Sales Surge Sees Europe's Electric Car Fleet Pass 1 Million

CC BY 2.0. Germans can make very nice electric cars/ Lloyd Alter

Sales were up 42% compared in the first half of 2018.

We know that the Nissan Leaf 2.0 has been selling well in Europe, but apparently it is not alone. Business Green reports that overall electric car sales were up 42% in the first half of 2018 in Europe (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). This sales surge brought the cumulative number of plug-in cars on European roads to over one million for the first time ever, and that number could reach 1.3 million by the end of the year.

Encouragingly, growth appears to have been strong across the entire region—suggesting this is a more robust trend than the kinds of temporary, localized spikes in sales we've seen due to new or expiring tax credits and other incentives. Anecdotally at least, I can affirm this trend: On my recent trip to the UK, alongside the new bike lanes and many solar panels, I also saw a growing number of plug-in cars on the road—including outside of major urban centers. And that's happening even before the significant improvements in charging infrastructure that are coming down the line.

Of course, we're still talking about tiny numbers compared to fossil fueled cars (around 2% of new car sales), but it doesn't take long for double digit sales growth to start changing the market overall. In Norway, where electric cars have been surging for some time, we're even beginning to see actual drops in oil demand.

Technological change, as we know, is rarely linear. Let's hope that the slow, early march of electrification is about to pick up pace. And then let's hope that we continue to think beyond the car too.