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Published on December 21st, 2018 | by Jose Pontes


Renault Zoe & VW e-Golf Racing For #1 In Germany — #CleanTechnica EV Sales Report

December 21st, 2018 by  

After a positive October, the German plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market slipped again in November, down 2% to 6,266 registrations. This is in the midst of a seismic change happening in the fuels mix, with full electrics (BEVs) jumping +41% year over year (YoY) while plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) continue sinking (-39%). Full electrics now outsell plug-in hybrids by a decent margin, flipping the script on this market (68% share for BEVs in November).

Because the mainstream market is dropping even faster than plug-ins (it is down -10%), the PEV share actually climbed to 2.3% in November, with BEVs alone hitting 1.6%. For the year to date (YTD), the total PEV share remained stable at 1.9% (1% BEV).

Looking at November best sellers, you can see the good moment for all-electric models, with the Renault Zoe breaking the previous all-time record for a single model (980 units in October ’15 by the Kia Soul EV), with an impressive 1,047 registrations.

The VW e-Golf was second, thanks to a best ever result of 858 deliveries. It seems VW opened the gates for BEV production. The little e-Up!, meanwhile, registered 126 units, the nameplate’s best result since March.

But the surprise of the month was the Nissan Leaf reaching the 5th spot, with 366 deliveries, its best result since March ’15. Will we see it here more often? I bet we will…

Rank Model Sales  
1 Renault Zoe 1,047
2 VW e-Golf 858
3 BMW 225xe Active Tourer 456
4 BMW i3 432
5 Nissan Leaf 366

The German PEV market is known for close races, as well as the changes and surprises that come with those, and November was no exception. First of all, the 2018 winner is still not clear, but the Renault Zoe and VW e-Golf did become the only two candidates for the 2018 best seller award, as both stepped up the pace last month. It will be a close race for the leadership.

Interestingly, if the e-Golf wins the 2018 trophy, it will be a first for Volkswagen, as so far the best results it had were two third place finishes, one in 2014, with the VW e-Up!, and the second in 2015, with the VW Golf GTE.

The last place on the podium also has an interesting race, with two BMWs (i3 and 225xe) separated by fewer than 100 units, 77 to be precise.

Below the top positions, there were some interesting changes. The Nissan Leaf jumped two positions, to #8, meaning there were 7 BEVs in the top 8 spots. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV also went up two spots, to #11, thanks to 386 registrations, the model’s best result in its 5 year career.

The BMW 530e climbed to #14, and with the now discontinued Mercedes E350e only 90 units ahead, the BMW PHEV is now the favorite to end the year as the best selling luxury plug-in.

Finally, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric rose to #15, thanks to 227 registrations, underlining the good moment that pure electrics are experiencing.

Rank Germany November YTD PEV Market Share (January–November)
1 Renault Zoe 1,047 5,416 9%
2 VW e-Golf 858 5,214 8%
3 BMW i3 432 4,561 7%
4 BMW 225xe Active Tourer 456 4,484 7%
5 Smart Fortwo ED 296 4,016 6%
6 Kia Soul EV 182 3,141 5%
7 Smart Forfour ED 214 2,437 4%
8 Nissan Leaf 366 2,175 4%
9 VW Passat GTE 45 2,123 3%
10 VW Golf GTE 25 1,975 3%
11 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 386 1,920 3%
12 Audi A3 e-Tron 20 1,653 3%
13 Mercedes E350e 1,611 3%
14 BMW 530e 195 1,521 2%
15 Hyundai Ioniq Electric 227 1,516 2%
16 Porsche Panamera PHEV 39 1,514 2%
17 Mercedes GLC350e 66 1,439 2%
18 Kia Niro PHEV 49 1,319 2%
19 Mini Countryman PHEV 135 1,314 2%
20 Tesla Model S 81 1,185 2%
+ Others 1,147 11,259 18%
ALL TOTAL 6,266 61,793 100%

Outside the top 20, we should mention the 220 registrations of the Audi e-Tron, no doubt demonstration units, but a large number nevertheless, especially considering that full deliveries should only start in February. Will the Big Audi be the 2019 Luxury PEV Best Seller?

Not coincidentally, Tesla Model X deliveries are down 29% YoY, while the Model S is faring even worse, with a sharp 60% drop. Although, in this last case, I think this has more to do with the Model 3’s long shadow than any other upcoming model (read: Porsche Taycan).

In the brand ranking, BMW (18%, down 1%) is in the leadership position, ahead of Volkswagen (16%, down 1%). The #3 Smart (10%, down 1%) is in the last place on the podium, with Renault (9%, up 1%) still trying to reach the bronze medal. 


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About the Author

Always interested in the auto industry, particularly in electric cars, Jose has been overviewing the sales evolution of plug-ins through the EV Sales blog since 2012, 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 now a partner in EV-Volumes and works with the European Alternative Fuels Observatory on EV sales matters.

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