Sales of battery electric cars are likely to double in Europe this year and the dominance so far of Tesla, Renault, Nissan and Volkswagen, looks being undermined as more manufacturers, like Hyundai and Kia of Korea, and Groupe PSA of France, bring new cars and SUVs to the market.
Hyundai has said it plans to more than double its sales to over 80,000 zero emission vehicles in 2020, mainly of the IONIQ sedan and the new Kona compact SUV. Meanwhile so far in 2020, Groupe Peugeot has leapt up the sales charts with its new e 208.
According to Berlin-based auto analyst Matt Schmidt (www.schmidtmatthias.de), battery-only electric car sales in Western Europe will more than double in 2020 to around 700,000 and reach close to 1 million by the end of 2021.
So far, European sales have been dominated by the little Renault Zoe, mid-size Nissan Leaf sedan and upmarket Tesla Model 3, but this year there will new entrants like the Honda e, BMW Mini electric and in the summer, Volkswagen’s ID.3 is likely to jump close to the top of the charts with its long-awaited appearance in the showrooms.
Meanwhile, that will give Hyundai the chance to make some progress before the competition really hots up, while its sister company Kia also has a strong line-up with the e-Niro and Soul.
Last year in Western Europe, Tesla was the biggest seller, with just under 110,000 mainly Model 3s, followed by VW and its Audi and Porsche subsidiaries at just over 51,000, according to Schmidt. Renault followed with about 46,000 mainly Zoes, then Hyundai/Kia with 44,000. Hyundai accounted for about 31,000 of that, with Kia on 13,000.
In the first month of 2020, there already was a new entrant close to the top of the league, with the Renault Zoe in first place with just under 10,000, and the recently launched Peugeot e208 jumped in at 2ndplace with 3,200, Schmidt’s data shows.
Groupe Peugeot promises to be a big electric car contender in 2020 as it also launches versions of the same car via its Opel, Vauxhall, Citroen and DS subsidiaries. But the biggest splash will come later this year when VW launches its first, designed-from-the-ground-up to be all-electric ID.3. VW is currently building up a big stockpile of ID.3s, which will be unleashed “later in the summer”, the company says, without being more specific.
Hyundai and Kia will provide well priced cars and SUVs with decent range, according to IHS Markit analyst Tim Urquhart.
“There is no doubt the Kona and sister vehicle the Niro offer a strong full BEV contender given their pricing and range capability. But they won’t have the market all to themselves. Even with all the respective subsidies it’s an expensive car for a Hyundai/Kia,” Urquhart said.
The Hyundai Kona starts at about 29,000 pounds including tax ($36,500) with a range of up to a claimed 260 miles. Kia claims a slightly longer range and a marginally higher starting price. The older Hyundai Ioniq is slightly cheaper, but has a much inferior battery range of around 175 miles.
“I imagine the Kona/Niro BEV will be challenged from below by the newer longer range variants of the Renault Zoe and the Leaf while I imagine most potential buyers will also consider the entry-level (Tesla) model 3,” Urquhart said.
Sales in the U.S. of the Hyundai Ioniq are very small, according to Autopacific analyst Ed Kim, and the Kona is likely to be more popular, given its SUV appearance.
“As such, Kona Electric sold about 2.25 times the volume of the Ioniq last year, though that still only meant about 3,600 units sold. The reason for the low numbers is that Hyundai prioritized volume for Europe before North America, so we may be getting more production sent our way in the near future,” Kim said.
Hyundai and Kia both need to make progress meeting strict European Union (EU) carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rules, so it’s no surprise they are concentrating their electric sales firepower on Europe. Huge fines await those not meeting these 2020/2021 rules.