Europe’s Top Electric Cars: How Would They Sell in America?

renault zoe
Source: Renault

By the end of November, it was clear the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV would be the best-selling electric vehicle in Europe in 2015. According to EV Sales, the Renault ZOE was leading the pack for second place. Considering neither model is available on the U.S. market, it is worth considering how the price and specs of each model match up to models available in America.

Starting with the runner-up, the Renault ZOE offers 240 kilometers of electric range, the equivalent of approximately 150 miles. However, taking the generous European cycle taken into account, the ZOE would not have the longest range of any pure EV on American roads. (The new Nissan Leaf leads the pack at 107 miles, which translates to over 150 miles in the EU.) ZOE’s specs of 88 horsepower and 162 pounds-feet of torque are lower than models like the Leaf or Ford Focus Electric.

Yet the base ZOE without fast charging starts at $24,000 before calculating incentives. Compared to the most affordable models offering over 75 miles of range to American consumers, the ZOE would undercut the price of every one. Only the Smart EVs would cost less than this all-electric Renault. Through November, the ZOE sold 15,556 units in Europe, holding 10% of the market.

In the U.S., only the Leaf and Tesla Model S sold better in what is a much higher-volume market, so you can imagine ZOE being among the segment leaders. Federal incentives would bring the price down under $17,000, with state incentives making it even more affordable. Green car drivers looking to enter at a low price point would have an answer in this car.

As for Europe’s plug-in sales leader, there is little question the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV would be a welcome addition.

Miles Willis/Getty Images
Miles Willis/Getty Images

Mitsubishi’s plug-in utility vehicle has a Euro-cycle quote of 32 miles for electric range while offering 119 horsepower and 140 pounds-feet of torque. This model sold 24,829 units in Europe through November 2015, according to EV Sales. Even in a slower market abroad, that figure tops the highest total for any plug-in model in America.

Though the price fluctuates into the mid-$40,000 range in the U.K., Outlander PHEV sells for around $35,000 in Japan, which would make it very reasonable on the U.S. market. Only a few other plug-in utility models are on sale here, and that includes the Volvo XC90 T8 ($68,100) and the BMW X5 xDrive 40e ($62,100). Any mid-range model would fill the void existing below the luxury class.

There is no plan for the ZOE to go on sale here. In the case of the Outlander PHEV, we don’t have to speculate for very long. Before the second quarter of 2016 comes to a close, Mitsubishi plans to have its plug-in SUV in U.S. dealerships. While there is no price set yet, we see this vehicle selling very well in America. Europe’s top seller in the EV segment should expect the same reception on this side of the Atlantic.

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