Mercedes E350e Shines In Germany (#CleanTechnica Electric Car Sales Report)

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The German plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) passenger car market cooled off somewhat in May, growing just 24% year over year (YoY) to 4,711 registrations. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) slowed down significantly (+6%), while fully electric cars (BEVs) continued growing at a healthy pace (+52%). In 2018, with all-electrics reaching 1% share and plug-in hybrids are dropping their share to 0.9%, the total PEV share of the German car market is 1.9%.

But the most interesting story on the fuels mix is the Titanic-like drop of diesel vehicles sales. In May, sales sank 27%(!), to the benefit of all other kinds of fuel. Diesel now represents only 31% of sales. At this pace, diesel sales could be dead in this market by 2021. Inconceivable? Well, I thought 27% drops in diesel sales were also unthinkable, and yet …

Looking at May best sellers, the Renault Zoe won another monthly best seller trophy, but the news of the month was the Mercedes E350e reaching 2nd place, with a record 479 registrations (vs 62 units in May 2017). Putting that result into more context, this number represented 13% of all Mercedes E-Class sales, which is the category best seller for the brand. The E350e version actually outsold the total sales of the Mercedes CLS (343 units). It seems fleet buyers are ditching the classic Mercedes diesel option for a PHEV setup with a crappy electric range — just imagine how sales would be if it had a decent range.

Just outside the top 5, we find the Audi A3 e-Tron, with 228 registrations, scoring its best performance this year. Does this mean that the 2017 best seller has its mojo back?

Plug-In Model Sales  
1 Renault Zoe 507
2 Mercedes E350e 479
3 VW e-Golf 366
4 BMW i3 320
5 Kia Soul EV 231

In a market known for its constant changes, May delivered plenty to talk about, with several plots and sub-plots. Firstly, the previous month’s leader, the Smart Fortwo ED, dropped two positions, to #3 — to the benefit of the new leader, the VW e-Golf, and runner-up Renault Zoe, both up one position.

But the changes in the front group didn’t ended there. The BMW i3 surpassed the Kia Soul EV and is now the new #4.

But with only 372 units separating the 5 frontrunners, there’s still a lot to expect from this race until December, almost reminding one of the best races in Formula E.

In the second group, where most models race for the PHEV trophy, the big winner was the aforementioned Mercedes E350e, jumping four positions to #6, but with the VW GTE siblings not far off (the Passat GTE is just 13 units behind, and the Golf GTE 43 units), it promises also to be an entertaining race to follow. Especially if the recovery-mode (up 3 positions, to #15) Audi A3 e-Tron joins this group.

But the fun stuff hasn’t ended yet. We should also mention that the Nissan Leaf and Kia Niro PHEV both climbed one position, to #12 and #13, respectively, while the Hyundai Ioniq Electric stepped up one position in the ranking, now standing at #19.

As for Tesla, the only fact worthy of is that the Model X had 88 deliveries. That’s the nameplate’s best off-peak performance in a year, but it’s far behind the category best sellers, like the Mercedes GLE (1,027 units), the BMW X5 xDrive40e (731), or even the Volvo XC90 T8 (566).

In the brand ranking, Volkswagen (18%, down 1%) continues in the lead, but BMW (16%) is dangerously close. The third placed Smart (12%, down 1%) is running from Mercedes (11%) and Kia (10%) as it tries to keep its podium position.

Germany May YTD EV Market Share
1 Volkswagen e-Golf 366 2,271 8%
2 Renault Zoe 507 2,226 8%
3 Smart Fortwo ED 122 2,069 7%
4 BMW i3 320 1,940 7%
5 Kia Soul EV 231 1,899 7%
6 Mercedes E350e 479 1,292 5%
7 Volkswagen Passat GTE 213 1,279 5%
8 Smart Forfour ED 201 1,259 5%
9 Volkswagen Golf GTE 136 1,249 4%
10 BMW 225xe Active Tourer 28 971 3%
11 Porsche Panamera PHEV 130 795 3%
12 Nissan Leaf 129 765 3%
13 Kia Niro PHEV 140 734 3%
14 Mercedes GLC350e 84 729 3%
15 Audi A3 e-Tron 228 720 3%
16 Mercedes C350e 121 710 3%
17 Tesla Model S 112 656 2%
18 BMW 530e 104 610 2%
19 Hyundai Ioniq Electric 98 553 2%
20 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 78 545 2%
Others 884 4,577 16%
TOTAL 4,711 27,849 100%

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José Pontes

Always interested in the auto industry, particularly in electric cars, Jose has been overviewed the sales evolution of plug-ins on the EV Sales blog, allowing him to gain an expert view on where EVs are right now and where they are headed in the future. The EV Sales blog has become a go-to source for people interested in electric car sales around the world. Extending that work and expertise, Jose is also market analyst on EV-Volumes and works with the European Alternative Fuels Observatory on EV sales matters.

José Pontes has 478 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes