People don’t want plug-in hybrid cars, the auto companies said. Plug-ins are just a stop gap solution on the way to real electric cars, the experts said. But guess what? The plug-ins are here and the manufacturers can’t keep up with demand. In Europe and the UK, demand for the new BMW 330e has far outstripped supply, Motoring reports.
volkswagen golf gte
Originally published on EV Obsession.
It’s no surprise to see that German car companies continue to top the electric car sales table in Germany, but after test driving the Audi A3 e-tron myself, I have to admit that I’m surprised to see it and its almost identical cousin, the Volkswagen Golf GTE, topping the tables.
The July sales (i.e., registrations) numbers come from Jose Pontes, and as always, some estimates are included, so take the numbers as imperfect. According to Jose, Germany’s July electric car sales were about double last year’s and have grown to ~0.61% of the German new car market.
4 of the top 5 electric cars in July were German. Aside from the two plug-in hybrids noted at the top, the fully electric BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf took #4 and #5. Tied at #2 with the Volkswagen Golf GTE was, surprisingly, the fully electric Kia Soul EV.
Overall, 100% electrics took slightly more of the market than plug-in hybrids, with 53% in July and 55% for January through July.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV almost snuck into the top 5, with just 13 fewer registrations than the Volkswagen e-Golf. The Tesla Model S was close behind it at #7 and the Volkswagen e-Up! at #8 before things really trail off.
July numbers represented a significant shift from June. In June, the Tesla Model S was #1, the Golf GTE #2, the Outlander PHEV #3, the Kia Soul EV #4, the Audi A3 e-tron #5, the Nissan LEAF #6, the BMW i3 #7, the Renault Zoe #8, and the VW e-Golf #9.
Check out July’s charts and table for more on July numbers:
Originally published on EV Obsession.
Well, the Netherlands is certainly turning out to be one of the most interesting electric vehicle markets in the world. It is #2 in terms of electric cars’ percentage of total new car sales, but the cars leading the pack keep changing. The Dutch plug-in hybrid fetish is apparently as strong as ever, and some new and new-ish plug-in hybrid models are giving the running champ — the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV — a serious run for its money.
The Volkswagen Golf GTE continues its reign at #1, but the Outlander PHEV actually got kicked out of the #2 spot as well now, by the Audi A3 e-tron (which is basically the Golf GTE with a different body and brand, btw), and it barely fended off the #4 Mercedes 350e — with only 3 more registrations in the month of July! Will the Outlander PHEV be able to hold onto a medal in August? We’ll see!
Of course, for the year to date, the Outlander PHEV has a solid hold on silver (and the Volkswagen Golf GTE has a solid hold on gold). The Audi A3 e-tron is holding onto bronze, but the the Volvo V60 PHEV isn’t far behind it.
Btw, where the hell are all of the 100% electric cars? The Tesla Model S is barely holding onto the #5 spot, but looks like it will easily be overtaken by the new and quickly rising Mercedes 350e —
unless someone accidentally takes out the 350e’s knees in a back alley. In the month of July, the Model S was just 3 registrations ahead of the Ford C-Max Energi (yes, C-Max Energi!) in the #6 spot. you have to scroll down to the anthills to find the BMW i3, Nissan LEAF, Renault Zoe, Smart Electric Drive, Mercedes B-Class Electric, etc.
What’s with the Dutch not buying more fully electric cars? I still don’t really get it, even after my trip to the Netherlands and conversations with numerous Dutch electric vehicle experts. They’ve got better incentives for fully electric cars, they’ve got easy access to on-street EV charging (the government will install chargers for you), they’ve got an excellent and fast-growing EV fast-charger network from Fastned, it’s a small country geographically, and there are very attractive (Model S, i3, B-Class Electric) as well as affordable (Zoe, Leaf, etc.) models on the market. It’s still a bit of a mystery to me.
Btw, Dutch plug-in car sales represented about 6.6% of all new car sales in July, and about 6% for January through July. Not earth-shattering, but 2nd only to Norway. José Pontes makes some other awesome notes that get me much more excited: the VW Golf GTE represented 38% of all VW Golf registrations in the Netherlands in July, the Audi A3 e-tron represented 61% of all A3 registrations, the Mercedes C350e represented 71% of all C-Class registrations, and the Outlander PHEV represented 95% of all Outlander registrations and 39% of all Mitsubishi registrations. WOW.
Anyway, jump into the charts and table below! And as always, thanks to José Pontes for the numbers*.
*Note that these registration numbers require some assumptions and are not all from an official source. I’ve tried to track down complete numbers in the past, but the nature of the beast these days is that they just aren’t available. I’ve also found mistakes and odd assumptions in José’s numbers in the past, but they are still far and away the best I have found aggregated on the internet. So, be cautious with how you use these sales statistics, but the general picture should be accurate and useful.
I’ve been long planning to do an EV owner and lessee survey like this, so I am super eager to see the results. (I’m going to have a hard time not watching them obsessively as they come in.) But the key, of course, is getting EV owners and lessees to complete the survey.
If you drive electric, please complete this short survey! And be sure to click “Done” at the end.
If you know people who own or lease and EV, please pass this on to them.
If you have more EV owner or lessee survey questions you think I should ask (in a future survey), please feel free to drop the suggestions in the comments. If you have feedback on this survey, again, feel free to drop it in the comments or ping me directly.
Thank you! I look forward to sharing the results!
What’s the fastest electric car on the market? I think you can guess, but what about #2–17?
First of all, let’s get a little perspective in here. A car’s quickness is generally rated by how fast it goes from o mph to 60 mph (or 0 km/h to 100 km/h outside of the USA and a few other places). But there are other ways to measure it — o mph to 30 mph, o mph to 15 mph, etc. The thing about electric cars is that they have instant torque, which gives them a huge jolt of power right off the line, something that conventional gasmobiles simply can’t match. To visualize that a bit, here’s a simple graph via DesignNews (via the Union of Concerned Scientists):
This instant torque and the many benefits it offers is one of two key reasons that I think electric cars will quite quickly take over the automobile market. (This is the other reason.)
But anyhow, a car’s 0–60 time is the the standard by which we typically measure how quick (or fast, if you’re not being precise with your use of language) a car is, so that’s what I’m using in this article to rank the top 10 quickest “electric cars on the market.” Just keep that instant torque thing in mind and be sure to share that graph with your uninitiated gearhead friends.
As one more intro point before jumping into the list, I put “electric cars on the market” in quotation marks like that because some cars are supposedly “on the market” but are basically unattainable. The $1 million Rimac Concept_One, for example. Wonderful car, and supposedly goes from 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds, but come one, we can’t have a $1 million car on this list.
Oh, and by the way, plug-in hybrid electric cars are a subset of electric cars in my eyes, so they are included in this ranking.
With those disclaimers out of the way, here are the 17 quickest electric cars on the market:
17. Chevy Volt = 8.8 seconds (Note: 2016 Volt will = 8.4 seconds)
I went beyond the top 10 quickest electric cars because I wanted to get a bit more into “every man’s” territory. The Volt is certainly in that realm, with a price tag (or MSRP) of just $33,995 before the US federal tax credit for EVs or other state and local incentives. It’s also a very sharp-looking car and has gotten a ton of love from its owners over the past several years. It seems to offer a good balance between performance, comfort, and price.
16. Fiat 500e = 8.7 seconds
The Fiat 500e is known for being a bit spunky despite its cute looks, and quite snappy off the line. Road & Track actually named it the best electric car of 2013. At $32,500 before incentives, it’s again very much in the “affordable” category. It’s definitely one of the electric cars I most want to test drive and haven’t yet… which is largely because Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne doesn’t really want to sell the thing, it’s mostly just been available in California, and I live all the way over in Poland. But maybe one day….
I was actually quite surprised to see the Ford C-Max Energi (and it Fusion sibling) so high on the list. I mean, I saw the number when updating this comprehensive electric car page a few months ago, but I really didn’t remember it beating out so many other electric models. It’s very much a family car, in my eyes, and doesn’t scream “fast.” Perhaps the decent acceleration is one of the things that keeps it sales quite steadily in the top 6 or 7 in the USA. The affordable $31,635 MSRP doesn’t hurt either, I’m sure.
14. Renault Zoe = 8.2 seconds
I love the Renault Zoe. I realize it’s not the response that many have to such an affordable, simple car, but I really love the thing. And finding out that it has a decent 0–60 time of 8.2 seconds just makes it that much better. Naturally, it would be hard to choose the Zoe over the Tesla Model S or some of the other more expensive cars on this list, but if you want to save money, the Zoe is an awesome choice. Of course, it’s not on the US market, but it is the 3rd most popular electric car in Europe so far this year, and the quickest of those top three. By the way, the price in its home country of France is €21,900 and the price in the UK is £13,443, not including the leasing of the battery.
12. Ford Fusion Energi = 7.9 seconds
Like with the C-Max Energi, the Fusion Energi is another surprise “family car” that I was surprised to see so high on the list. It was the 5th best-selling electric car in the US in the first half of 2015, and 4th in June, due to its many benefits. Fast, quite spacious, quite affordable, good looks — what more do you need (other than a bit more all-electric range, ahem)? Price = $33,900, btw.
12. Mercedes B-Class Electric = 7.9 seconds
With some Tesla organs and a Mercedes badge, it’s not surprising to see the B-Class Electric show up on this list. However, it’s by far the most expensive we’ve seen so far, with an MSRP of $41,450. For much more detail on the B-Class Electric, I recommend this thorough review: 2014 Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive Review — 1st Month (Exclusive).
11. Cadillac ELR = 7.8 seconds
Expensive? What was I talking about? For an extra 0.1 second (… and, admittedly, a few other things…), the Cadillac ELR adds about $25,000. Granted, that’s a big reason why its sales are pretty lousy compared to other models on this list. But hey, it almost broke into the top 10, and the truth is that it does offer quite a bit of luxury.
9. Volkswagen Golf GTE = 7.6 seconds
Getting back into the realm of cars an average man can afford (well, the price is still a bit above average), the Volkswagen Golf GTE starts at £33,755 in the UK. If you haven’t guessed by now, it’s not yet on the US market. But it is selling like hotcakes in Europe. It was #6 for the first five months of 2015, but rose to #2 in May. As you can see in the video reviews above, it’s quite well loved.
9. Audi A3 e-tron = 7.6 seconds
The Audi A3 e-tron is tied with the VW Golf GTE because it is basically the same car, just with a different cover. It also comes in at basically the same price. Essentially, if you like the features of these plug-in hybrids for the money you have to fork over for them, the deciding factor is basically whether you prefer Audi or Volkswagen. Sort of like choosing between a Chiquita banana and a Dole banana, you know? The good news is the A3 e-tron should hit US shores in October (I’m guessing California).
8. Chevy Spark EV = 7.2 seconds
With more torque than a Ferrari 458 Italia, the Chevy Spark EV didn’t have too much trouble landing on this list… or impressing test drivers and owners. Yeah, 7.2 seconds to 60 mph isn’t amazing, but remember that graph at the top of this page. You have to adjust. And considering that the car comes in at just $25,995 before incentives (after a recent price cut), the Spark EV is by far the cheapest on this list that is available in the US, and comes in several thousand dollars below the average new-car price, not even counting the $7,500 US federal tax credit for EVs or the $2,500 ZEV rebate in California. You’d think it would be selling like crazy… unless GM wasn’t actually producing the car to meet demand or advertising it.
7. BMW i3 = 7.1 seconds
Full disclosure: I love the BMW i3. Agreed, the looks aren’t like those of a Rimac Concept_One or BMW i8, but the car drives wonderfully, has impressive acceleration off the line, is comfy and spacious, is the most efficient car on the US market, and is green as all get-out. With almost the same price as the Mercedes B-Class Electric, that’s likely its closest competitor. The i3 obviously crushed the B-Class Electric off the line (well, is 0.8 seconds faster to 60 mph), but there’s plenty of debate which car is better. See this comparison vs this comparison. Heck, even the tweets on those competing articles are almost the same.
6. Mercedes 350 e = 5.9 seconds
The Mercedes GLC 350 e 4MATIC Plug-In may be an SUV, but this beast knows how to get up and go, reportedly hitting 60 mph faster than your mom can say “ouch.” It has just hit the European market, so we’re yet to see much of it, but in the plug-in-hybrid-loving Netherlands, it was the 4th best selling electric car in June. I haven’t searched out the price yet, but I’m sure it’s not cheap.
5. Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid = 5.7 seconds
The luxurious, high-performance Volvo V60 PHEV is a close competitor to the 350 e in many respects, and barely inches it out in the drive to 60 mph (or 100 km/h). It’s high price tag certainly scares away many buyers, but it has enough to offer that it has a solid grip on the #9 sales spot in Europe. It’s not available in the US, btw.
4. Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid = 5.4 seconds
Ah, hard to have a “fastest cars” list without Porsche strutting its stuff. Another SUV/crossover, the Cayenne S E-Hybrid is all about the mixture of performance and luxury. At a cool $77,200, it’s not for the 99%, but what can you expect with the Porsche logo on it. For the record, I think it is my favorite SUV/crossover (until the Tesla Model X arrives), but I do wish Porsche had squeezed more than 14 miles of electric range into the vehicle.
3. Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid = 5.2 seconds
Ah, and sharing much of the same technology, the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid steals the bronze medal from the Cayenne S E-Hybrid. The Panamera S E-Hybrid actually accounts for about 10% of Panamera sales last I heard. I think it deserves even more, but whatev — people are slow to catch on to new trends. (Btw, Porsche, I have’t driven this thing yet — drop me a line.)
2. BMW i8 = 4.4 seconds
Eating Porsche’s lunch this time, the BMW i8 is not just a beauty of a car that pulls in people who know nothing about it — it’s a vehicular cheetah. The only problems? Its $135,700 price tag and its quite minimal 15 miles of electric range. But still, look at that beauty. (Btw, BMW, I have’t driven this thing yet — drop me a line.)
You knew it all along, of course. The Tesla Model S is the best mass-manufactured car on the planet, the best of all time according to many of us. Motor Trend recently named it one of the top 10 American cars of all time (come on, just call it #1 of everything), while the oil industry is pissing its pants about it. It makes most of the other cars on the road look like golf carts, and as I noted at the top, it burns Ferraris or Lamborghinis off the line. At a reasonable price, it’s no wonder the Model S is the top-selling car in its class in the USA.
Unfortunately, after test driving the record-breaking Tesla P85D, I’m ruined for all other cars.
(Update on July 17: Tesla just announced that it has gotten its 0–60 time down to 2.8 seconds.)
Originally published on EV Obsession.
I love looking at the Dutch, French, German, and Norwegian electric car sales data, but looking at the bigger European picture is where the real fun is. Throwing everything together from the different countries, it’s hard to have a good idea where they will fall out. Plus, the numbers get bigger.
Before we get into the numbers, though, let me get some big disclosures out there. The registration numbers come from José Pontes, who does a tremendous job pulling together figures from a large variety of official and unofficial sources. However, I used to try this myself, and I can tell you this: you basically can’t find complete registration numbers for any country. So, Jose has to “estimate” for certain types of vehicles and certain models in each of the countries. Then there are some countries where he isn’t able to collect the data at all. Nonetheless, pulling together as many numbers as he can for several European countries, including the ones with the biggest electric car markets, gives us a big-picture view of the European electric car market.
So, using José’s numbers, below are the top 25 best-selling electric cars in Europe, followed by some more comments about the cream of the crop.
So, it’s a tight race at the top… not! The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is crushing it. Luckily, I finally got to test drive this vehicle recently, so I’ll soon drop a piece here explaining why I think it’s so popular (…but the big points are sort of obvious).
While the Outlander PHEV has a solid hold on #1, the much younger Volkswagen Golf GTE is racing for a spot to the podium too, reaching #2 in May, and now just inches below its twin sibling, the #5 Volkswagen e-Golf, in terms of January through May registrations. I imagine it will be sitting in the #5 spot once June numbers come in.
But yes, back to the metal winners. The Nissan Leaf has a safe hold on #2 for January through May, but fell way down to #5 in May.
For the year to date and in May, its French cousin the Renault Zoe is holding steady at #3, thanks in large part to its strong sales in the homeland, France.
The Tesla Model S is nipping at its heels, though, and you know you wouldn’t feel comfortable with this beast right behind you in any race.
It’ll be fun to see the numbers as they roll in next month. I think it’s safe to say the Outlander PHEV is going to hold onto #1 for the rest of the year, but spots #2 through #6 are quite close. We could see a lot of shifting around before this year is up.
The Volkswagen Golf GTE is definitely high on the list of electric cars I haven’t yet driven and want to drive. And I freakin’ love the look of the dark one in the first video and photos below. I spotted a bunch in Amsterdam last month, and thought every time that it was a really great color for that vehicle. Anyhow, setting my personal opinion aside, below are some reviews of the Volkswagen Golf GTE (via EV Obsession):
The Volkswagen Golf GTE (a sporty plug-in hybrid electric car) is one of the more popular cars on the European electric car market these days. In fact, it was the top-selling electric car in the Netherlands in June, and if counted as an individual model (not grouped with other Golfs), it would have been #13 on the Dutch market. In Europe as a whole, it was the 6th best-selling electric car in May (June numbers are not tallied yet).
But yeah, what’s it like to drive the Volkswagen Golf GTE? A few reviews are below. The first two are from the same guy, British actor, comedian, and writer Robert Llewellyn of Fully Charged. The third one is a short one from a Dutch guy I met while doing a cleantech tour there last month. Both of these guys love the car, but you can hear more in their own words in the three videos below.
It looks like a great car. If you are on the market for a plug-in hybrid electric car, this definitely seems like one worth considering. Go take a test drive and see how it compares to other great plug-in hybrids on the market!
Tip of the hat to GM-Volt Forum member “cab” for the first two videos.
Once upon a time, hybrids were slow, simple, boring cars that were only driven by Birkenstock-wearing Whole Foods shoppers. These days nearly every automaker offers a hybrid of one kind or another, from simple family sedans to hypercars like the Porsche 918 Spyder. Hybrid car technology is changing the way we look at performance, and the Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept is a 174 MPH preview of the plug-in hybrid sports cars of the future.
This month at a gathering of GTI fans at Austria’s Lake Wörthersee, Volkswagen celebrated the 40th anniversary of the GTI with the GTI Clubsport Concept, heading for production next year, and the GTE Sport Concept pictured above. An evolution of the production GTE, 1.6 liter turbocharged, direct-injected engine churns out 295 horsepower to the front wheels, while a pair of electric motors (one at each axle) delivers an additional 113 horsepower and a lot of torque.
Total output is rated at 394 horsepower, and 494 lb-ft of torque in GTE mode, with a top speed of 174 MPH; yet Volkswagen still claims that on the NEDC cycle, the GTE Sport Concept would return a 118 MPGe, with up to 37 miles of all-electric driving range. 0 to 62 MPH is quoted as taking just 4.4 seconds, equivalent to a Mustang GT with the new 5.0 V8.
Volkswagen has been increasingly gung-ho on plug-in car technology, promising dozens of new electrified vehicles across all its brands. The German automaker thinks solid-state batteries could give its plug-in cars a huge range advantage in just a few short years, fueling its goal to become the world’s largest automaker.
This is one of those concepts that I hope we see in production form in the not-too-distant future.
For over 30 years now, the Volkswagen Golf GTI has been the car that has come to define the hot hatchback segment, with the latest iteration going from 0 to 60 MPH in just 6.3 seconds. But in Europe, a challenger may have risen up from within the Golf family, and that challenger is the Golf GTE, a plug-in hybrid, and there’s video proof to back up these outlandish claims.
On paper, the two cars aren’t even in the same speed bracket, with the Golf GTE “officially” rated at 7.6 seconds to 60 MPH. That may not sound like much, but it can be the difference between first and fourth place all the same. In pure electric mode the GTE is even slower, taking 10.5 seconds to reach 60 MPH. That’s the official line at least.
But this video purports to show a different story with the GTE’s 148 horsepower 1.4 liter turbo engine working in conjunction with the 101 horsepower electric motor. While Volkswagen says that only 201 horsepower at most is available at any particular time, that may not be the case. Keep in mind, the GTE is also heavier than the GTI by a couple of hundred pounds (depending on your particular configuration). True, the Golf R still supercedes the GTI in pure acceleration, but the GTI is the more attainable and “realistic” of the two cars to actually own. So why would VW lie about a hot-hatch that is nearly as fast as the GTI and gets 157 MPGe?
As Ford learned with the Mustang in the 1980s, you don’t mess with tradition, and supplanting the GTI with the GTE would make for some hurt enthusiasts. There was a time at GM when cars like the Camaro and Trans Am were deliberately hindered in their performance so as to not out-perform the more-expensive Corvette, so there might be some similar thinking going on here. There’s also probably an unfortunate perception that people shopping for a hybrid like the GTE aren’t particularly interested in performance. A missed opportunity to be sure, though I’d like to see a few independent tests to verify the acceleration.
Alas, the GTE isn’t sold in America, and Volkswagen has no plans to offer another plug-in car alongside the e-Golf. It’s just business, as they say.
The Volkswagen Golf GTE is exactly what I was hoping for; an affordable, performance-oriented plug-in hybrid that lets you go fast without the gas-guzzling guilt. With a combined 258 ft-lbs of torque and a top speed higher than the Tesla Model S, this little hybrid Golf promises to be big fun without sucking down a whole lotta gas.
Just as speculation suggested, the Volkswagen Golf GTE gets a 1.4 liter turbo engine good for 148 horsepower mated to an electric motor at the front wheels with a maximum output of 101 horsepower. Combined output of both drivetrains is 201 horsepower, with 258 lovely ft-lbs of torque. Just as important though, the Golf GTE can go up to 31 miles on electric power only, up to a maximum speed of 81 MPH.
That gives the Golf GTE the equivalent of 157 MPG, though real-world numbers are likely to be a lot lower. Still, as the Chevy Volt proved, if your commute is amicable to plug-in hybrids, you can go literally thousands of miles on just a few drops of fuel…and the GTE promises to get you there quickly as well, with the shifting handled by a dual-clutch six-speed slushbox.
The Golf GTE can go from 0 to 60 MPH in 7.6 seconds, only about a second slower than Volkswagen’s own version of the hot hatch, the Golf GTI. It can also achieve a top speed of 135 MPH given the space, a full 10 MPH more than the standard Tesla Model S (top speed, 133 MPH). It’s the latest addition to the Golf GT line that also includes the much-coveted Golf GTD turbodiesel.
The only real problem as far as I can see it? Volkswagen has no plans to bring this awesome car to America, instead giving us an electric e-Golf model to hold us over. Whomp whomp whommmmp.
A planned performance plug-in hybrid called the the Volkswagen Golf GTE could inject so much-needed fun into the hybrid class of cars.While traditionally automakers have relied on forced induction to provide increased performance in compact sports cars, Volkswagen is looking to change that with a sporty hybrid that’s fun to drive.
The VW Golf GTE, which stands for GT Electric, will most likely come from a 148 horsepower 1.4 liter turbocharged engine mated to a 107-horsepower electric motor. That’s the same drivetrain powering the Audi A3 e-tron, a car that’s definitely coming to America. The front-wheel drive Golf GTE will have an 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack under the rear seats of the new global platform, and together the hybrid drivetrain can supposedly push the Golf GTE from 0 to 60 MPH in 7.6 seconds. That’s about as fast the Euro-market turbodiesel-powered Golf GTD.
While hardly fast, it’s faster than many other hybrid vehicles on the market, such as the Toyota Prius, which takes about 11 seconds to reach 60 MPH. A six-speed dual clutch transmission will enhance the driving experience for a sportier feel compared to many hybrids, and the top speed is said to be in the 135 MPH area.
And what of fuel economy? The VW Golf GTE will supposedly be able to run at speeds of up to 81 MPH on electric power alone, and a European fuel economy rating of 188.3 MPG is more likely to translate into something north of 45 MPG in the real world. A 31-mile driving range should handle most trips without using a drop of fuel however, and the increased performance could open up some minds to the idea of a sporty hybrid car.
I’m game, so long as the price is right.