European sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids were up 29 percent between January and March over the same period last year.

The total of 23,160 sales pushed plug-in cars past the 1-percent barrier in terms of total European new-car sales.

In the midst of that push, there was also a lead change among battery-electric cars.

DON'T MISS: Plug-in electric car sales for April 2016: Volt romps, Leaf stagnates

The Renault Zoe had led European electric-car sales in January and February, but it was surpassed by its corporate cousin, the Nissan Leaf, in March.

That's according to a running tally of electric-car and plug-in hybrid sales kept by the European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO).

Nissan's electric car racked up 6,168 sales in the first three months of 2016, giving it 13.1 percent of the market.

Renault Zoe electric cars on the Outer Hebrides

Renault Zoe electric cars on the Outer Hebrides

The Zoe was quite close behind, however, with 5,578 sales.

The luxury Tesla Model S took third place, with 3,378 sales.

Tesla apparently made up some ground in March, as the Model S had been ranked fourth for the January-February period.

ALSO SEE: European electric and plug-in hybrid sales for January-February 2016

Tesla doesn't release monthly sales figures or break down its quarterly sales by region, so it's unclear how these totals are calculated.

It may have been extrapolated from quarterly sales figures, or based on individual country registration data.

Further behind were two German electric cars—the Volkswagen e-Golf with 2,228 sales, and the BMW i3 with 1,567 sales.

2016 Volkswagen e-Golf

2016 Volkswagen e-Golf

They were followed by the Kia Soul EV (1,065 sales) and Mercedes-Benz B250e (740 sales).

The bottom three cars in the top 10 remained the Volkswagen Volkswagen e-Up—a smaller model not sold in the U.S.—and the Peugeot iOn and Citroën C-Zero.

MORE: While U.S. plug-in sales were flat last year, rest of world soared

The e-Up, which racked up 615 sales, is an electric version of the VW Up city car.

The Peugeot (557 sales) and Citroën (423 sales) are both re-badged versions of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid (European spec)

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid (European spec)

Plug-in hybrids: Mitsubishi stays on top

The Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid crossover remained the best-selling plug-in hybrid in Europe through the end of March.

It achieved 6,159 sales in the first three months of 2016, accounting for 13.1 percent of the market.

That put the Mitsubishi well ahead of the second-place Volkswagen Golf GTE, which only reached 2,979 sales.

The Volvo XC90 T8 "Twin Engine" took third place, with 2,661 sales.

It was followed by the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron (2,252 sales) and Volkswagen Passat GTE (1,593 sales).

Further down the list were the BMW X5 xDrive 40e (1,576 sales) and Mercedes-Benz C350e (1,275 sales).

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE

Closer to the bottom was the BMW i3 REx, which is considered a plug-in hybrid for the purposes of the EAFO tally.

The range-extended i3 model achieved just 1,030 sales—far lower than its all-electric counterpart.

In ninth place was Volvo's second plug-in hybrid, the V60 Twin Engine, with 902 sales.

Finally, the BMW 225xe Active Tourer closed out the top 10 plug-in hybrids with 770 sales.

The 2 Series Active Tourer is a front-wheel drive model unrelated to the rear-wheel drive 2 Series coupe and convertible, and exclusive to Europe for now.

However, the 225xe's powertrain may appear in the U.S. in the next MINI Countryman crossover.


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