Legacy combustion vehicles drop below 50% share in Germany as plugins take over a third of the market

Europe’s largest auto market, Germany, saw plug-in electric vehicles take a 34.4% share in November, up from 20.5% a year ago. All-electric (BEV) alone took 20.3% share, well ahead of diesel with 15.8% share. Combined legacy combustion powertrains fell below 50% for the first time. With 198,298 sales, the overall automotive market was down approximately 34% from November 2019.

The combined November plug-in result of 34.4% included full electric batteries (BEVs) at 20.3% and plug-in hybrids PHEVs at 14.1%. This continues the reweighting towards BEVs observed over the past 4 months, starting from more uniform weights in the first half of 2021 and throughout 2020.

The cumulative share of plugins for 2021 now stands at 25.1% compared to 12.0% at this stage last year. The past 3 rolling months have seen a combined share of plugins of 31.2%, with BEVs alone at 18.2%.

Plugins have now sold 600,222 units year-to-date, up over 92% from 311,854 units year-over-year. The total for the year 2021 is expected to exceed 700,000.

After the first time in September, BEV’s share (20.3%) beats diesels again and will most likely stay ahead every month from now on. Gasoline held the largest market share with 33.3%, but with 66,020 units it was down almost half of sales from a year ago (117,220 units).

Legacy combustion powertrains (gasoline and diesel without electric assistance) fell below 50% for the first time in the modern era, to 49.1%. They are unlikely to briefly see the 50% sunny side in early 2021, but overall are on an inevitable downtrend.

The share of plugless hybrids seems to have peaked in August and September in the 18% to 19% range, but has fallen back in the last two months to the 15 to 16% range, with PHEVs and BEVs obviously more favored.

The best-selling BEVs at the end of October

As usual we i have no model data for november for now, but in the meantime we can look back over the last 3 months to the end of October, to see which BEVs have recently sold well (repeat – not up to date numbers):

As has been the case throughout 2021, the Tesla Model 3 leads sales, with the Volkswagen ID.3 coming in second.

Third place was a more regular race recently, between two compact cars, the Renault Zoe and the VW e-Up !, with the Skoda Enyaq also in the mix.

Shout for the small and reasonably affordable Smart fortwo in 6th place. Will it soon be joined by the even more affordable Dacia Spring? Judging by October deliveries of 421 units for spring (already at the October volume level of the Nissan Leaf), it could happen if it can stay on that path. As with most value-for-money BEVs, it seems likely that supply (rather than demand) will be the limiting factor for the spring.

We can expect more recent BEV models, like the Tesla Model Y, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and soon the BMW i4, to climb the charts as well in the coming months.

Keep an eye on Jose’s report later in the month to see the BEV model rankings for November.


Breaking the “third party” barrier is a notable milestone for plugins in Germany. Remember that in November, just two years ago, plugins accounted for 3.7% of the country’s share. The fact that legacy combustion powertrains fall below 50% is also an important victory against pollution, emissions, corruption and violence associated with fossil fuels.

December is still a peak month for plugin sharing, in large part thanks to Tesla continuing to pressure mainstream European automakers (thank you Tesla), and this year will be no exception. I’m expecting almost 40% plugin share in December, and it could be even higher.

What do you think of the German electric vehicle market? Please let us know in the comments.

Appreciate the originality of CleanTechnica? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician or Ambassador – or Patreon Patron.


Got a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise or suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Comments are closed.