Renault Zoe electric cars on the Outer Hebrides
The Renault Zoe once again maintained its position as the best-selling electric car in Europe, at least through August. As has been the case all year, the subcompact hatchback's main competition for that title was the Nissan Leaf—built by Renault's Japanese alliance partner—which once again earned the second-place spot.
The Leaf outsells the Zoe globally, but the Renault has built up significant momentum in its home market. That momentum is likely to continue with an updated version of the Zoe that debuted at the 2016 Paris Motor Show last month.
Among other changes, the Zoe will now have a 41-kilowatt-hour battery pack, up from 22 kwh in earlier versions, giving it a range of 300 to 400 kilometers (185 to 250 miles) on the European test cycle—essentially doubling range.
As always, European data comes from the running tally of electric-car and plug-in hybrid sales kept by the the European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO).
In the first eight months of 2016, the Renault Zoe racked up 13,779 sales in Europe, giving it 11.5 percent of the market. The Leaf managed 12,037 sales in the same period.
The Renault-Nissan pair was followed by the Tesla Model S, which achieved 8,316 sales through August.
The EAFO uses registration data to determine its figures, which is how it can calculate monthly Model S sales despite the fact that Tesla refuses to release official monthly sales results or break down its quarterly results by country or region.
Following the Model S were two German electric cars: the Volkswagen e-Golf (4,928 sales) and BMW i3 (3,896 sales). They were followed in turn by the Kia Soul EV (2,723 sales) and Mercedes-Benz B250e (2,389 sales).
As is typically the case, the final three slots in the top 10 were occupied by very small cars. The Volkswagen e-Up took eighth place with 1,642 sales. It was followed by the Peugeot iOn (1,277 sales) and Citroën C-Zero (957 sales).
The Peugeot and Citroën are both re-badged versions of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
The Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid extended its streak as the best-selling plug-in hybrid in Europe by an additional month. It achieved 12,247 sales, giving it 10.2 percent of the market.
As was the case the last time we checked in on European plug-in hybrid sales, the Outlander was followed by a pair of Volkswagens. The Golf GTE achieved 7,581 sales, while the Passat GTE reached 6,398 sales.
Next came the Mercedes-Benz C350e sedan (6,020 sales) and Volvo XC90 T8 "Twin Engine" SUV (5,988 sales). The BMW 330e sat in sixth place with 4,443 sales, followed by the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, which achieved 4,152 sales.
Three more BMW models rounded out the top 10. The X5 xDrive40e SUV reached 3,142 sales, while the 225xe Active Tourer racked up 2,964 sales.
Active Tourer hatchback models use a front-wheel drive platform, and are unrelated to the rear-wheel drive 2-Series coupe and convertible sold in the U.S.
Finally, the range-extended i3 REx—which is considered a plug-in hybrid for the purposes of the EAFO tally—achieved 2,904 sales.