Germany, Europe’s largest auto market, and the world’s 2nd largest electric vehicle market, saw plugins take 24.9% share in February, modestly up from 20.7% year on year. Full electrics share grew 50% year on year, whilst plugin hybrids fell marginally. Overall auto market volume, at just over 200,000 units, was up some 3% year on year, though still down from pre-pandemic norms.
February’s combined plugin result of 24.9% comprised 14.1% full battery electrics (BEVs), and 10.8% plugin hybrids (PHEVs). Comparing to February 2021’s results of 9.4% and 11.3%, respectively, we can see that BEVs have gained 50% relative share whilst PHEVs have marginally lost share. In fact, PHEVs have been hovering mostly in the 10% to 13% range for much of the past 18 months, and may not grow very substantially from here (depending on the dynamics of BEV supply).
Plugin share over the trailing quarter now stands at almost 28%, from 23.7% at this point in 2021. BEVs are at 15.9%, from 11.6%. These plugin growth rates seem modest, but it’s still early in the year, with resettling still in effect from December’s end of year rush, as discussed in last month’s report.
Petrol share was 34.5% in February, down from 37.7% year on year. Diesel share was 20.7%, down from 25.4%.
Germany’s Favourite BEVs
After a relatively quiet January, Tesla scheduled a large shipment again for February arrival, giving the Model 3 and Model Y the top two spots. The Model Y hit record monthly volumes, even ahead of local Gigafactory output:
There are no great surprises or new faces in the top 20. Just outside the list, the new Mercedes EQB is now starting to deliver in decent volumes (541 units in February).
The Renault Megane also delivered a small handful of units for the first time in February, presumably for testing or for showrooms. This is significant because its older sibling, the Zoe, has been very popular in Germany (chart below) and the Megane may become Renault’s new volume leader over the next year or so.
Since some brands deliver erratically month to month, we need to stand back to look at the trailing quarter’s volumes.
The Tesla Model 3 clearly leads, ahead of the Volkswagen Up!, and Renault Zoe in a close run for 2nd place. The rest are a long way back.
It’s good to see a fairly normal distribution of results between the #5 and #20 spots, which indicates that the BEV market in Germany is maturing. Note that this is more indicative than the smaller markets of Norway and Sweden, when one anomalous month’s shipping can completely skew the result.
In terms of manufacturing group performance over the trailing quarter, Volkswagen group has dominated with 24.6% of the German BEV market, well ahead of any rivals. In second place is Renault-Nissan with 14.5%, just a wafer ahead of Stellantis (also 14.5%), with Tesla in #4 with 13.4%.
Mercedes Group (10.2%), Hyundai Group (9.6%), and BMW Group (8.8%) take the three next places. As usual, Toyota Group, the world’s largest auto maker, is nowhere to be found, still dreaming of a hydrogen future.
The past two months have been disappointing in Germany, with combined plugins only growing share by a relative 10% compared to last year. However, PHEVs have decline whilst BEVs have grown by around a third. Furthermore, the German market is still in a hangover from the end of year emissions compliance rush in December, so we can’t read too much into these early results.
Just last Friday (4th March) Tesla’s Brandenburg Gigafactory received a green light to start production, and is now hiring leagues of production staff, and will soon start ramping up the production lines. By the end of Q2, I expect we will see the Gigafactory output start to tentatively register in Europe’s monthly BEV results.
Tesla’s local volume ramp will put pressure on the other manufacturers, especially the local premium rivals BMW, Mercedes, and Audi, to up their output game, which will then catalyze Germany’s next stage of the EV adoption trajectory. In around 12 to 18 months from now, I would expect that the majority of passenger vehicles sold in Germany at a price over €50,000 will be BEVs.
This will then quickly have knock on effects in the mid-price (€30,000 to €50,000), and later in turn, the affordable-price segments.
I’m not comfortable making detailed predictions on the plugin share of the overall auto market beyond my expectation that December may still see a peak in the region of 45% combined plugin share. The results in March and April will give us a better picture of the tempo we can expect in 2022.
What are your expectations for Germany’s plugin market this year? Please share your thoughts and insights in the comments below.
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