2018 (January to September) Germany: Best-Selling Electric Car Brands and Models

September 2018: The top-selling electric car brands in Germany were Volkswagen, Smart and Renault with the VW Golf, Zoe and BMW i3 the favorite electric car models.

Hyundai Kona Electric

January to September 2018: Smart remained Germany’s best-selling electric car brand followed by Volkswagen, Renault, Kia and BMW. The favorite car models of the Germans thus far in 2018 were the Renault Zoe, VW Golf, Smart Fortwo, Kia Soul and BMW i3. During the first three quarters of 2018, only 0.9% of new passenger vehicle registrations in Germany were electric cars.

Electric Car Market in Germany in 2018 (Q1-Q3)

New electric passenger car vehicle registrations in Germany in September 2018 increased by 4.9% to 2,357 cars compared to 2,247 cars and a market share of 0.8% in September 2017.

Electric cars took an uncharacteristically large 1.2% of the German new car market in September 2018 but this was largely due to a 20% decline in the total German new car market due to the introduction of new emission control regulations that left many manufacturers temporarily unable to register new cars – registrations of Audis were down by three quarters and VWs more than 60% – see 2018 Q3) Germany: Best-Selling Car Brands and Models for more details.

More clarity on the future of diesel cars, and especially older diesel cars, in Germany may help the market during the final quarter of 2018. Huge premiums are offered by manufacturers for exchanging older diesels for new cars but it remains unclear how many of owners would opt for electric cars. Renault for example already announced a €5,000 exchange premium for the Zoe.

During the first three quarters of 2018, only 24,574 new electric passenger vehicles were registered in Germany for the first time, or a market share of only 0.9% of the total German new car market compared to 16,433 and a market share of 0.6% during the first three quarters of 2017.

Best-Selling Electric Car Brands in Germany in 2018 (Q1-Q3)

New passenger vehicle registration data released by the KBA identified the following as the top-selling electric car brands in Germany in September 2018 and the first three quarters of 2018:

1-9/2018 Brand September Jan to Sep 2018
  All Electric Cars 2,357 24,574
  Share of Total Car Market 1.20% 0.90%
1 SMART 338 5,246
2 VW 515 4,321
3 RENAULT 328 3,760
4 KIA 123 2,927
5 BMW 282 2,629
6 TESLA 185 1,616
7 NISSAN 288 1,606
8 HYUNDAI 201 1,136
9 OPEL 10 341
10 AUDI 11 223
11 PEUGEOT 5 132
12 JAGUAR 8 123
13 CITROEN 4 95
14 PORSCHE 32 86
15 MERCEDES 1 84
16 FORD 0 17
  Source: KBA    

Top-Selling Electric Carmakers in Germany in 2018 (September)

In September 2018, Volkswagen for the first time became the best-selling electric car brand in Germany after lagging behind mostly Smart and Renault earlier in the year. Volkswagen took a commanding 22% market share of the German new electric car market. Smart thus slipped to second and Renault, slipped to third. Nissan improved from sixth while BMW maintained its fifth place. Porsche entered the top-ten list from 11th.

Q1-Q3 2018: September sales failed to alter the rank order of electric car brands in Germany compared to the January to August 2018 ranking. Smart remained comfortably ahead of Volkswagen and Renault.

Best-Selling Electric Car Models in Germany in 2018 (Q1-3)

According to the KBA the following where the top-selling electric car models in Germany in September 2018 and the first three quarters of 2018:

Sep 2018 Brand Model September 2018 1-9/2018
Total Electric Market
  2,357 24,574
1 VW Golf 432 3,572
2 Renault Zoe 328 3,760
3 BMW I3 282 2,629
4 Nissan Leaf 275 1,503
5 Smart Fortwo 264 3,318
6 Kia Soul 120 2,906
7 Hyundai Ioniq 110 1,032
8 Tesla Model S 104 1,058
9 Hyundai Kona 91 104
10 Tesla Model X 81 555
11 VW Up 80 741
12 Smart Forfour 74 1,928
13 Nissan NV200 13 103
14 Opel Ampera 10 341
15 Jaguar I-Pace 8 123
16 Peugeot Ion 5 130
17 Citroen C-Zero 3 78
18 Kia Niro 3 11
19 Mercedes-Benz B-Class 0 80
20 Ford Focus 0 17
  Others   26 215
  Source: KBA      

Top-Selling Electric Car Models in Germany in 2018 (January to September)

September 2018: There was always a sense of inevitability that the VW Golf would be the leading electric car model in Germany and in September 2018 the Golf finally became the clear market leader. The Golf outsold the Zoe in March 2018 by 11 cars but in September 2018 the Golf finally took a commanding lead and 18% market share. Year-to-date 2018 the Golf is still behind the Zoe but reports that Volkswagen increased electric Golf production by a third give a strong indication of which car is likely to be on top over the full year.

The Renault Zoe slipped from first to second most-popular electric car in Germany in September 2018. The BMW i3 (up from fourth), Nissan Leaf (up from seventh) and Smart Fortwo (down from third) all had very similar sales numbers.

The Hyundai Kona entered the electric car registration statistics for Germany at ninth place (even the KBA is uncertain how the 13 pre-September cars entered the statistics!) to make it a round 20 electric car models for which registration data is listed by model name in Germany.

Q1-Q3/2018: During the first three quarters of 2018,tThe Renault Zoe was the top-selling electric car model but the VW Golf is catching up fast. The Smart Fortwo is still in third place but the Forfour and Kia Soul are both falling behind. The BMW i3 sales remain remarkably stable and may be more due to sales being production rather than demand led.

Conventional wisdom holds that carmakers are sill selling electric cars at a loss and thus not keen on increasing sales at current market prices. The German motor press reported very long waiting times for electric car models. It will be interesting to see if this continues when far more expansive models actually make it to market rather than the auto shows. Audi started to take reservations (€2,000 – no refunds) for the e-tron with prices starting at €80,000 (but good luck getting one without more expensive options) and no firm delivery date (or final price).

Electric Car Sales in Germany

Electric Car Sales in Germany

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience in online writing. His best-selling cars website has been reporting car sales statistics since 2008 with classic car auction prices focusing on the most expensive automobiles sold at public auctions in the past decade. He also owns the travel websites European-Traveler.com and Lake Geneva Switzerland. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Finance from the University of London.