The German plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market continues on the fast track in September, having scored a new record, 9,452 registrations, which doubles last year’s result. Fully electric vehicles (BEVs) were up 150% year over year (YoY), and this time plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) were also helping (+51%), allowing the PEV share to reach a record 3.9% share last month. BEVs alone hit a best ever, 2.4%. That pulled the 2019 plug-in share to 2.7% (1.7% BEV).
After the last win in June, September brought the Tesla Model 3 back to the monthly leadership position, with 1,516 deliveries, its best result since March. Meanwhile, the BMW i3 picked up the runner-up spot and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV got the 3rd place, allowing it to be last month’s best selling PHEV.
This time the Renault Zoe dropped off the podium, having to settle with a #4 position, with 634 units registered. However, considering the current skin generation change, that is not too bad. Expect a rebound soon, possibly with a couple of four-digit performances by year end. (It will surely need them if it wants to keep its 2019 Best Seller status, but more on that below. …)
In the year-to-date (YTD) table, things were pretty balanced in the frontrunner group. The #1 Renault Zoe was busy doing a reskin, the Tesla Model 3 profited from the usual end-of-quarter high tide (getting closer to the French hatchback — only 194 units separate them now), and the BMW i3 hot hatch dropped to #3 on the Model 3’s surge.
With 3 games (months) to play, the race is on between the Zoe and the Model 3, both with a 45% chance of winning the prize. Both nameplates have to deal with unknown variables — it is still unknown how quickly the new Zoe will be delivered in large volumes, while the Model 3 production/allocation for Germany in Q4 could be severely affected by predictably inflated deliveries in the Netherlands, and to a smaller degree, the UK, which is still in waiting-list deployment mode.
The remaining 10% chance to reach #1 goes to the BMW i3, which has no visible production issues, but the 527 units that separate it from the leadership, added to the fact that its demand doesn’t allow it to score four-digit performances, makes it a sort of a dark horse that is waiting/cheering for slip-ups from the top two (a slow ramp up for the Zoe + allocation problems for the Model 3). That’s the i3’s only real hope for the Best Seller prize.
One thing is certain: this is probably the most exciting race among the top markets, so don’t forget to bring the popcorn. …
Off the podium, we have the Smart Fortwo EV climbing to #6, while the #10 BMW 530e and #11 Mercedes E300e/de continue on their private race for Best Selling Luxury Car. The #12 Nissan Leaf had a year best performance, with 308 registrations, so it seems the 62 kWh version is (finally!) doing some good for the Japanese hatchback.
The Kia Soul EV (both generations counted) was up one spot, to #16, and is now looking to reach the back of the #15 Hyundai Ioniq Electric.
But the real story in the lower positions of the ranking is the PHEV resurgence, with the #14 Mini Countryman PHEV scoring 223 registrations, its best result since January. We also now have the Volvo XC60 PHEV in the ranking — thanks to a personal best performance of 141 registrations, it managed to reach #20, thus kicking the Jaguar I-PACE off the table.
“PHEVs are back, alright!!!”
While we see some good performances coming from plug-in hybrids on the top 20 list, it is off the ranking that we take full notice. Like the Backstreet Boys, PHEVs came back in September, to the joy and/or dismay of many.
Here are some of the most important performances: the new BMW 330e scored 168 registrations, already a new best for the nameplate in Germany; the new X5 PHEV registered 43 units; the Audi Q5 PHEV had 100 registrations; the Mercedes C300e/de had 61, the PHEV version of the C-Class’s best result in over a year; and both the revised VW Passat GTE (112 units) and Porsche Cayenne PHEV (63 units) had their best results since the new WLTP rules were enforced a little over a year ago.
In the middle of all these PHEV landings, a certain Porsche Taycan also started to ramp up registrations, with 78 units showing up last month.
The performances of these plug-in models will surely be interesting to see in the last quarter of the year.
In the brands ranking, BMW (20%) is the clear leader, with Tesla (12%, up 1 percentage point) earning a precious advantage over #3 Renault (11%).
Off the podium, we have Mitsubishi (8%), followed by Volkswagen and Hyundai, both with 7% share and trying to catch the Japanese brand.
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The Tesla Model 3 is closing in on the German Big 3, with the Audi A4 being the weakest link of them, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the A4 fall behind the Californian in one of the upcoming high tides.
Aside from the Tesla, the only model with a certain degree of electrification is the BMW 3 Series, with 5% of sales coming from the PHEV 330e. Now, imagine if 20% came from that version — that would be 600 units! That would be enough for a top 5 position! Will BMW have enough batteries for that?
Midsize SUV Best Sellers
While the top 2 models are (still) very much gas/diesel models, the following three are already electrified, in various degrees. You have the 8% PHEV share of the Audi Q5, the 9% share of the Volvo XC60, and the 69% share of the Mitsubishi Outlander.
This last performance raises the question: When will Mitsubishi make the Outlander an entirely plug0in model?
Full Size Car Best Sellers
Funny enough, with the exception of the #3 Audi A6, all other models have PHEV versions, and although their shares in the overall sales aren’t brilliant (from 8% on the E-Class to 14% on the 7 Series), they show plenty of space for improvement, something that the new Porsche Taycan will no doubt help with.
Full Size SUV Best Sellers
The full size SUV category seems to have a low rate of electrification compared to the respective car class, with only the BMW X5 (4% of sales coming from the PHEV version) and Porsche Cayenne (11%) having a certain degree of electrification. The Audi e-tron (full EV) is only #7 in the category. However, things in a few months could look quite different, as the new long-range PHEV version of the Mercedes GLE, an attractive proposition, is set to land, while both the Bimmer and Porsche should see their PHEV shares increase in the next few months, leaving the Touareg and the Q8 as the only unplugged models. For how long, Volkswagen?