2019 (Jan to May) Germany: Best-Selling Electric Car Brands and Models

May 2019: Renault and BMW were the best-selling electric car brands in Germany with the Renault Zoe, BMW i3 and Smart Fortwo the top-selling electric car models.

Audi 4 etron concept Geneva Auto Salon 2019

January to May 2019: Despite weak sales in May, Tesla remained the leading electric car brand in Germany at the start of 2019. Tesla narrowly outsold Renault, which was again to the second best-selling electric car brand in Germany thus far in 2019 followed by BMW, Smart and Volkswagen. The Renault Zoe regained its lead as Germany’s favorite electric car followed by the Tesla Model 3, BMW i3 and the VW e-Golf.

Electric Car Market in Germany in 2019 (May)

In May 2019, new electric passenger vehicle registrations in Germany doubled compared to a year ago to 4,630 cars (+100.4%). However, this was the weakest month thus far this year for electric car registrations in Germany. Not only was May 2019 the lowest total number of electric car sales in Germany but the share of electric cars slipped to only 1.39% of the total German new car market (PKW).

Car sales in May 2019 was influenced by a late Easter (plus follow-on holidays) but the German overall car market showed a strong recovery with sales up 9.1% to 332,962 cars.

During the first five months of 2019, electric cars took a 1.66% share of the total German new car market with 25,299 (+74%) electric passenger cars registered out of a total 1,523,769 (1.7%) cars.

As before, electric car sales in Germany were mostly determined by the availability of cars. While most manufacturers have long waiting lists, the sudden availability of the Tesla Model 3 gave a huge boost to registrations in both February and March but Model 3 registrations fell sharply back in April and May. Most electric models have long waiting periods with the three months required to buy for example a BMW i3 amongst the shortest in the industry.

Waiting times for other cars are nearer to a year, which certainly put private buyers off. Volkswagen started to take orders for the ID3 that will only be available in 2020 as replacement for the current eGolf. Porsche and Mercedes-Benz also announced special electric vehicles with the planned production run of some models apparently already sold out prior to the cars hitting the market with no possibility to actually adapt production numbers to demand.

Best-Selling Electric Car Brands in Germany in 2019 (May)

New passenger vehicle registration data released by the KBA identified the following as the top-selling electric car brands in Germany in May 2019 and year-to-date 2019:

1-5/19BrandMay 20191-5/2019
Total German Car Market332,9621,523,769
All Electric Cars Sold4,63025,299
% Share Electric Cars1.391.66
Source: KBA

Note: all figures in this article refer to passenger vehicles registered for use as electric cars for the first time on German roads – numbers thus include research and promotional vehicles and not only sales to final consumers. Electric cars in KBA statistics are for battery electric cars only and exclude plug-in hybrids or cars with range-extender engines.

Top-Selling Electric Carmakers in Germany in 2019 (May)

In May 2019, the top three best-selling electric car brands in Germany remained unchanged from the positions held in April: Renault was again Germany’s best-selling electric car brand followed by BMW and Smart. Tesla gained fourth place from Volkswagen. Hyundai was again sixth with Audi moving ahead of Kia and Nissan that slipped two places. Mercedes-Benz entered the top ten at the expense of Jaguar.

Thus far in 2019, Tesla was the best-selling electric car brand in Germany followed by Renault and BMW – the same order as for the first quarter of 2019. Smart swapped positions Volkswagen. Hyundai remained in sixth while Audi moved ahead of Nissan that seemed to struggle not only with electric car sales at the moment. Kia and Jaguar again rounded out the list of the top ten best-selling electric car brands in Germany thus far in 2019 with Mercedes-Benz and Porsche just outside the top ten but with much weaker numbers.

Best-Selling Electric Car Models in Germany in 2019 (May)

According to the KBA the following where the top-selling electric car models in Germany in May 2019 and year-to-date 2019:

MayBrandModelMay 191-5%2019
5TeslaModel 33174016
12MercedesGLK, GLC93130
14TeslaModel S68368
17TeslaModel X48220
Source: KBA

In May 2019, for the second consecutive month, the Renault Zoe took the top slot as Germany’s favorite electric car model followed by the BMW i3, which had its best month thus far this year. The Smart Fortwo gained two positions while the Audi E-tron moved up four places. The Tesla Model 3 that was the leading electric car in February and March but slipped from third place in APril to fifth in May.

Year-to-date 2019, the Renault Zoe regained first place from the Tesla Model 3 as the most-popular electric car model in Germany. The BMW i3 was the third most popular electric car model in Germany followed by the VW Golf – sales of the eGolf were sharply down. Tesla and Volkswagen were the only brands with three car models among the top 20 electric cars sold in Germany thus far in 2019.

As before, the registration of electric cars was as much supply as demand driven. The whole limited production run of the Audi E-Tron and the forthcoming Mercedes-Benz EQ have reportedly already been sold out. This may only change once volumes and car availability are significantly increased. Volkswagen started taking pre-orders for the Volkswagen ID-3 (previously referred to also as the Neo) with delivery of the €40,000 cars expected mostly in 2020.

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.