2012 (Full Year) Germany: Best-Selling Electric Car Models

The best-selling electric cars in Germany in 2012 were the Smart Fortwo, Citroen C-Zero, and Nissan Leaf.

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive & Bike

In 2012, the German electric car market grew by 37% to just shy of 3,000 cars. The Smart Fortwo, Citroen C-Zero and Nissan Leaf were the most popular electric cars in Germany. The market for electric cars in Germany remained woefully small with only 0.1% of the total new passenger vehicle registrations in Germany being electric-powered cars. Very few of the electric cars were sold to private buyers with the automobile industry accounting for half of registrations.

The German Electric Car Market in 2012

In 2012, the German market for electric cars grew by 37% to 2,956 new electric passenger vehicle registrations. In contrast, the total German car market was 3,082,504 passenger vehicles giving electric cars a market share of less than 0.1%.

Of all the electric cars registered in Germany in 2012, only 339 (11%) went to private buyers. In contrast, the market share of private buyers for the total new passenger vehicle market in Germany was 38%.

It should be noted that the KBA figures are for vehicle registrations rather than sales – any electric research vehicle registered for public road use is included whether it is available for sale or not. Almost half – 1,493 cars – of the electric vehicles were registered by the automobile industry, as demonstration or research vehicles.

Top-Selling Electric Car Models in Germany in 2012

The best-selling electric cars in 2012 according to statistics released by the KBA were:

  Electric Car Model 2012 2011*
1 Smart Fortwo 734 328
2 Citroen C-Zero 454 200
3 Nissan Leaf 451
4 Peugeot iOn 263 208
5 Renault Fluence 213
6 Fiat 500 137 65
7 Mitsubishi I-MiEV 96 683
8 Mercedes A-Class 73 138
9 VW Golf, Jetta 31 81
10 Opel Corsa 30
11 Volvo C30 12
12 Audi A1 11 49
13 BMW 1-Series 11 113
14 Mercedes Vito 10
15 Ford Focus 9
16 Audi A3 5
Others 406
Total Electric Cars 2,956 2,154  
Source: KBA / * 2011 only top nine included

Best-Selling Electric Cars in Germany in 2012

The Smart Fortwo was the most popular electric car model in Germany in 2012. The Citroen C-Zero had a last hurrah while the Nissan Leaf entered the market at third position.

2011 most popular electric car in Germany, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV saw sales slipping. Its technologically identical siblings – the Citroen C-Zero and Peugeot iOn – still sold well. Together, the three models still outsold all others but its technology has clearly slipped behind newer models such as the Nissan Leaf and Renault models that will enter the market in 2013.

German car manufacturers have mostly stayed out of the electric car market – almost all other German cars on the list are research vehicles – but are planning an onslaught from the end of 2013.

Hybrid cars did better in Germany in 2012 but alternative energy vehicles still comprise just over a percentage of the total German car market. In contrast, in the tiny Norwegian market, 4,358 electric cars were sold in 2012 with the Nissan Leaf having entered the top-ten list of most popular car models early in 2013.

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.