2016 Nissan LeafEnlarge Photo
Sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids took a dive in May, but the segment may still have enough momentum to reach a significant milestone in the coming months.
May's total of 13,111 electric passenger cars sold was down 16 from April.
But the European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO) expects sales to pass the 500,000-unit mark by August.
The total number of electric cars sold in Europe reached 458,000 in May, and the EAFO expected strong June sales, although data is not available yet.
The cars leading that charge remain models produced by the Renault-Nissan Alliance, according to the running tally of electric-car and plug-in hybrid sales kept by the EAFO.
The Nissan Leaf racked up 9,516 sales between January and May, and had the largest market share of any model, at 12 percent.
Renault Zoe electric cars on the Outer HebridesEnlarge Photo
The Renault-Nissan pair have traded the lead in European sales throughout the year, while the Tesla Model S has remained close behind in third place for the most part.
Through May, the Model S achieved 5,360 sales.
The EAFO uses registration data to determine its figures, which is how it can calculate monthly Model S sales despite the fact that Tesla does not release official monthly sales results.
Following the Model S were a pair of German electric cars: the Volkswagen e-Golf, with 3,397 sales, and the BMW i3 with 2,165 sales.
2016 Tesla Model SEnlarge Photo
Rounding out the top 10 were three small electric city cars.
The Volkswagen e-Up achieved 1,155 sales, while the Peugeot iOn and Citroën C-Zero reached 806 and 622 sales, respectively.
The Peugeot and Citroën are both re-badged versions of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVPlug-in hybrids: Mitsubishi's streak continues
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVEnlarge Photo
The Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid retained its title as the best-selling plug-in hybrid vehicle in Europe through May.
It accounted for 11.9 percent of the European plug-in hybrid market, and maintained a comfortable lead over the second-best seller, the Volkswagen Golf GTE.
The VW managed 4,964 sales, and was followed closely by the Volvo XC90 T8 "Twin Engine," with 4,252 sales.
Another Volkswagen—the Passat GTE—followed the Volvo, with 3,535 sales.
Next in line were the Mercedes-Benz C350e and Audi A3 e-tron, with 3,504 and 2,885 sales, repectively.
2017 BMW 330e i PerformanceEnlarge Photo
The X5 xDrive40e SUV took seventh place with 2,143 sales, followed by the 330e i Performance sedan, which logged 1,834 sales.
Just behind the 3-Series plug-in hybrid was the i3 REx, with 1,806 sales.
The extended-range electric i3 REx is considered a plug-in hybrid for the purposes of the EAFO tally.
Finally, the 225xe Active Tourer rounded up the top 10 with 1,516 sales.
Active Tourer hatchback models use a front-wheel drive platform, and are unrelated to the rear-wheel drive 2-Series coupe and convertible sold in the U.S.