THE brand new Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling electric car in Europe in February - even though it had only just gone on sale.
The new Tesla - which is not expected to arrive in the UK until later this year - has proved an instant hit with drivers in mainland European markets, knocking the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe off their perches in spite of costing considerably more.
And the arrival of the Model 3 even provided a wake-up call for Europe's premium car makers by outstripping the Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4 and BMW 3-Series to become the continent's top selling premium mid-sized saloon with 3,657 examples registered, according to figures released by motor industry intelligence company JATO Dynamics.
JATO calls the impact of the Model 3 "remarkable" and Felipe Munoz, the company's global analyst commented: "As we're seeing in the US, Tesla is also shaking up the European market. Its long-lasting impact will depend on how quickly the German premium makers, Volvo and JLR react to the arrival of the Model 3 to Europe and how quickly they can bring in their own midsize electric cars."
The latest European sales figures from JATO show a 92 per cent increase in registrations of pure electric vehicles in February with 20,000 EVs sold across Europe with Germany being the largest market. The overall market share of pure EVs across Europe remains at a marginal 1.9 per cent, however.
Meanwhile, diesel registrations fell once again in February, although their pan-European market share stabilised at 34 per cent due to an 8 per cent increase in registrations in Germany, which helped to offset double-digit falls in Italy, France, Spain and the UK.
SUVs, vans and sports cars were the only segments to grow during the month, as compact and midsize cars and MPVs recorded large drops.
Registrations of SUVs were up by 10 per cent with an overall market share of almost 37 per cent. The Volkswagen T-Roc was Europe's top selling SUV as demand for small SUVs increased by 13 per cent, while compact SUVs charted a 10 per cent increase.