Germany’s plugin electric vehicle share broke new records in November, gaining 39.4% of the auto market, up from 34.4%, year on year. Overall auto volumes were 260,512 units, up some 31% YoY, though still down around 10% from pre-2020 seasonal norms. The Tesla Model 3 was the bestselling full electric.
November’s combined plugin share of 39.4% was a new record, surpassing the previous peak of 35.7% in December 2021. November’s result comprised 22.3% share for full electrics (BEVs), and 17.1% for plugin hybrids (PHEVs). These compare with shares of 20.3% BEV and 14.1% PHEV in November 2021.
PHEVs were given a boost by a pull forward effect, ahead of incentive cuts for the powertrain that are due to start in 2023.
In volume terms, BEVs — with 57,980 units — had by far their biggest month ever, almost 20% higher than the previous best (December 2021).
Diesel-only sales fell to 15.3% share, and petrol-only to 27.9%. Both were record lows for these traditional powertrains.
Germany’s Bestselling BEVs
Tesla delivered almost 11,000 vehicles in November, near to 20% of Germany’s total BEV sales. Highest volume was the Tesla Model 3, with 6,811 units, its best performance over the past 14 months.
At much more modest volumes (3,904 units), the Fiat 500 took second, only a whisker ahead of the Tesla Model Y in third. The Volkswagen ID.3 wasn’t far behind, in fourth.
With November’s overall BEV volume almost 20% above the previous record, record (or near-record) individual volumes were seen for many of the top 20 models. The Fiat 500 had its highest ever volumes. The VW ID.3 had its highest volumes in 15 months. The VW ID.4/5 had their highest volumes since the ID.4’s big launch month in December 2020.
Outside the top 20, some newer models started to appear and climb the ranks. The new Volkswagen ID.Buzz had its first high-volume month (634 units). The new MG4 set a new personal best (463 units).
The Toyota BZ4X, and its twin, the Subaru Soltera, both returned to sale after temporary launch snafus (257 units and 34 units, respectively). Last but not least, the most affordable of the new generation BMW BEVs, the new BMW iX1, registered its first ever customer deliveries (77 units).
Interestingly, we finally saw the return of Tesla’s full size vehicles, the Model S and Model X, to the European market, with a modest 106 units and 35 units, respectively. These appear to be Plaid variants (the only option available for order on Tesla’s Germany site). Tesla is now opening up Plaid orders in several other European countries, for January-to-March 2023 delivery.
The two big Teslas have been effectively absent from Europe since December 2020. Let’s see if they can get back near to their previous volumes (each roughly 100 to 200 units per month in Germany) now that there is more competition in their segments.
Let’s now turn to take a look at the trailing 3-month viewpoint:
The Tesla Model Y remains firmly on top, thanks to the massive 9,849 deliveries back in September. After a very quiet June-to-August (resulting in ranking #20), the Model 3 has just had its strongest ever 3-month-run, gaining the #2 position.
The Model 3’s climb pushed the Fiat 500 down from second to third. Most others in the upper ranks only saw a modest shuffle in rankings. Here are the main climbers since the previous 3-month period:
- Tesla Model 3 up from 20th to 2nd
- Opel Mokka up from 13th to 6th
- Audi e-tron up from 16th to 11th
- Renault Megane up from 19th to 13th
- Polestar 2 up from 38th to 14th
- Mercedes EQA up from 28th to 18th
- Smart Fortwo up from 30th to 20th
On the other side of the scales, these BEV models dropped position:
- VW e-Up! down from 5th to 15th
- Opel Corsa down from 6th to 22nd
- Audi Q4 e-tron down from 8th to 12th
- Mini Cooper down from 11th to 17th
- BMW i3 down from 15th to 26th
- Renault Zoe down from 18th to 23rd
The Opel Mokka — having been out for 2 years already — has never got much traction in France, the UK, Sweden, or Norway. Germany in fact accounted for by far the most of its European sales in November (Opel is a German brand, now part of Stellantis).
Why is the Mokka just now climbing the ranks? From Europe-wide data, it seems that Opel have started prioritising the Mokka’s manufacture and sale, over its more affordable Corsa sibling. In H1 this year, the Corsa was often in Europe’s overall top 10, and the Mokka didn’t figure in the top 20 at all. Now the situation has reversed (e.g., Mokka 11th in October). One hint: The Mokka starts from near €38,000 whereas the Corsa is near €34,000 (both before incentives).
Since they use the exact same powertrain, and neither model is demand-limited, it makes sense for Opel to favour the higher revenue vehicle. Another factor may be the imminent arrival of the Opel Astra BEV, coming early 2023. Although the Astra is slightly longer than either, it and the Corsa are both hatchback format, whereas the Mokka is taller, closer to a CUV or compact SUV format.
Side note: it seems that the BMW i3 — whose retirement has been talked about for months — is now finally reaching the end of its road. This is likely related to the arrival of the new iX1, a different format vehicle, larger, slightly more expensive (around 10%), and which will likely have better margins for BMW.
Against the background of Germany’s economic headwinds, facing recession in 2023, it is good to see that Europe’s largest plugin market is still growing at a healthy clip.
With road fuel prices remaining high, the running cost advantage of plugins still makes them an attractive proposition. Infrastructure buildout is improving, and more BEV model diversity is arriving, at more affordable prices.
In December, we may see close to 70,000 BEVs delivered, and an overall plugin share in the mid-40 percent range.
What are your thoughts on the German auto market and its transition to EVs? Please jump into the comments to join the discussion.
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