In 2021, the German electric vehicle (EV) market was second only to China, with 681,410 units registered and an annual growth rate of 72.8%, making it the second-largest EV sales country globally and the largest in Europe.
Figure 1 Monthly EV registrations in Germany, 2020-2021
The German EV market was dominated by plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) until August 2021, after which it was led by battery electric vehicle (BEV), as shown in figure 1. The proportion of BEV in the German market by month was over 50% in March, September, December 2020, and June and August-December 2021. We believe that this is because Tesla delivered a large number of cars in these months, leading to notably higher BEV sales figures than other months.
On a full-year basis, the proportion of BEV and PHEV sales in the German EV market in 2021 was 52.2% and 47.8%, respectively, compared to 49.2% and 50.8% in 2020. Although there was only a slight increase in BEV proportion, this turned Germany into a BEV-dominated sales country.
In terms of EV penetration, as shown in figure 1, it was on an upward trend in successive waves and reached a peak of 35.7% in December 2021, and BEV penetration also reached a record high of 21.3% in the same month. On a full-year basis, EV penetration was 26.0% in 2021, a significant increase of 12.5% compared to 13.5% in 2020, while BEV penetration was 13.6% in 2021, an increase of 6.9% compared to 6.7% in 2020.
Figure 2 German EV and BEV market shares by OEMs, 2020-2021
Because Germany is one of the most important markets in the world, major automakers have located themselves there. The concentration of the German EV market is already relatively high. Based on the market share of EV in 2021, the top nine OEMs were, in order, VW Group, Mercedes-Benz, Stellantis, BMW Group, R-N-M Alliance, Hyundai Motor, Tesla Inc., Geely Volvo Car Group, and Ford, with a combined share of 97.1%, not much different from 97.3% in 2020. In terms of OEMs’ market share in BEV, the total of the top nine was as high as 97.4% in 2021, only slightly lower than 97.7% in 2020.
We divide automakers into three groups according to market share, as shown in figure 2. The left graph shows the share of major automakers in the EV market in 2020 and 2021, while the right graph shows the share of major automakers in the BEV market. Looking at the graph on the left, the market share of the first group is 20%-35% in 2020 and 2021, the second group is 5%-20%, and the third group is below 5%. The first group has only VW Group, the second group has six automakers, only Stellantis and Tesla have seen significant growth, and the third group has the most automakers, but only Ford saw significant growth. The graph on the right is divided into three groups in the same way, with only Stellantis and Tesla in the second group growing significantly.
From the perspective of individual automakers: VW Group was always a standout, and its market share was far ahead of other OEMs, although its shares in the EV and BEV market dropped by 2.3% and 1.7%, respectively, in 2021. Mercedes-Benz lost the most share in the EV market by 4.2%, but only 0.4% in the BEV market, while Stellantis was the most impressive automaker in Germany in terms of market share growth in 2021, gaining 6.9% and 6.7% in the EV and BEV markets, respectively. Meanwhile, R-N-M Alliance saw its market share decline by 3.0% and 6.5% and was the automaker with the most significant decrease in BEV market share.
BMW Group has not changed much, losing 0.3% in the EV market but gaining 0.8% in the BEV market; Hyundai, on the contrary, increased 0.5% in the EV market but lost 1.1% in the BEV market. Tesla increased its BEV market share by 2.6% and the overall EV share by 1.6%. Geely Volvo Car Group lost 0.6% share in the EV market but gained 0.5% in the BEV market, while Ford increased its shares in both EV and BEV markets by 1.2% and 0.6%.
Overall, only a small number of automakers grew their market share in Germany in 2021, with Stellantis, Tesla, and Ford leading the pack.
Figure 3 Monthly annual growth rates for EV and passenger vehicle in Germany in 2021
As the German government has long provided complete supporting policies for the EV industry and market, the annual growth rate of EV in Germany in 2021 was significantly ahead of the overall auto market, as shown in figure 3. However, it is worth noting that the EV market began to lose its triple-digit growth in July, with annual growth dropping to 55.0%, and then to 13.3% in October, and even a record negative growth rate of 1.8% in December.
Tesla’s Gigafactory in Germany will be officially launched in 2022, which will drive the next wave of growth in the German EV market. However, the development of the German EV market slowed down in the second half of 2021, the current EV infrastructure is not being built fast enough, and the global supply chain constraints will bring more uncertainties to the market in 2022. We, therefore, recommend a cautious view of this year’s German EV market, which is currently estimated at 1.05 million units, representing an annual growth rate of 54.1%.
Researcher and Research here defines EV as battery electric vehicle (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), with passenger car as the primary purpose.