Germany: premiums push all-electric car sales to 206% growth
Despite an overall regression in new car sales of 20%, alternative drive systems (battery-electric, fuel-cell, plug-in hybrids, and gas) took up a quarter of all new registrations in Germany in 2020. A total of 394 940 electric-powered cars were sold, with all-electric cars (194 163) seeing an increase of 206%.
Figures are coming from the KBA (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt), the German Federal Motor Transport Authority. “With an ongoing growth of electric vehicles of around 22 percent, as in the last quarter of 2020, the government’s target of 7 to 10 million registered electric vehicles in Germany can be achieved by 2030,” says KBA President Damm.
The percentage of new electric cars (BEV, PHEV, and FCEV) has reached 13,5% of all car registrations, with more than 16% in federal states like Schleswig-Holstein, Berlin, and Baden-Württemberg. ‘Alternative drive systems’ now account for 3,6% of Germany’s total car fleet, coming from 2,4% the year before.
VW’s effort paying off
It looks like Volkswagen’s effort to gear up in electrification starting with the ID.3 is bearing fruit in its home country. It’s leading the pack with a share of 17,4% of electric-powered cars registered, an increase of 608,6%. Next comes Mercedes-Benz with a 14,9% share (+499,8%), Audi with 9,0% (+607,9%), and BMW and Renault with 8,6% each.
If you’re talking about battery-electric cars (BEV) only, of the total of 194 163, Volkswagen got away with the lion’s share (23,8%), followed by Renault (16,2%) and Tesla (8,6%). Remarkable also is that almost fifty percent (48,8) of these cars were sold to private owners. If you count in PHEVs, 63,5% of all ‘electric registrations’ were company cars compared to 36,4% private owners.
Premiums up to €6 000
In June last year, the German federal government of Angela Merkel agreed to raise the premiums for electric cars from 3 000 to 6 000 euros. Meanwhile, the main value-added tax (VAT) rate was temporarily lowered from July 1 until the end of 2020 from 19 percent to 16 percent.
It was part of an extra economic stimulus package of €130 billion to save the German car industry’s 800 000 jobs. Economic Minister Peter Altmaier (CSU) proposed giving all new car buyers a €2 500 premium. An extra €500 would be paid for very frugal cars. Hybrid cars would get €750 extra, and fully electric vehicles could count on €1 500 on top of the basic premium.
Cheaper than an ICE Golf
All in all, this would cost the state 5 billion euros. But one coalition partner, the left-of-center Social Democrats (SPD), was against it. Green organizations of all kinds had demonstrated in Berlin, forming a human chain from the Parliament to the headquarters of the German car federation VDA.
They were against all measures stimulating cars’ sales, particularly those that still have an internal combustion engine (ICE). Eventually, Chancellor Merkel knuckled under pressure, and it was agreed to raise only the premiums for electric cars from 3 000 to 6 000 euros and lower VAT to 16%.
It looks like a lot of Germans needed just that ‘little push’ to take the plunge. No wonder, seeing that the Volkswagen ID.3, for instance, retailed after deduction of the premium for €23 430, that’s €3 360 less than the new Mk8 Golf with a combustion engine.