Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Markets Roundup January 2013

Two minimalistic dashboards: The Mitsu I-Miev...

February is closing to an end, so it's time to make a roundup on the several EV markets around the world:

- Tesla made it to #1 in the USA, promising a hard fight for the gold medal in the coming months, just like Volvo did in Sweden;

- Speaking of Sweden, the three countries with highest EV share were Norway (3,00%), Sweden (1,14%) and...Iceland, that's right, the icy island started late on the whole EV thing (it only started to buy electric cars last year), but at 1,57% share in January it's catching up quickly, being this month the second most EV enthusiastic market, headlining what it was generally a good month for electric cars in Nordic countries;

- On the other hand, the rest of european markets suffered with the economic crisis, with the german plug-in market shrinking to just 125 units, far below than the usual 400 units sold last year, and falling behind China (#6) and Sweden (#7) in the countries ranking.

- One vehicle losing ground with the euro crisis is the Renault Twizy, losing the #1 sceptre in Germany, Switzerland and Italy;

- Preparing itself to be made in Europe (UK) and North America (USA), joining the Japanese production, the Nissan Leaf is going to have a lot of installed capacity, let's see if  the price drop justifies demand for all that extra capacity, for now, in January the only bright spot for Nissan's electric car was the 100% monthly increase in Norway, enough to get another #9 spot in the overall Norwegian ranking after achieving it for the first time in October and the second best month ever at 265 cars sold, just 12 units behind the record established three months ago;

...And the Renault Twizy.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Where's Wally? - Looking for EV's in Portugal

Renault Twizy in Óbidos, Portugal

One thing is compiling numbers of electric car sales, another is to see them live in the middle of traffic and see how and where they interact with the remaining vehicles, so i've written this post to illustrate how EV's stand in Portugal, my home country.

Renault Twizy - Last year's best seller, this quirky vehicle draws as much attention as a Lambo, so it's easy to say that this isn't for everyone, and with a limited range of 80 - 100 kms it's clear where it is aimed: Megacities, in this case, Lisbon, where they start to appear here and there. Outside the nation's capital i've seen four red Twizy's parked just outside Óbidos, an historic village 90 kms north of Lisbon, belonging to a company called Zero CO2 Tours, a rental company focused in promoting the surrounding area through tours and other services using EV's. Interesting, eh?

Police Leaf and its civilian brother
Nissan Leaf - With more than 120 units sold, this is the most widespread electric car in Portugal and the only to be seen outside major cities. Supported by the government at the time of launch with some units, like the one on the picture above, being bought by public institutions, this was the model that suffered the most with the end in 2012 of the 5.000 € electric car subsidy, this is why most Leaf's here are from 2011. On a side note, this is a car favored by females, as most drivers i saw in them were women.

Oh the irony: One 2011 electric car in front of a 1900's electric tram

Mitsubishi I-Miev family(1) - The japanese firm did a lot to publicize EV's to private buyers in early 2011, reason why these are seen in cities where greenies and new tech addicts live. The age and driving habits vary a lot with these models, for example i saw a retired men driving one at 40 kms/h in a clear two lane street in Aveiro, but in Coimbra i also saw a college guy driving a C-Zero like a hooligan and passing everyone it could in a crowded street, back then i remember thinking: "This guy must be thinking he's driving a Porsche 911".

Two Smart ED's parked outside a Mercedes exposition center

Smart Fortwo ED - The only electric car to register a sales growth in 2012, the tiny Smart ED is bought mainly by companies willing to have a green halo or municipalities. At first seen only in Lisbon, now is starting to spread to big cities in the north like Oporto or Braga.

Others - The remaining models sold have symbolic presence, the few Chevy Volts, Opel Amperas and Prii Plug-In i saw were demonstration cars, so Plug-In Hybrids still have a long way to go to make their presence felt here.

(1) - Includes Peugeot iOn and Citröen C-Zero

Friday, February 22, 2013

Germany January 2013

Dashboard from Opel Ampera, the slightly fancier Volt's brother

Waiting For Godot Edition

It looks that the german plug-in cars being previewed on the next Geneva Auto Show are originating a wait-and-see attitude on german consumers, January marked the fourth consecutive down month, with the Teutonic EV market shrinking to just 125 units sold on the first month of the year, down from the 356 sold last October.

The model with the worst hit was the Renault Twizy, with 37 sales, down from 63 in December or 132 in November. Maybe when spring arrives its sales start to defrost...

The Opel Ampera took the Twizy misfortunes to achieve the first place, something it failed to do since the arrival of the french quadricycle. Rounding up the podium was the Nissan Leaf, an habitué here who was also far away from its best performance (96 cars last October).

These negative numbers are expected to continue for a few more months, at least until VW and the rest of the gang start to sell their EV's. And don't forget that Tesla has Germany as a priority target, it will be interesting to see how the start-up behaves at the home of the Three Mary's(1) in the land of Autobahns...

Pl Germany Jan YTD % '12 Pl
1 Opel Ampera 44 44 35 2
2 Renault Twizy 37 37 30 1
3 Nissan Leaf 24 24 19 5
4 Peugeot iOn 9 9 7 7
5 Citröen C-Zero 6 6 5 4
6 Mitsubishi I-Miev 5 5 4 8

TOTAL 125 125 100

(1) - Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz

Source: KBA

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

France January 2013

Kangoo ZE dashboard: Simple, functional, just like an LCV should.

At 756 units sold, the french market had a 28% monthly increase in January, thanks to a great month of the Kangoo ZE, selling 444 cars and achieving a whopping 59% market share.

Below the french LCV, the Zoe already comes in second place at 70 units, although most of them are only demonstration cars, according to Renault the first real sales month for the supermini will be March.

In third comes the Nissan Leaf, with sales rising to 60 cars from the 34 sold in December.

Further down the ranking, the Renault Twizy plunges to #5, the Peugeot is also down to #10 and the Fluence  ZE confirms their bad performance, selling just 2 units in January.

Pl France Jan YTD % '12 Pl
1 Renault Kangoo ZE 444 444 59 1
2 Renault Zoe 70 70 9 12
3 Nissan Leaf 60 60 8 6
4 Bolloré Blue Car 58 58 8 3
5 Renault Twizy 36 36 5 2
6 Mia Electric 29 29 4 8
7 Opel Ampera 14 14 2 10
8 Citröen C-Zero 13 13 2 5
9 Smart Fortwo ED 12 12 2 11
10 Peugeot iOn 11 11 1 4
11 Chevrolet Volt 4 4 1 13
13 Fisker Karma 3 3 0 14
14 Renault Fluence ZE 2 2 0 9
15 Toyota Prius Plug-In (a) (a) (a) 7

TOTAL 756 756 100

(a) - Data not available

Source: Automobile Propre, Manufacturers

Friday, February 15, 2013

World All Time Top 10 (Updated to 15 Feb 2013)

Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf: The duel continues

With 2013 data is coming in at a slow pace, i took the time to see how it measures the all time ranking for EV's and the Top 10 models are a diversified bunch: From old timers dating back to the first electric era, like the Peugeot 106 Electrique at #7, to shiny new cars like the Tesla Model S already at #9 and looking for better standings in the next months, or from the usual electric ambassadors (Volt, Leaf, Prius...) to unsung heroes like the tiny indian Reva. 

There's also space for some french quirks, like the quadricycle Renault Twizy and the LCV Kangoo ZE at fifth and sixth places, and the surprise of seeing the Smart Fortwo ED at #10.

Just outside this All Time Top 10, but now a regular presence in the monthly Top 5,  it won't be long for the Ford C-Max Energi to reach it, making it the third Plug In Hybrid in the ranking.

Pl Name Sales
1 Nissan Leaf 50.987
2 Chevrolet Volt (1) 40.608
3 Toyota Prius Plug-In 27.070
4 Mitsubishi i-Miev (2) 22.065
5 Renault Twizy 9.020
6 Renault Kangoo ZE 7.135
7 Peugeot 106 Electrique 6.400
8 REVA G-Wiz / L-ion 4.000
9 Tesla Model S 3.703
10 Smart Fortwo ED 3.292

(1) - Also includes Holden Volt, Opel and Vauxhall Ampera sales;

(2) - Also includes Citröen C-Zero and Peugeot iOn sales.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Canada January 2013

Toyota Prius Plug-In dash, a mish mash  of buttons and 80's graphics

At 118 cars sold in January, the canadian plug-in market had a stable market, with the two top models maintaining their positions despite a weak month from the Volt.

January was a record month for the Prius Plug-In with 33 sales, enough to remove the I-Miev from #3 and close in on the top two. Speaking of Mitsu's small electric, its first month of the year was horrible, selling just 4 cars.

Pl Canada Jan YTD % '12 Pl.
1 Chevrolet Volt 44 44 37 1
2 Nissan Leaf 37 37 31 2
3 Toyota Prius Plug-In 33 33 28 5
4 Mitsubishi I-Miev 4 4 3 3
TOTAL 118 118 100

Source: Good Car Bad Car

Saturday, February 9, 2013

World Full Year 2012

At 124.207 EV's sold, 2012 doubled sales regarding '11 and a lot has happened since then, beginning with a new best seller crown bearer, with the Volt family removing the Nissan Leaf from the top spot, thanks to tripling sales in the US, now the largest EV market by far.

Despite a recovery in the last months of 2012, Nissan's electric couldn't help dropping to third, losing the silver medal to the Prius Plug-In, making it a great landing year, especially considering that it was only available on the second half of the year in most markets.

Thanks to strong initial sales that lasted through the summer, the tiny Renault Twizy secured a brilliant fourth place, even outselling the I-Miev family, 2010's best selling electric car.

Beside the Twizy, contributing for Renault's fourth place with 14% share in the manufacturers ranking, comes the Kangoo ZE (#6) and Fluence ZE (#9). Already showing up in the Top 10 and despite being sold only in the final months of the year, both Tesla Model S and Ford C-Max Energi look to 2013 with eyes on the top spots and promising some headaches to the podium bearers.

Further down the ranking, we welcome two newcomers, the Toyota RAV4 EV (#20) and the Roewe E50, to be noted that the chinese model had only December as a full month of sales, but it was enough to put it in #19.

As a curiosity, 2012 was the first year that Plug-In Hybrids sold more than pure BEV's, although the difference between them wasn't significative (less than 200 units).

Pl Name 2012 %
1 Chevrolet Volt (1) 29.597 24
2 Toyota Prius Plug-In (e) 27.100 22
3 Nissan Leaf 26.973 22
4 Renault Twizy 9.020 7
5 Mitsubishi i-Miev (2) 7.924 6
6 Renault Kangoo ZE 5.674 5
7 Tesla Model S 2.503 2
8 Ford C-Max Energi 2.374 2
9 Renault Fluence ZE 2.086 2
10 Fisker Karma 1.840 1
11 BYD E6 1.690 1
12 Bolloré Blue Car 1.543 1
13 Mitsubishi Minicab Miev 1.307 1
14 BYD F3 DM 1.201 1
15 BMW Active E 867 1
16 Ford Focus Electric 685 1
17 Mia Electric 455 0
18 Smart Fortwo ED 298 0
19 Roewe E50 238 0
20 Toyota RAV4 EV 192 0

(1) - Holden Volt, Opel and Vauxhall Ampera included;

(2) - Peugeot iOn and Citröen C-Zero included;

(e) - Estimate.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

USA January 2013

Tesla Model S dashboard -  It reminds me of a Apple/IKEA mash up... 

Despite a sharp decline (41%) regarding last December, truth is that at 4.593 units sold, January represented a three fold surge over '12 January, a sign that we should see a 100K plus market in the year end.

Tesla shot up to #1 with at least 1.200 sales, taking advantage of their competitors shortage of stock (Volt, Leaf), or bad months (C-Max, Prius).

Nevertheless, only the Nissan Leaf sold less than the year before, with every other model increasing significantly their sales.

With an enormous waiting list, it's looks that Tesla will become the expected surprise of the year, even if it won't repeat last months feat.

Pl USA Jan'13 YTD % Jan '12
1 Tesla Model S 1.200 1.200 26 N/A
2 Chevrolet Volt 1.140 1.140 25 603
3 Toyota Prius Plug-In 874 874 19 N/A
4 Nissan Leaf 650 650 14 676
5 Ford C-Max Energi 338 338 7 N/A
6 Mitsubishi I-Miev 257 257 6 36
7 Ford Focus Electric 81 81 2 2
8 Toyota RAV4 EV 25 25 1 N/A
9 Fisker Karma 20 20 0
10 Honda Fit EV 8 8 0 N/A
11 Honda Accord Plug-In 2 2 0 N/A

TOTAL 4.593 4.593 100 1.317


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sweden January 2013

Volvo V60 Plug-In Dashboard

January was a record month for Plug-In cars in Sweden with 174 units sold and possibly the first time that the EV's got more than 1% share in the general market.

The Volvo V60 Plug-In is building momentum since it was launched in November, rising now to #2, just five cars behind the Prius, so it won't be a surprise to see soon a new leader in the swedish models ranking, which would be a comeback for the home maker since the first place in 2010 of the C30 Electric, this month that goal already has been achieved as a brand, Volvo got 35% share against 33% from Toyota.

A good month too for the Nissan Leaf at 29 units, enough to pass the Renault Kangoo ZE and break into third position.

On a side note, it's strange as Renault doesn't invest more in scandinavian markets, as these are promising countries regarding EV's, maybe the french maker is waiting for the right car (Zoe) to go in, but they sure are loosing opportunities here...

Pl Sweden Jan YTD % '12 Pl.
1 Toyota Prius Plug-In 58 58 33 1
2 Volvo V60 Plug-In 53 53 30 6
3 Nissan Leaf 29 29 17 3
4 Renault Kangoo ZE 24 24 14 2
5 Volvo C30 Electric 9 9 5 4
6 Citröen C-Zero 1 1 1 8

TOTAL 174 174 100

Source: Bilsweden