Only 12,156 electric passenger vehicles are registered for public road use in Germany at the beginning of 2014. The Smart is Germany’s favorite electric car.
Electric cars remain hugely unpopular with the German car buying public. Of the nearly 44 million cars registered in Germany, only 12,000 are electric. Only a quarter of electric cars are privately owned. The most popular manufacturer of electric cars with the Germans is Smart.
Electric Cars in Germany in 2014
Visitors to any major international automobile show visiting the exhibition stands of German car manufacturers may be under the impression that Germany must be awash with electric vehicles. However, the total number of passenger vehicles (Personenkraftwagen / PKW) registered in Germany on January 1, 2014 according to statistics released by the KBA amounts to only 12,156 cars.
Of the electric cars in Germany, only 3,098 (25.5%) were registered by private buyers. In contrast, 90% of all cars in Germany are privately registered.
Car manufacturers and the motoring industry registered nearly a third of all electric cars on the road in Germany – 3,981 cars. These can be research vehicles or cars owned by the industry for demonstration and promotion purposes.
Growth of Electric Car Registrations in Germany
A total of 43,851,230 passenger vehicles were registered in Germany at the beginning of 2014. Thus, a mere 0.0277% of all cars on the road in Germany are propelled by electric motors. By contrast, 29,956,296 cars have petrol (Benzin) engines, 13,215,190 diesel and 85,575 are hybrids.
Granted, the number of petrol and diesel cars is influenced by the models being on the market for decades – or even more than a century – but still the development in electric car sales in Germany remains very sluggish.
The total number of electric cars registered in Germany as per KBA records on January 1 of each year is as follows:
- 2008 – 1,436
- 2009 – 1,452
- 2010 – 1,558
- 2011 – 2,307
- 2012 – 4,541
- 2013 – 7,114
- 2014 – 12,156
Note that these are the total numbers of cars on the road (Bestand) at the beginning of each year – the increase in the last year was a mere 5,042 electric cars.
The Most Popular Electric Cars in Germany in 2014
The manufacturers with the most electric cars registered in Germany at the start of 2014 according to the KBA are:
Only eight manufacturers in Germany have managed to register more than 500 electric cars that are still running on German roads at the start of 2014. Smart is the clear leader in large part due to the popularity of the small car with car-sharing groups.
Noticeably absent from the list is Mercedes (314 cars) and Audi (only 156 cars). Audi is often considered as king of the PR electric cars – flashy announcements of exciting future electric cars that seem to never make it past the public relations department.
Thus far the growth of electric cars in Germany has been hampered by the lack of availability from German carmakers and high prices. However, many industry watchers, including the leasing industry, expect that that the main problem with electric cars is not the high initial purchasing price but the expectation that second hand values may be much lower than for similar petrol or diesel cars.
Although manufacturers are offering long warranties on batteries and related components, the main fear is that the technology may be superseded by much improved battery capacity within less than two years of purchase. It is being speculated that electric cars may have 25% longer range within 18 months and at a lower price as volume increases will lower production costs.
It is expected that the number of electric cars in Germany will grow rapidly now that main stream German manufactures are finally offering electric cars for sale, e.g. the VW e-UP and e-Golf, and the BMW i3. However, the German government has been rather quieter about the planned million electric cars by 2020 while the motoring industry is hinting with little confidence about 800,000 by the end of the decade.