Germany – the home of the combustion engine – has now had its auto market “officially” disrupted by plug-in electric cars, which in July accounted for a record 11% of all car sales.
Auto sales in general are still depressed due to economic downturn amid Coronavirus in Germany, but increased purchasing incentives that have in some instances meant drivers can more or less get an electric car for free has seen a massive boost in electric vehicle (EV) sales.
According to Jose Pontes from EV Sales, battery electric car sales are up an impressive 182% compared to July 2019, with near 17,000 EVs sold. But it is the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) arena that really shone, with sales up by 485% compared to the same time the year before.
All in all, it equates to a tripling of sales from a year before, meaning that for the entire year, 8.5% of all new car sales in Germany were plug-in electric, with almost half of that (4%) accounted for by battery electric vehicles.
As this is a record for a usually slow July, Pontes notes that “we may have already reached the tipping point in Germany, where disruption is visible and the status quo is changed forever, so we could see this market reach the 10% plugin share already this year, which would mean 2021 would see this market surf the steepest part of the S-Curve during that whole year.”
The new sales record also underpins the observation made by auto analyst Matthias Schmidt, and as reported by The Driven earlier in August that European EV sales are now pushing past those of China, historically the leader of electric car sales in terms of market share.
Surprisingly, it is the Volkswagen e-Golf that remains at the top of battery-electric sales in Germany, despite the fact that the German carmaker is about to unleash its ID.3 electric hatches on the country, backed by a clever low-key marketing campaign that has involved VW CEO Herbert Diess swanning around the country in one.
However, with 2,633 registrations compared to the Renault Zoe’s 2,851, it took the back seat in second place for the month’s sales. Paired with sales in France, Renault sold more than 25,000 Zoes in the first half of 2020 – it is no wonder that with a paltry nine sold in Australia for the same period, the French carmaker decided to pull it locally.
The Tesla Model 3 performed well despite a very small number of registrations in the month of July, presumably due to a slow down in shipping due to the pandemic. With just 154 registered in the month of July, it stayed in the top 3 with 4,521 units.
Pontes says he thinks that September, typically a big month for the German auto industry, will show even better results, with a market share for plug-ins as high as 13%.
As the Volkswagen starts deliveries of the ID.3 and Tesla ramps up shipping as the quarter comes to an end, expect to see some serious EV push and shove.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.