd party insurance policies.
      Charging stations with ,free electricity, and preferential parking and use of special bus lanes etc.
      Tax concessions for company/work vehicles
      Very generous incentives to close the gap between EV and equivalent ICE, for tightly controlled periods of time.

      Disincentives for new ICE would be along similar lines but opposite.

  • Dudamus

    EVs and the LEAF are great cars. In a hot climate like Australia it is important to not leave your LION appliances at 100% charge sitting out in the sun. This applies to EVS, weed wackers, lawn mowers, and power tools. You can improve your LION batteries longevity by using the 80% charge setting in your EV. If your EV doesn’t have a 80% charge setting (like the new LEAFs) use the start stop/timers to approximate a 80% charge. If you need a little extra boost you can always override the timers for a 100% charge before that trip to granny’s house. IF you can follow some simple guidelines for your EVs and other LION appliances those batteries will last forever. e.g. be sure to store your power tool and lawn appliance LION batteries at 50% power over winter – charge neutral. The battery university dot com https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/abf346d5a9b76262f09e91a02bbc8639990c395b6cb038a6ad42d9026267181a.jpg has a lot of great tips for maintaining all your battery appliances regardless of battery type.

    • George Darroch

      80% is a good rule for phones as well, excepting those rare occasions you’ll need the 100% to get between charges.

  • Dudamus

    If the guv can provide incentives for new EVs then in a few years those savings are passed on the used vehicle consumers like me. Bring it on.

  • Bjarki

    Here are the numbers for NZ ev registrations, they are going one way, up! With most months doubling YoY it seems. https://www.transport.govt.nz/resources/vehicle-fleet-statistics/monthly-electric-and-hybrid-light-vehicle-registrations/

  • Dudamus

    Need some “outback” solar charger installations for people on the move across country. Then they can go hiking or napping or walking the dogs while getting a charge out of the sun.

  • Robert Comerford

    Perhaps we need to see oil at $200 a barrel to get the people of this country off their arse and demand change.

    I’ll say it again; a PHEV with enough battery range to do the daily commute and a range extender that can run off a variety of renewable fuels would go a long way to reducing our carbon footprint for travel and give the finger to peddlers of Jihad Juice until long range affordable battery models come on the market .