2021 (Full Year) Germany: Best-Selling Electric Cars by Brand and Model

In 2021, Volkswagen was by far the best-selling electric car brand in Germany with the top-selling electric car models the Tesla Model 3, VW Up, and ID.3.

In 2021, Volkswagen was by far the best-selling electric car brand in Germany with the top-selling electric car models the Tesla Model 3, VW Up, and ID.3.
© Volkswagen AG

In full calendar year 2021, Volkswagen was the top-selling electric car brand in Germany supplying the German market with over a fifth of all battery-electric cars sold. Tesla moved ahead of Renault while Hyundai outsold Smart. The Tesla Model 3 was the favorite electric car model in Germany in 2021 ahead of the VW Up and the VW ID3. Last year’s favorite, the Renault Zoe slipped to fourth followed by the Smart Fortwo. Electric car sales in Germany increased by 83% and market share doubled to 13.6%

German Car Sales Statistics — 2022: Market Overview, Brands, Models, Electric; 2021: Market, Brands, Models, Electric; 2020: Market, Brands, Models, Electric; 2019: Market, Brands, Models, Electric

New Electric Car Sales in Germany in 2021 (Full Year)

Total German Car Market2,622,1322,917,6783,607,2583,435,778
All Electric Cars Sold355,961194,16363,28136,062
% Share Electric Cars13.6%6.65%1.75%1.05%

New electric passenger vehicle registrations in Germany in 2021 increased by 83.3% to 355,961 battery-electric cars. This more than doubled electric cars’ share of the German new car market from 6.65% in 2020 to a new record high 13.6% in 2021.

The total German new car market contracted by 10.1% in 2021 to only 2,622,132 cars compared to 2,917,678 in 2020. These two years were the weakest for the German vehicle market since 2010. Although petrol remained by far the largest component of new cars, its market share slipped to 37.1% (46.7% in 2020), while the share for diesel was down to 20.1% (28.1% in 2020).

Hybrid cars took a market share of 28.8 in 2021 (18.1% in 2020 and 6.6% in 2019) with 754,588 (+43%) hybrid car registrations in Germany for the first time in 2021. This number included 325,449 (+62.3%) plug-in hybrids for a market share of 12.4%.

The sale of electric cars, like all cars overall, in Germany in 2021 was hindered by production problems. Carmakers suffered severe supply-chain issues with shortages in components, especially computer chips / semiconductors. Although there is clear demand from buyers, waiting lists for popular models are several months long with some models not available until 2023.

German electric car buyers continued to enjoy huge incentives to buy electric in 2021. 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.

Best-Selling Electric Car Brands in Germany in 2021 (Full Year)

The top 20 best-selling electric car brands in Germany in full-year 2021 according to the KBA were:

Brand2021% Share20202019
Source: KBA

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 2021 (Full Year)

Volkswagen was again the best-selling electric car brand in Germany in 2021 — it was the only top-ten electric car brand in the same sales rank position as in 2020. Volkswagen took a 20.3% share of all battery-electric cars sold in Germany in 2021 — an even stronger dominant position than the 18.7% share VW has of the total German new car market.

Tesla more than doubled sales in Germany in 2021 to surpass Renault which saw only a modest increase in electric car sales in 2021. Hyundai moved ahead of Smart, which is now a battery-electric only car brand but suffering from aging models but largely survived due to the huge German subsidies on electric cars.

Opel almost tripled sales of electric cars in Germany in 2021 to move ahead of BMW that nearly doubled sales. Skoda and Peugeot also almost triple electric car sales while Audi’s growth was less spectacular. Fiat just missed out on a top ten position — in 2020, Fiat sold fewer than a thousand electric cars in Germany in total.

Best-Selling Electric Car Models in Germany in 2021

The 30 top-selling electric cars in Germany in 2021 by models were as follows:

BrandModel2021% Electric
Battery-Electric Total355,961100.0
1TESLAMODEL 335,26288.8
24TESLAMODEL Y4,40011.1

Note: % Electric indicates the percentage of the model of all battery-electric cars sold by the specific brand.

Germany’s Favorite Electric Car Models in 2020

In 2021, the Tesla Model 3 was the clear best-selling electric car model in Germany — sales increased from only 15,202 in 2020. The Model 3 was the 12th most popular car in Germany overall in 2021 and outsold all petrol completion except for the BMW 3-Series. Tesla cars arrived in Germany, as in the rest of Europe, in drips and drabs but supply is likely to steady if production starts in Brandenburg in 2022.

Volkswagen took the next two positions with the aging Up slightly embarrassingly outselling the modern ID.3 that was always designed to be an electric-only car. The Up had a distinct price advantage over the ID.3 with subsidies lowering the price of an electric UP to below some petrol models — supply more than demand restricted further sales.

After four years as the most popular electric car model in Germany, the Renault Zoe slipped to fourth. The aging Smart Fortwo moved ahead of the Hyundai Kona, also to a large extent due to its low price advantage once subsidies were added.

The Skoda Enyaq was well received and managed to outsell the VW ID.4 with which it shares its underpinnings. Volkswagen had three models amongst the top ten — the only brand with more than one.

The Fiat 500 was a new entrant on the top-10 list while the again BMW i3, which was previously expected to disappear from the market prior to the pandemic and resulting subsidies, rounded out the top ten with sales up by over 40% from a year ago.

German Car Sales Statistics — 2022: Market Overview, Brands, Models, Electric; 2021: Market, Brands, Models, Electric; 2020: Market, Brands, Models, Electric; 2019: Market, Brands, Models, Electric

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.