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Germany — Plugin Vehicles About To Blast Past 25% Share Of Auto Market

Europe’s biggest auto market, Germany, saw plugin electric vehicle share hit 23.4% in May, up over 3× from 7.3% in May 2020. Summer always brings a further boost, so from now on, 25% and above is inevitable. The overall auto market saw a volume of 231,000, still significantly down from pre-Covid 2019’s ~340,000.

May’s combined plugin result of 23.4% consisted of an even balance between full battery electrics (BEVs) with 11.6% and plugin hybrids (PHEVs) at 11.8%. This is a slight swing towards BEVs from recent weightings. The 2021 year-to-date cumulative plugin share now stands at 22.2%, up dramatically from the 7.6% at this point in 2020.

Old-school non-electrified diesel sales were weak again, at 22.3% share, down from 31.7% a year ago. They now have fallen below the combined plugin share, and will continue to quickly fade away:

Popular Plugin Models Year-To-Date

We don’t yet have BEV model data from the German market for May, but here’s a reminder (from last month’s model report) of the most popular plugin models over the year-to-April period:

Note that the Volkswagen ID.4 had its first big month in April, with 1,446 deliveries (not quite enough to get on to the above year-to-date list). April’s other significant volume arrival was the Skoda Enyaq, with 845 units. It’s likely both of these models will see even more volume in May, and will climb up the charts over the rest of the year.

Skoda Enyaq. Image courtesy of Skoda.

For many years in Germany, June, July and August have consistently seen a significant step up in plugin share compared to May and earlier months. I’d therefore estimate that May, or at latest June, will be the last time in Germany that we see under 25% plugin market share.

On this current trajectory, the final months of the year should comfortably reach into the 30+% share and December may hit 40% or higher. The full year cumulative result should stand at around 30% (it’s already above 22%).

Just as a reminder, 2020’s cumulative result in Germany was 13.5% and 2019’s was 3.0%. That’s a massive acceleration of EV adoption in the world’s 4th largest auto market, over the course of just a couple of years, and it’s not going to slow down as BEVs get ever more affordable and even more compelling.

The unobservant consultants and forecasters who are still saying it will be ~2040 before EVs take half the global auto market need to wake up and pay attention to events on the ground.

What do you think we will see in the months and years ahead? Please share your thoughts and insights 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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