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Germany Plugin Electric Share Hits 22.5% In March — 2.4× Year-On-Year Share Growth

Germany, Europe’s largest auto market, saw plugin electric vehicles reach 22.5% share in March 2021, a growth of over 2.4× from March 2020 (9.2% share). Provisional estimates have Volkswagen brand vehicles taking the top two full electric spots for Q1, just ahead of the Tesla Model 3. Overall auto volumes, at 292,349, recovered year on year, but remained down around 15% from their March 2019 result.



The 22.5% combined plugin result consisted of 10.3% full battery electrics (BEVs) and 12.2% plugin hybrids (PHEVs). This represents a swing towards PHEVs from the March 2020 weighting of 10:9 (BEV:PHEV). Year-to-date (and Q1) cumulative plugin share now stands at 21.8%, with weighting of 10:12 (BEV:PHEV).

Diesel combustion share fell to 22.1% in March (and 24.1% for Q1), down dramatically from 31.6% in March 2020 (and 32% for Q1 2020).

Germany’s Top BEVs in Q1 2021

The KBA don’t release model data until later in the month, but the “Umweltbonus” (Eco-bonus) incentive scheme logged by more promptly records the cumulative tally of BEV sales that apply for the incentive. The incentive has a ceiling of €65,000, but effectively covers all the highest volume BEVs on the market.

Combining January and February’s model sales data with the latest Umweltbonus data can give us provisional estimates for the best selling BEVs in Q1 2021. Note these data are certainly provisional, based on combining the sources as described (and know that the Bafa data is fairly Byzantine). We will have more official model data later in the month in Jose’s report.

There’s only enough solid data to pencil out the top 5 models for now. Volkswagen’s e-Up! and ID.3 took the top two spots, just ahead of Tesla’s Model 3. The Hyundai Kona and Smart fortwo were not far behind. Surprisingly, the Renault ZOE, last year’s most popular BEV, seems to have had a low month in March, dropping from what was the #3 spot at the end of February to just outside the Q1 top 5 list. We’ll look for insights about what happened in Jose’s reporting.

Volkswagen e-Up! Image: Volkswagen

Europe’s Big 3 At 17.25% In Q1 2021

We’ve now got all the Q1 2021 results for Germany, France, and the UK, which together represent just over half of the EU+EFTA’s total passenger car sales (based on 2019 figures, ACEA data). The combined plugin share for these big 3 markets now stands at 17.25%, up from 16.8% at the end of February. This is a great result for Q1 2021, and already substantially above their 2020 full year plugin share of 12.2%, which itself was a breakout year.

Based on recent weightings, this also hints at a wider Europe share of around 14.5% in Q1.

What are your predictions for the German auto market in 2021? Which BEV models will prove the most popular overall? Please share your thoughts 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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