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European Alternative Fuels Observatory
News article27 February 2021

Germany January 2021


22% Of German Vehicle Sales In January Were Plugins!


The German passenger plugin vehicle (PEV) market started the year like it ended the last one — on fire — with registrations doubling to 36,903. So, it seems there’s no stopping the German EV locomotive.

While full electrics (BEVs) jumped significantly (+118% year over year), plugin hybrids (PHEVs) did even better (+138% YoY). That allowed plugin hybrids to remain ahead of full electrics (44% of registrations were BEV and 56% PHEV).

This brilliant performance, added to the steep fall of the overall market (-31% YoY), allowed PEV share to jump from the 6.6% of January 2020 to the current 22%(!), with BEVs alone hitting 10%.

Interestingly, this 22% score is already above the 14% of the year 2020, so we might see 30% months in Germany this year … and 50% months by 2023?


Germany January 2021


Looking at January best sellers, we have Volkswagen taking 1st and 2nd place. The Volkswagen ID.3 led the way, with 1,799 units registered, while the VW e-Up won 2nd place. In fact, only a few units prevented VW from having all three podium positions to itself! The Volkswagen Passat GTE lost the bronze medal by just 14 units.

Nevertheless, Volkswagen had more reasons to smile, as it placed 5 models in the top 10, with the new Golf PHEV in #9 and the e-Golf (?!?) in #10. It is amazing that the previous generation Golf (VII) had its BEV version selling at almost the same level as the current generation Golf (VIII) PHEV.

But it wasn’t only Volkswagen shining, BMW also placed models on the table, with two of them even having record months (X3 PHEV and X5 PHEV), while Mercedes had 4 representatives. That left just two real foreigners on the table — the #7 Hyundai Kona EV and the #8 Renault Zoe. (Smart Fortwo EV belongs to Daimler Group, while Ford has factories in Germany, so the Kuga PHEV can be seen as partly German).

Outside the top 20, a mention goes out to the #21 Skoda Octavia PHEV, which is sure to become a familiar face on the table once the ramp up is complete. The two best sellers had expected slow starts, with the Tesla Model 3 registering just 422 units while the VW ID.4 had 325. Expect both to join the table next month, and jump to the top spots in March.

In the start of Volkswagen’s year 1 of its plan to become #1 in the EV world, Volkswagen Group had a strong January, with 35% PEV market share. Volkswagen (19%) was in the front, while Audi started in 4th (8%), below Mercedes (14%) and BMW (13%). Renault and Smart are tied in 5th, each with 5%.

With its domestic market in the bag, Volkswagen can now look to expand its lead in the European market, but Herbert Diess’s priority for 2021 lies elsewhere. China is the top priority for Volkswagen this year as it tries to recover ground not only from Tesla but also from the strongest Chinese OEMs, like BYD and SAIC.


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