In 2020, Volkswagen was the best-selling electric car brand in Germany. The top-selling electric car models were the Renault Zoe and VW Golf.
In full calendar year 2020, Volkswagen became the top-selling electric car brand in Germany. Renault was again the second-largest electric-car brand ahead of Tesla. The top-selling electric car model in Germany in 2020 was again the Renault Zoe, followed by the VW Golf and Tesla Model 3. Electric car sales in Germany in 2020 more than doubled to 194,163 cars and battery-electric vehicles more than tripled market share to 6.7%.
New Electric Car Sales in Germany in 2020 (Full Year)
|Total German Car Market||2,917,678||3,607,258||3,435,778|
|All Electric Cars Sold||194,163||63,281||36,062|
|% Share Electric Cars||6.65%||1.75%||1.05%|
New electric passenger vehicle registrations in Germany in 2020 increased by 207% to 194,163 battery-electric cars. This increased electric cars’ share of the German new car market from 1.75% in 2019 to 6.65% in 2020.
The total German new car market contracted by 19.1% in 2020 to 2,917,678 — the smallest market since 2010. Petrol remained by far the largest component of new cars but the market share slipped to 46.7% in 2020, while the share for diesel was down to 28.1%.
Hybrid cars took a market share of 18.1% (6.6% in 2019) with 527,864 (+120%) hybrid car registrations in Germany for the first time in 2020. This number included 200,469 (+342%) plug-in hybrids for a market share of 6.9%
Average CO2-Emissions of new cars sold in Germany in 2020 were down 11% but remained well above the European average at 139.8 g/km (157.0 g/km in 2019).
Electric cars were expected to rapidly increase market share in Germany in 2020 but the unexpectedly low total car sales due to the lockdowns helped to boost the market share of battery-electric vehicles. Subsidies gave many buyers a €9000 discount on registering a battery-electric car in Germany, which made some models price competitive with petrol cars. EU fines for high CO2 emissions also helped manufacturers to push electric cars — both battery-electric and plug-in hybrids — onto the market.
There were reports in the German motoring press of big-engined cars failing to be delivered at the end of 2020 to prevent registration from increasing average CO2 emissions. (Mercedes Benz already claimed to have met the EU target.) Nearly a quarter of all battery-electric cars sold in Germany in 2020 were registered in December.
Availability remained a major issue too. For most electric car models there is a waiting list of three to six months, or even longer for popular models.
Best-Selling Electric Car Brands in Germany in 2020 (Full Year)
The top 20 best-selling electric car brands in Germany in full-year 2020 according to the KBA were:
Note: The KBA figures are for electric car registrations and may thus include any passenger vehicle registered for use on public roads for the first time including normal sales, demonstration and research vehicles.
Germany’s Top-Selling Electric Car Brands in 2020 (Full Year)
Twenty brands sold more than a thousand battery-electric cars each in Germany in 2020 compared to only nine in 2019.
Volkswagen was the best-selling electric car brand in Germany in 2020. VW sold nearly 50% more electric cars than second-placed Renault and nearly three times more than third-placed Tesla. Volkswagen is often late to enter a new market segment but then in full force: Volkswagen’s share of the German new battery-electric car market in 2020 was 24% compared to its 18% share for the total new car market.
Renault was again the second largest electric car brand in Germany in 2020. The Zoe was the top-selling electric car model in Germany. It was long the only electric Renault on offer in Germany but has now been joined by the smaller and cheaper Twingo.
Tesla slipped from the top position to only third in Germany in 2020. Cars arrived in Europe in seemingly irregular batches leading to high registrations in some months and barely any sales in others.
Although Smart electric car sales more than doubled in Germany in 2020, the company seemed to have failed to benefit from its experience by not having enough, and especially new models on offer. In comparison, VW sold over five times more electric cars in 2020 than in 2019 and almost the same number in December alone that Smart sold all year.
BMW actually sold fewer battery-electric cars in Germany in 2020 than the year before. The i3 is reaching the end of its production life and the strategy of a light but expensively built car seemed to have been wrong. BMW will attempt with different models in 2021 and especially with electrified cars.
Opel received a huge electric car boost with technology from Peugeot and Skoda and Seat similarly benefited from links to Volkswagen. Nissan failed to benefit from its early experience with battery-electric cars while Mazda and Honda introduced their first electric cars to the German new car market.
Volvo launched Polestar as its battery-electric brand. These cars are fairly expensive but were handsomely outsold by the really expensive Porsche models.
Best-Selling Electric Car Models in Germany in 2020
The top-selling electric cars in Germany in 2020 by models were as follows:
Germany’s Favorite Electric Car Models in 2020
In 2020, the Renault Zoe was the best-selling electric car in Germany for the fourth consecutive year. It was likely the last time for the Renault to top the rankings. Although the Zoe is starting to appear a bit dated against the latest competition, Renault was able to deliver Zoes to an eager market at a time when many other carmakers were caught off guard by the German government’s decision to support only electric cars. The Zoe was also the 25th most-popular car model overall in Germany in 2020.
The Volkswagen Golf was a surprising second — sales of the electric Golf continued longer than planned due to delays with the production of the ID3 early in 2020. Volkswagen does not intend to produce a battery-electric version of the Golf 8.
The Tesla Model 3 was again the third most-popular battery-electric car model in Germany in 2020. However, the Model 3 only just outsold the VW ID3, which has been only on the market during the final four months of the year.
The Volkswagen ID3 was the best-selling electric car in Germany in December 2020 and the third-best-selling model overall. The ID3 is generally expected to lead the electric car charts in 2021, although VW would have no objection if the more expensive ID4 reached the top. The ID4 was the 20th most-popular electric car in Germany in 2021 despite being on the market for only two months. It is expected to be Volkswagen’s most-important electric car on global markets.
Older electric car models such as the BMW i3, Smart Fortwo, Smart Forfour, and Nissan Leaf were mostly surpassed by newer models and in their current form are unlikely to play much of a role in the charts in 2021.