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Germany Plugin Electric Vehicle Share Hits 20.7% In Record February, Up 3x Year-On-Year

Germany, the world’s 4th largest auto market, and 2nd largest for plugin electric vehicles, hit 20.7% plugin market share in February 2021, up 3x from February 2020’s 6.9% share. The overall auto market was down 19% year-on-year. Homegrown brand Volkswagen dominated sales of full electric vehicles.

February’s 20.7% plugin electric vehicle share consisted 11.3% plugin hybrids (PHEVs) and 9.4% full battery electrics (BEVs), roughly in line with the typical share of duty over the past year.

Old school non-electrified diesel and petrol combustion sales fell precipitously year-on-year from a combined ~201,000 units in February 2020 to just ~123,000 last month, a drop in volume of 38.8%. These powertrains have contributed an average of 61.4% of Germany’s auto sales over the past 3 months, compared to over 85% in the same period a year ago. Nearing the end of 2021 we will likely see months where their share falls below 50%.

Germany’s Best Selling BEV Brands In February

We don’t yet have full data from the KBA on the best selling BEVs in February (keep an eye open for Jose’s later report), but we already have some partial data for BEV-only brands, and can extrapolate other brands’ performance from recent patterns. Of February’s 18,278 total BEV sales, we have solid numbers for Tesla, which registered 1918 units (10.49% of the total), Smart with 1,550 units (8.48%), and Polestar with 104 units (0.57%).

This suggests that, following recent patterns, the remaining 14,707 BEVs were dominated by Volkswagen, likely registering ~4,500 to ~5,000 units (25% to 27% of all BEVs), via the ID.3, e-Up! and e-Golf, and some number of ID.4.

2021’s leading BEV, the Volkswagen ID.3. Image: Volkswagen

Renault likely registered at least ~1,400 (~7.6%) of last year’s overall leader, the ZOE, with Hyundai seeing a similar share, mostly via the Kona. BMW (i3), Opel (Corsa-e) and Peugeot (e-208, e-2008) were likely each around 5% of the BEV market. Following the patterns laid down in January, the remaining BEVs were probably contributed by the following brands, in approximate order; Audi (4%), Skoda, Mercedes, Kia, Fiat, SEAT and Porsche (2%), with other brands trailing.

Overall, VW Group brands captured around 39% of the German BEV market in January,  though with Tesla returning to ~10.5% in February (from January’s low-ebb 3%), VW Group probably grabbed closer to a third of the market in February. Still a very dominant result.

With compelling new models from various brands arriving in customer hands in the coming months, the German BEV market should diversify in the near future, but much depends on the planned volume of those newly arriving models. VW’s planned volumes are not in any doubt.

Germany’s 2020 BEV best seller, the Renault ZOE. Image: Renault

With the first two months of 2021 recording an average 21.2% market share of plugin electrics in Germany, and March usually a banner month, the first quarter will already be significantly ahead of 2020’s 13.5% full year result.

With this strong early foundation, it looks increasingly likely that 2021’s full year plugin result in Germany will exceed 30% share, which – given Germany’s position as the world’s 4th largest auto market – will really send out a strong signal that the industry transition is arriving fast. What are your thoughts about Germany’s evolving auto market? Please let us know in the comments.

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Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking about social and environmental justice, sustainability and the human condition. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, and is currently based in Barcelona. Find Max's book on social theory, follow Max on twitter @Dr_Maximilian and at, or contact him via LinkedIn.


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