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With a sales rush in the last days of 2019, one would imagine January would bring a big hangover for the plug-in vehicle market. But turns out, it hasn’t. Yes, the Dutch plug-in market was down 2% year over year (YoY), to 3,184 registrations, but because the overall market fell even more (-6% YoY), the plug-in vehicle (PEV) share (7.2%, 4.3% for fully electric vehicles alone) actually grew compared to 12 months ago (6.9% in January 2019). So … why is this happening?

Answer: Start of the new EU CO2 emissions mandate.

Interestingly, this time it was pure electrics dragging the market down (-24% YoY), while plug-in hybrids saw their sales sales surge (+69%), leading to a BEV vs PHEV breakdown of 60% to 40%. Does this mean that PHEVs still have a future in this market?

The new rules, added to the effective sales hangover of a number of last year’s best sellers, led to a complete reshuffle of the top 20, with the headlining shock news being the Opel Ampera-e (who?!? answer: the European version of the Chevrolet Bolt) taking the Best Seller trophy in January. The Bolt Ampera-e had 309 sales, a new record for the small hatchback in this market.

But … wasn’t this car dead?!? Or about to be?

Well, it was going to start rolling into greener pastures, but then with the new CO2 rules enabled, Opel owner PSA decided to keep it for a few extra months, cutting its price in a big way (€10,000 discount, now being sold at €34,149) — it’s own version of the VW e-Golf phaseout strategy. It seems the Ampera-e will stick around at least until the new Opel Corsa EV and Opel Mokka X EV are delivered in large volumes.

Speaking of the VW e-Golf, the veteran model was the runner-up model last month, with 304 registrations. So, despite the VW ID.3 shadow on the horizon, the old geezer is still selling in significant volumes, which says a lot about the popularity of the nameplate.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was 3rd, with 235 deliveries, its best result of the last 6 months, while the Volvo S/V60 PHEV twins ended just 17 units behind — the midsize model’s best result since 2016. These were just two of the many PHEVs shining last month:

  • The new BMW X5 PHEV was #8, with 114 registrations, its best score since 2015.
  • Another two full-sized plug-in SUVs had good scores, with the Range Rover Sport PHEV scoring 51 registrations, its best result in 12 months, and the Volvo XC90 PHEV delivering 108 units, the first time since 2016 that the flagship SUV from Volvo scored a 3-digit monthly result.
  • Speaking of Volvo, its XC60 PHEV midsize SUV registered 94 units, its best result in a year.

But the new EU rules also provided good news for all-electrics:

  • The new Kia Soul EV finally started to be delivered in decent volumes, with the Korean crossover scoring 67 registrations, a new record for the Kia EV.
  • After a couple months of delay (see: new EU CO2 rules), the Peugeot 208 EV finally landed, with 97 units registered, already beating its arch rival, the Renault Zoe (81 units).

In fact, it became quite visible that PSA decided to wait for January to deploy its plug-ins. Besides the sudden surge of the Opel Ampera-e and the Peugeot 208 EV landing, three other models started their career last month, with the Peugeot 3008 PHEV crossover landing in #15, with 71 units, its Opel sibling Grandland X PHEV started its career in #20, with 49 units, and the Peugeot 508 PHEV midsize model landing with 46 units registered.

 

Top 20 Netherlands

 

 

With so many new models showing up, some familiar faces got kicked off of the table, like the BMW i3 (#7 in 2019), Jaguar i-Pace (#13 last year), and both flagship Teslas (Model S & Model X).

Outside the top 20, a mention goes out to the landing of the Seat Mii EV (22 units) and Skoda Citigo EV (41), the Spanish and Czech twins of the small VW e-Up. These two models should show up in the top 20 soon.

In the manufacturer ranking, Volvo started the year in the lead, with 14% PEV market share, closely followed by the surprising Opel (12%), and Volkswagen (10%) closing out the podium, ahead of Kia and Mitsubishi, both with 7% share.

 

Netherlands table