About every third electrified vehicle is purchased privately

We all still have it in our ears: the German government wants one million electric cars to be on German roads by 2020. That was ten years ago. Today we know that the announcement was illusory. The car market is not a self-fulfilling prophecy, but hard business. And if you look at the status quo, you get doubts that at least the next goal will be reached. By 2030, the number of e-cars is expected to rise to six million vehicles. But who is going to buy them all?

Because manufacturers continue to offer many more diesel and gasoline cars, regardless of the EU’s CO2 limits. Nevertheless, in the months before the outbreak of the corona pandemic, a slight silver lining could be seen on the horizon. JATO Dynamics has therefore analysed sales figures for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric passenger cars (BEVs) since the end of 2019. We also wanted to know who is driving electric mobility.

Promotion is slowly taking effect

In October last year, almost 22,000 electric vehicles were registered in Germany. By December, registrations had fallen to around 18,600 units. That was a drop from 7.7 to 6.6 percent of total registrations. But since the beginning of the year the market has been on the move. What had happened?

In November, the German government announced that the purchase of plug-in hybrids and BEVs would in future be subsidised with 6,000 instead of 4,000 euros (half from the federal government and half from the manufacturer). For vehicles over 40,000 euros net list price, the rate increases by 25 percent. More than 25,000 new electric cars were added in January. This means that every tenth registered new car was electrically powered. And so it went on. In February there were almost 1,000 more electric cars than in the previous month and in March there were almost 1,800 more. This means a total of almost 28,000 hybrids, plug-in hybrids and BEVs, more than ever before in one month.

Probable reason: The announced increase of the state subsidy was confirmed in mid-February. It was probably not due to the incentives of manufacturers and dealers, which had not changed throughout the entire period. But with Corona, passenger car sales plummeted by more than 61 percent. The e-mobiles were not spared by this either. In April only just under 15,800 were sold. The share of around 13 percent of total registrations remained relatively constant, however.

Number of private e-mobiles on the rise again

But who actually buys the Stromer? Is it primarily private individuals who are driving forward electromobility, or are it companies that are setting the pace? The result is clear: In October 2019, 69.5 percent of new e-cars were registered as company cars and only a good 30 percent were registered by private individuals. The trend towards electric company cars continued even more strongly until January – after all, 72.7 percent of e-mobiles were purchased by companies. But since February, the share of private electric cars has increased again. In March it was 35 percent, in April it was even almost 39 percent (see graph).

The distribution across all drive systems is similar, with the share of private car purchases recently standing at just under 42 percent. One reason for the decline in sales of e-commercial vehicles could be that leasing companies currently prefer to extend contracts that actually expire and mean a new vehicle. However, new vehicles are currently difficult to sell. In addition, leasing companies want to avoid having to remarket returns, which is also hardly possible at present. And high stocks of used vehicles cost a lot of money every day.

Registrations of electrified vehicles Proportion private / business
Registrations of electrified vehicles, Proportion private / business

More information on JATO can be found here.

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