Renault Zoe remains electric bestseller

Perhaps the German government’s ambitious goal will come to fruition after all. Seven to ten million electric vehicles are to be on Germany’s roads by 2030. And last year was an auspicious start. Because 2020 will probably go down in history not only as the year of COVID, but also as the year in which electromobility finally really took off in Germany. Between January and October, nearly 250,000 electrified new cars were registered (including around 128,000 plug-in-hybrids and 119,000 battery electric vehicles). Unsurprisingly, German brands were particularly popular. But how well did foreign brands sell in Germany? Which models were especially in demand and which found hardly any customers? And what about their prices? JATO Dynamics took a closer look at the development.

For this purpose, all newly registered passenger cars with pure battery electric drive (BEVs) and plug-in-hybrid models (PHEVs) in Germany between January and October 2020 were analysed. More than half (58.3 percent) came from eight German manufacturers.

They currently offer a total of 53 different models – including 19 BEVs and 34 PHEVs. In 2020, the ten best-selling e-models alone accounted for 41.2 percent of new electric car registrations in Germany. And the top 20 models accounted for 63.4 percent. But although more than every second e-car was a German brand, the bestseller list is led by a Frenchman: the Renault Zoe is Germany’s most popular electric car.

More car for the money

In terms of costs (volume-weighted list prices excluding optional extras), it is noticeable that only the Smart Fortwo and VW e-up are cheaper than the Zoe. However, both models are also significantly shorter than the French car: the Fortwo by about 140 cm and the e-up by about 50 cm. The difference to the next larger cars Hyundai Kona and VW e-Golf, on the other hand, is much smaller. Kona is just 9 cm longer and the e-Golf between 18 and 20 cm, depending on the variant.

The secret of the Renault Zoe’s success seems to be based on several factors. The attractive price of just under 30,000 euros paired with good space and, last but not least, the already relatively long model life. Zoe was launched back in 2013 and thus had enough time to establish itself on the market. One year later, Volkswagen followed suit with the e-Golf. But despite its good performance, it was unable to overtake Renault’s Zoe in any year. In the future, Volkswagen’s ID.3, which has generated slightly more than a third of the Zoe’s registration figures since September 2020, could help a bit.

Renault Zoe ahead of e-Golf and Model 3

Particularly notable: the 16,254 electrified Golfs sold last year include both battery and plug-in variants. The Zoe found 20,740 buyers as a BEV alone. For both models, 2020 was the absolute record year, with more than double the number of units sold compared to 2019. The Tesla Model 3 also got off to a flying start. Despite its high list price of over 56,000 euros, the electric American car made it to third place here. The start of the ID.3 was also remarkable, with more than 5,000 units sold in its first year. The less expensive BMW i3, which was launched in 2013, sold just 1,000 more units.

Chinese manufacturers try to keep their global pole position

But what about Chinese brands? After all, China have been setting the pace in electromobility for a long time. As early as 2019, almost half of all e-cars registered worldwide were in China – primarily as BEVs. And this trend continued in 2020 as well. The country was considered the undisputed driver of the electrification of private transport, and increasingly more Chinese manufacturers are entering the market. In the global ranking, Germany now ranks second behind the Chinese manufacturers.

Only the success is unevenly distributed. While a quarter of the e-cars registered in China in 2020 were German brands, the share of Chinese e-cars in Germany was zero percent. Although many Chinese models are about to be launched on the German market, it remains to be seen whether they will prevail against the competition.

More information on JATO can be found here.

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