European BEV sales in H1 2020

Renault ZOE and Tesla Model 3 dominate BEV sales in Europe

The first half of this year was very peculiar. Thanks to the COVID-19 lockdowns ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) car sales dropped a lot, which is great. However, this also means that automakers don’t have to sell as many electric cars as was previously estimated to comply with EU emissions regulations this year…

As expected Volkswagen started the year very strongly delivering the veteran Volkswagen e-Golf and the new triplets (Volkswagen e-up, SEAT Mii Electric and ŠKODA CITIGOe iV). However, as soon as Volkswagen realized that it wouldn’t need to sell the triplets to comply with EU emissions regulations, the automaker hit the brakes extremely hard.

Now, until next year the SEAT Mii Electric is no longer available to order in Germany, the ŠKODA CITIGOe iV had a huge price increase and the Volkswagen e-up has its deliveries pushed to next year.

The reality is that Volkswagen can easily comply with EU emissions regulations just by delivering the ID.3 later this year…


We might not like it, but the triplets are Volkswagen’s backup plan, just like the Twingo ZE is for Renault. These are the electric cars that will be made and sold if the automakers conclude that the more profitable ID.3 and ZOE aren’t enough to reach EU emissions targets.


Anyway, let’s see the top 10 of BEV sales in Europe during the first half of 2020.


  1. Renault ZOE: 37.540
  2. Tesla Model 3: 33.164
  3. Volkswagen e-Golf: 17.639
  4. Audi e-Tron: 13.538
  5. Peugeot e-208: 13.266
  6. Nissan LEAF: 12.925
  7. Hyundai Kona Electric: 11.527
  8. Kia e-Niro: 8.495
  9. BMW i3: 8.477
  10. Volkswagen e-up: 7.428


Nothing surprising here.

The electric supermini Renault ZOE has the perfect form for the European market and the new generation with more range, faster charging, improved interiors and security is now better than ever.

As for the Tesla Model 3, it’s much better suited for North Americans that like big cars for road trips, but without real competition in its segment sales have been great.


Now the biggest disappointments in this ranking are clearly the Nissan LEAF and the BMW i3. Both are likely to receive NCM 811 batteries soon, first the Nissan LEAF during this year and then the BMW i3 next year.

It’s a shame how Nissan neglected the once EV leader, the LEAF. This electric car urgently needs:

  • At least 400 km (249 miles) range in WLTP from a 65-70 kWh battery
  • Decent TMS and a battery warranty of 500.000 km or 10 years to demonstrate confidence in it
  • Charge the battery by default only to 70 %, but allow the driver to choose the limit when required
  • Replace CHAdeMO with CCS as fast charging standard
  • 11 kW on-board charger and 22 kW optional (two in parallel)


Otherwise the Volkswagen ID.3 will take away from it any remaining sales…


As for the BMW i3, next year we can expect a final upgrade to 150-160 Ah NCM 811 battery cells that will give it a total battery capacity of 52-56 kWh for a WLTP range around 400 km (249 miles). It might also get an optional 22 kW on-board charger.



More info:

Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

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Rodrigo Melo
10 months ago

The Leaf will die soon, Ariya will take over

10 months ago
Reply to  Rodrigo Melo

Agreed with Rodrigo,

Current Leaf is in my opinion still not that bad technology and particularly 62 kWh version can stay on the market for the next 1-2 years with only minor upgrades. (CCS for allowing real 100 kW charging and 11 kW 3-phase onboard charger). But then it should die and the next 3rd. gen Leaf should be based on the new Ariya platform, which becomes common platform like MEB by VW.

10 months ago
Reply to  Rodrigo Melo

Ariya is going to launch 1 year later around 2021-06 timeline and until then Leaf is the flagbearer for Nissan with the other model being NV200 EV. Leaf has 481.000 sales to its tally being an all time #2 behind Model 3 which has 591.000 + sales.
I hope Nissan manages to sell at least 500.000

They can still launch an 85 KWh range for 500 km. Cabs will go for it.

Maarten Vinkhuyzen
10 months ago
Reply to  Rodrigo Melo

The Leaf needs a second generation successor, like the Golf that is now in its 8th generation.
Leaf and Ariya are in different segments. There is a market for both.

Leaf G2 having 55kWh and 80kWh LF(M)P liquid cooled batteries with >150kW charging.
Lower prices than current 40kWh and 60kWh models.

10 months ago

Leaf-1 was sold in the model years: 2011 – 2017 with 24 KWh & 30 KWh battery.
Leaf-2 was sold from the model years: 2018 till now with 40 KWh & 62 KWh battery.
Most models serve at least 4 years which means current Leaf will go until 2021. Thats why its better to include an 85 KWh battery for the next year.
May be from 2022, Gen-3 can come with all these 3 battery options and also liquid cooling. But given the state of Nissan, they may not go for redesign and launch it in the same year of Ariya launch.

Ariya is certainly a thoroughly new vehicle with 2WD & 4WD, 63 KWh & 87 KWh battery with 4 combinations. So expect a new Gen-3 Leaf in 2022 or may continue with the same Leaf for few more years or may let it go down.

Its true they are in different dimensions, lets see.
This is truly a wolrdwide best seller with 480K units sold.

10 months ago
Reply to  Famlin

I think that it is “impossible” to get significantly higher batter capacity than 62 kWh in the actual Leaf gen.2 design. If you look on its platform, the battery box must be prolonged to the front as it is done in the new Ariya platform. Also as was mentioned earlier you will still miss the TMS and AWD possibility which is already incorporated in competing platforms. Also the use of standardized cell modules/formats or CTP will be important in the near future. This is also impossible with actual platform.

I am a fan of the MEB platform style. This gives you possibility of designing many car classes, containing both SUVs and hatchback/limousine.Actual MEB platform can start from ID.2 (B segment hatchback/SUV) with the shorter wheelbase than ID.3 but it can still fit the actual smaller ID.3 battery box with maximum 58(62) kWh battery. Then you have ID.3 and ID.4 (C segment hatchback/SUV) with up to 77(82) kWh battery. And go up to ID.5 (D segment limousine/SUV) with longer wheelbase than ID.3 which can incorporate even longer battery box with 14 modules and 90(96) kWh capacity and 150 kW charging.

Thu all segmenets you will share powertrain, onboard charger, TMS and particularly battery modules.

Last edited 10 months ago by Pajda
10 months ago

I think they will not cool the batteries, it’s complicated with the current architecture. However, we know from video of Bjorn Nyland that higher energy density pack allows lower internal battery heat, so that means lower rapidegate problem. The new NCM 811 technology are then wellcome. For me the range of the 62 kWh is enough. Perhaps a lighter car will be a better solution with the same amount of energy, less consumption, more range and cheaper car.

But the CCS and triphase 22 kw (optionnal) charger must be proposed in the market

10 months ago

It’s a fact: ALL automakes except Tesla are just in the EV business to comply with regulations and to do some greenwashing to fool the public. The EU should tighten the regulations and force automakers to deliver EVs to everybody that orders one within 3 months, and they should audit the costs to determine if sales prices are abusive. Which undoubtedly they are. Enough of ‘ the market will take care of it’ . The EU is either serious about climate change or they should just roll over and get their belly tickled.

10 months ago
Reply to  carlos


10 months ago
Reply to  carlos

True. People can hate or love Tesla but they are truly EV. Rest of auto industry with they stupid politics is pushing customers to them.

10 months ago
Reply to  carlos

Without EU regulations there is no chance for such great market share of PEVs. So i can’t complain that much. It could certainly be better, but also much worse, just look at US. 😉

10 months ago
Reply to  carlos

Can I order a Tesla model Y and get it in 3 months?

10 months ago

The Leaf needs a big warranty the most, and 125kw CCS 3rd. What it needs 2nd is a massive price reduction…

Leaf stands for: Leading, Environmentally Friendly, Affordable Family Vehicle. It is built affordable with passive air cooling and a steading wheel that does not adjust properly… But the Leaf+ starts after dealer discounts at £30,000 and can go north of £40,000 too. This is just too expensive for a car that is built with missing standard car/EV features.

10 months ago

Once the virus issue settles down. EU should scrap all subsidies to EVs and then start taxing petrol/diesel vehicles at 1% in the 1st month, then increasing by 1% every quarter.

For ex: virus is controlled in 2020-09 and economy is in full gear by 2020-12. Then from 2021-01 should carry 1 % increasing to 2% in 2021-04, 3% in 2021-07 and 4% by 2021-07. This will be very slow increase and customers will be able to absorb it and those who feel that ICEs are expensive will start jumping into BEVs. This is the only way the legacy automakers will move towards BEVs or at least Plugins. Until then they will find all loopholes.

But this is not going to happen. So lets wait for Giga Berlin to be finished and also a slew of cheaper chinese enter the european market.

Leo B
10 months ago
Reply to  Famlin

Problem is, taxes are national authority and the EU can’t tax anything.

The easiest policy the EU can develop, with a guaranteed positive outcome, is as follows.

Draw a graph:

  • x-axis is years going from 2020 to 2030
  • y-axis is BEV sales as percentage of total sales from 0 to 100%
  • Choose the starting point, which is the current situation: x = 2020, y = 5
  • Choose the desired end point, in this case: x = 2030, y =100
  • Draw a realistic S-curve between the two points, so you can read the desired BEV sales % for any year between now and 2030.
  • Mandate any brand to sell at least the desired BEV % for the give year at any time during that year. Force them to report sales monthly. If at one point the BEV % drops below the desired %, halt all ICE sales of that brand until the BEV % is above the desired % again.


  • 100% BEV sales in 2030;
  • The market/industry may solve the problem, not the politicians (*);
  • If the S-curve is slightly ahead of ‘natural’ demand, BEVs have to attractive (in quality and price), because consumers need to be convinced to buy one: prices will likely drop;
  • No unnecessary money streams to further development of ICE/HEV/PHEV cars;
  • In the late 2020’s it might become totally unattractive to buy an ICE, because of resell value, so 100% BEV (or something very close to it) may be reached ahead of target.


  • Not good for petrolheads;
  • ICE cars may rapidly increase in price;
  • Initial products may be hastily developed and thus lower quality, limited product differentiation;
  • Some car manufacturers may not survive;
  • Supply chain of crucial resources may be restricted.

(*) Politicians can spend their time on rapid deployment of fast charging network along main routes and AC charging network in residential areas.

10 months ago

1 good thing we should feel happy is that the automakers are definitely selling more electric vehicles this year than last year and also many vehicles have higher range this year. Slowly the range is increasing and also the sales is increasing. Steady progress.
Lets hope in the coming months, there is faster increase in sales.

10 months ago

“However, as soon as Volkswagen realized that it wouldn’t need to sell the triplets to comply with EU emissions regulations, the automaker hit the brakes extremely hard’

This is certainly true and certainly foolish of VW and really any legacy auto maker…
This is akin to asking the Chiniese to come in and take their cutomers just like the legacy auto makers asked Tesla to take their customers who only wanted a BEV that they were to foolish to deliver themselves…

Some just never never never learn…

10 months ago

Hi Pedro;

First of all a big thank you for your site and insightful posts. I think that the traditional car makers are in the same position as most industries facing a big technology shift. It is very difficult for them to react to this since they cannibalize existing product lines/sales and have the dilemma of how to deal with this. Examples of this in the past are e.g. telco’s sticking with PSTN technology and pay per minute while everyone knew that internet based communication with flat fees is the future.

In your posts you have pointed out that costs of EV cars (due to progress with batteries) already are at a level that they will outcompete combustion engines, so the traditional car makers will need to move fast to catch-up to survive. This is particularly the case once the supply of scarce components (=mainly batteries) are resolved. Conventional car models converted to EV’s will not be sufficient, and strategic competences from the past might not be enough. So far I only see the ID3 from Volkswagen as a real answer, but they will still have a long way to go.

One comment to your overview though; if you would do the numbers on a group level, you might draw different conclusions. If you add up all sales for the Volkswagen group, they would be the market leader. Maybe something to think about.

Last edited 10 months ago by KVS
10 months ago

Lima : FYI
Tesla Model S sold 301.000 + units at the end of 2020-06. This is the Worlds 1st BEV with 3 range options (40 KWh, 60 KWh & 85 KWh) with affordable pricing in its segment setting of the mass sales making other automakers wonder how much market is for BEVs. 
Model S beat many high end sport cars with V10 & V12 engines in drag race shocking the automakers about the power of electric.
It also had 5 + 2 seating option making it the Worlds 1st sedan/sportback with 7 seater option. Truly a wonderful car and today it has the highest range at 640 km based on US testing which is stringent.

Still other automakers did not launch multiple ranges until 2019, when Nissan Leaf introduced the 2nd range (62 KWh).

Maarten Vinkhuyzen
10 months ago

Pedro, is it possible for the Zoe and Leaf to have higher charging rate than ~50kW without a liquid cooled battery pack?
According to Nissan and Renault it is too hard / costly to add liquid cooling in the current architecture.
Even the big overhauls of Leaf and Zoe were not big enough to do it.

Or is underestimating the importance of >100kW charging the biggest obstacle.

10 months ago

The short answer is no, they can’t. Bjorn Nyland did his 1000km challenge with the leaf 62kwh when it was 30C outside, and the temperature limited his best charging to something like 38KW. The Leaf did poorly on the challenge.

The long answer is the 62kwh version can get one 70kw+ session in if the starting battery temperature and SOC are in the right brackets. (20C, 15% or something around there.) i think it can do this because it has 3 parallel circuits instead of 2, which lowers the resistance and the heat gain.

To have 811 batteries, the Leaf will need liquid cooling, because otherwise there’s too much chance of thermal runaway fires, as well as degradation. I think Pedro’s mentioned it that the cell manufacturer will require nissan to use liquid cooling to prevent premature degradation and warranty claims.

If the 811 cells are more dense than the current 532 cells, they should be able to find some space for cooling elements, but the question is indeed whether the fast charging is worth the extra expense.

To my mind it is, but I’m an ev dork who keeps a spreadsheet of EV specs, and includes columns like “can add 150km in 30 minutes” , and “charging times for 600km trip”

Last edited 10 months ago by Marcel
10 months ago

If Leaf gets NMC 811 chemistry, I am guessing without liquid cooling, charge rate will still be limited. Will Nissan spend the money to integrate a liquid cooled pack in the current platform? Also, I still do not understand why Nissan will not implement the ability to limit the state of charge. Keeping air cooled (and even liquid cooled) cells at 3.9 V or less is a big benefit for improved longevity. I see even GM now offers SoC control on the 2020 Bolt EV.

10 months ago
Reply to  Barry

Agreed. I’m not sure I see the advantage of 811 cell with out liquid cooling, because charging rates Would have to be very limited, and there would need to be big top and bottom buffers, so it would be impossible to increase the useable kWh.

Perhaps nissan has finally figured out how to add an affordable cooling system?

I think they might be better off putting in new LFP cells with a simple cooling system. This would be a cheap ~45kwh battery that could charge fast.

Rui Moreira
10 months ago

FAKE NUMBERS !!!The model 3 sold ONLY 1810 car in Norway that is the largest market, where did the other 31000 go? Where is the source for this numbers? Where is the proof?

9 months ago

I think the model 3 has been production constraint for a while now with the closing of the factory during covid-19. In September sales will probably be huge and in December when “huger”.