Renault Zoe Wins 2018 Electric Model Trophy In Germany, BMW Wins Manufacturer Title — Germany EV Sales Report

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The German plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) passenger car market ended the year dropping 10% in December, to 5,711 registrations, with fully electric cars continuing to expand (+12% YoY) while plug-in hybrid electrics couldn’t find a way out of their hole (-35% in December). Fully electrics (BEVs) now clearly outselling plugin hybrids (PHEVs) — 67% PEV segment share for BEVs in December, and well above the 2018 average (53%).

Because the mainstream market is also down (-8%), the PEV share climbed to 2.4% in December, with BEVs alone hitting 1.6%. The final PEV share for 2018 ended at 2%, a new record.

Looking at December’s best sellers, you can see the good moment BMW had, with the German brand placing two models in the top 5. The Renault Zoe remained at a near-record level, with 944 registrations, winning another monthly best seller title.

But the surprise of the month was the Audi e-tron reaching the fifth spot, with 528 deliveries, a good start for the German electric SUV. Will we see it here more often? I bet we will…

Dec. Rank Model Sales  
1 Renault Zoe 944
2 BMW i3 534
3 VW e-Golf 529
4 Audi e-Tron 528
5 BMW 225xe 394

The German PEV market is known for close races — for its changes and surprises — and the 2018 edition was no exception.

First of all, last year’s winner, the Audi A3 e-tron, ended 2018 in … #14. Well, that was a fall, wasn’t it?

So, we have a new winner, with the Renault Zoe finally winning its first model title there, after two consecutive years as second best.

The VW e-Golf won the runner-up place, with 5,743 registrations (+90% compared to 2017), which is a repeat of Volkswagen’s highest standing in Germany since the VW Golf GTE hit #2 in 2015.

There was an interesting race for the last place on the podium, with two BMWs (i3 and 225xe Active Tourer) running for it. The hot hatch i3 (5,095 units, +18%) finally overcoming its MPV cousin.

Below the top positions, there were some interesting changes. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV went up two spots, ending in #9, while the BMW 530e also climbed two positions, to #12.

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Finally, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric rose to #13, while the Mini Countryman PHEV was up to #17, underlining the good moment that the BMW Group is experiencing.

Outside the top 20, besides the aforementioned Audi e-tron ramp up, we should also mention the 104 units of the Hyundai Kona EV, with the Korean company slowly increasing its pace of deliveries.

Rank PEV Model December 2018
2018 PEV Share
1 Renault Zoe 944 6,360 9%
2 VW e-Golf 529 5,743 9%
3 BMW i3 534 5,095 8%
4 BMW 225xe Active Tourer 394 4,878 7%
5 Smart Fortwo ED 188 4,204 6%
6 Kia Soul EV 151 3,292 5%
7 Smart Forfour ED 115 2,552 4%
8 Nissan Leaf 205 2,380 4%
9 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 278 2,198 3%
10 VW Passat GTE 14 2,137 3%
11 VW Golf GTE 3 1,978 3%
12 BMW 530e 367 1,888 3%
13 Hyundai Ioniq Electric 179 1,695 3%
14 Audi A3 e-Tron 29 1,682 2%
15 Mercedes E350e 1,611 2%
16 Porsche Panamera PHEV 21 1,535 2%
17 Mini Countryman PHEV 178 1,492 2%
18 Mercedes GLC350e 25 1,464 2%
19 Kia Niro PHEV 121 1,440 2%
20 Tesla Model S 63 1,248 2%
+ Others 1,373 12,632 19%
ALL TOTAL 5,711 67,504 100%

Looking at sub-category best sellers, the BMW 225xe Active Tourer was the Best Selling PHEV and Best Selling MPV, while the Outlander PHEV was the highest placed SUV. The StreetScooter Work (4,214 units, up 8%) continues to rule the electric LCV sector.

In the brand ranking, BMW (19%, up 1 percentage point) won its 4th manufacturer title, comfortably ahead of Volkswagen (16%), while the #3 Smart (10%) won the last place on the podium, resisting the advances of Renault (9%).

The German PEV market is one of the most unpredictable out there, so it’s not easy to say what’s going to happens this year, but I believe the market should jump north of 3% auto market share, thanks to improved models like the new BMW i3, which might reach some 6,000 units, or Renault Zoe (9,000 units?), but mainly due to new additions, like the Audi e-tron, which should reach some 6,000 deliveries, and the Tesla Model 3, which could have some 9,000 deliveries in German lands, allowing it to run with the Zoe for the 2019 title. 

Finally, there’s the Volkswagen ID Neo. Depending on when and with how many units VW starts, the German compact EV might be a drop in the ocean in 2019 or could be running from behind to steal the top selling model title from the Zoe or Model 3.

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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 481 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes