The growth is led by the Renault Zoe.

Electric cars are finally taking off in Europe, according to a recent report.

Consumers on the Old Continent have been slow to adopt battery-electric vehicles. For a long time, new car shoppers adamently believed diesel-powered cars were the ideal alternative to gasoline-burning models, which used more fuel and generally cost more to fill up. However, Europe's collective mindset is beginning to change.

Bloomberg reports sales of battery-powered cars grew by 38 percent in the first quarter of this year. 32,627 cars were registered in the European Union countries, Norway, and Switzerland, compared to 23,703 in the first quarter of last year.

Bloomberg's statistics show the growth is led by the Renault Zoe, which is the only affordable, long-range electric car on the market. The updated model is rated at 250 miles of range in the famously optimistic European testing cycle, and it starts at 23,700 euros (roughly $26,000) before the numerous available incentives are factored in.

The Zoe is winning over buyers because it was developed as an electric car from the get-go. It's more affordable than the Nissan Leaf, the BMW i3, and any current or future product from Tesla, and it's infinitely more practical than the Peugeot iOn and the Citro├źn C-Zero, which are both clones of the mediocre Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

Another important factor driving the expansion of the electric car market is the improving infrastructure. Nations like France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom are investing a sizable amount of money into building a network of fast-charging stations that promises to make long-distance, zero-emissions travel a reality.

Photo by Ronan Glon.