7 Top Countries for Electric Vehicle Sales in 2015

renault zoe
Renault ZOE (Source: Renault)

Tracking the progress of electric vehicles remains an obsession of ours, and occasionally we like to look overseas to see what works (and what doesn’t) in other green car markets. In June, we looked at how EV sales in the European Union surpassed the U.S. market for the first time and provided evidence that a better plug-in selection caused the shift.

As more plug-in hybrids become available in the U.S., there is reason to believe those numbers will even out in the coming years. But sales volume is only part of the story. IHS Automotive released data on 2015 electric vehicle sales that revealed which countries are leading in market share as well as total volume by registrations. (The data also revealed Tesla was the U.S. sales leader.)

Here are the seven top countries in EV registrations through the first quarter of 2015, according to IHS Automotive (per Autoblog). Included in each entry is the country’s place in terms of plug-in market share.

7. Germany


Germany, home to BMW, Volkswagen, and Mercedes headquarters, would see to have a home-field advantage when it comes to electric vehicles, but the sales data has the country out of the top five in market share (0.3%). In terms of overall volume, Germany placed seventh in the world with 4,520 plug-in EVs registered in the first quarter of 2015. The Tesla Model S was the country’s top seller in June, according to the EV Sales blog.

6. Netherlands

Volkswagen Announces Financial Results For 2013
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Europe leaped past the U.S. in electric car sales in 2015 on the back of its strong plug-in hybrid sales. In the Netherlands, the Golf GTE (a PHEV unavailable in the U.S.) is leading the pack so far this year with the Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid close behind. Through the first quarter, the Dutch registered 5,760 EVs, sixth overall in the world. Going by its 3.1% market share for electric cars, the Netherlands is the No. 2 market on earth.

5. Japan


Japan, home to the world’s best-selling EV (Nissan Leaf) for several years running, has the fifth-highest total for 2015 at 7,750 registrations. With fuel cell vehicles gaining momentum in Japan and Honda joining Toyota without a pure EV, the numbers are respectable, especially when looking at the country’s o.6% market share, fourth around the globe. Japan held down this place even with a 20% drop in registrations year-over-year, IHS Automotive data showed.

4. Norway

e-golf 2015
Source: Volkswagen

In terms of market share, no country can compare with Norway, where one in three vehicles (33.1%) registered is plug-in electric. Because of the country’s small population and relative sales volume, Norway ended up fourth overall with 8,112 registrations through the first quarter of 2015, up 40% over last year. If there were one country’s model to follow as far as EV adoption goes, it would be Norway’s. The Volkswagen e-Golf is the country’s EV sales leader.

3. United Kingdom

outlander phev
Source: Mitsubishi

The UK is Outlander PHEV country, with the hybrid utility vehicle topping the sales charts by a wide margin — more evidence how much of a hit it would be in the U.S. All told, United Kingdom drivers registered 8,684 EVs in the first quarter of 2015, which was a jump of nearly 400% over the previous year. In terms of market share, gasoline cars still dominate the UK, which doesn’t rank in the top five by this statistic.

2. China


China’s aggressive green car policies have been working even if the EV market (0.1%) holds hardly any share in the country’s overall registrations. That problem notwithstanding. there were 12,555 plug-in registrations in China in the first quarter of 2015, representing a 744% increase over the previous year. For most automakers (Tesla included), this market is the next big prize on the global stage.

1. United States

tesla model s
Source: Tesla

The U.S. EV and plug-in hybrid market remained the world’s biggest by country with 14,832 registrations through March 2015, IHS Automotive data showed. While that number was flat year-over-year, the U.S. is inching toward a decent electric market share, currently third overall at 0.8%. In these parts, the big news was that Tesla overtook the Nisan Leaf as the country’s best-selling vehicle with a plug. U.S. buyers, unlike their European counterparts, prefer pure EVs to plug-in hybrids.

Source: IHS Automotive via Autoblog

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