What happened in 2020 to drive such significant EV growth in Germany and are there any learnings other countries can gather to drive EV adoption into 2021?
Electric vehicles are the trend that keeps gaining momentum. With their alignment to global sustainability goals, government incentives to buy, and technological advancements increasing performance and lowering costs, international electric vehicle growth was explosive in 2020. And, with more manufacturers competing for market share, EV growth is expected to grow even stronger into 2021 an beyond.
As expected, some markets are outperforming others when it comes to EV adoption. The world is playing catch-up to China, which has long been the largest manufacturer, buyer, and seller of electric vehicles and also boasts the largest addressable market. In 2020, EV sales growth was slow in the United States, reaching only 4% despite the country having the third-largest addressable market. In Europe however, several countries saw triple EV sales growth in 2020, including France, United Kingdom, and Germany.
In Germany particularly, the country saw record EV sales growth, exploding to 263% over 2019 sales, marking the largest year-over-year growth compared to any other leading markets. Clearly, Germany has turned a corner towards mass EV adoption and tracking in the right direction to achieve its goal of having 7-10 million registered electric vehicles on German roads by 2030. This raises questions about what happened in 2020 to drive such significant growth in Germany and are there any learnings other countries can gather to drive EV adoption into 2021?
Germany saw strong momentum gains in EV sales and finished off the year with nearly 83,000 plugin vehicles, registered in December alone, resulting in 27% market share that month. Germans are embracing every kind of plug-in vehicle in the move to electrification, with2020 plug-in sales split evenly between full electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in Hybrids. Combined, they have made Germany the largest Plug-in market outside China, beating even the USA by a wide margin (394,000 vs. 330,000units).
Germany has arguably become the leader in electric vehicle rebates and incentives. Since 2015, the German Federal Government has implemented and followed its Electric Mobility Act, designed to:
With this act, the country had always offered an attractive rebate program, which was amplified in June 2020 as part of Germany’s post-pandemic stimulus package and plan. It was announced mid-year that motorists could receive:
For vehicles priced up to €40,000:
For vehicles priced up to €65,000:
In addition to this rebate program, EV motorists in Germany have a 10-year exemption from ownership tax and, with a special EV-issued license plate, access to privileges like priority parking, free parking, and bus lane use.
While EV technology, like Exro’s Coil Driver, can significantly improve a vehicle’s range and top speed performance, charging will always remain part of the EV puzzle. Germany has implemented a number of measures to make driving electric vehicles accessible and efficient while reducing range anxiety for motorists.
Germany issued legislation, the Ordinance amending Charging Station Ordinance II, which ensures EV motorists can charge and pay for charging at all public charging stations via a number of payment methods, including apps. And, to cut charging costs, Germany’s Energy Industry Act allows the reduction of grid charges for EV users.
In June 2020, Germany helped alleviate recharging concerns by announcing that it would require all petrol stations to offer electric car charging stations. This resulted in an 11.5% increase in charging stations over two quarters, which continues to trend upwards towards the country’s goal to have 1 million charging stations by 2030.
Germany has always been known as a manufacturing powerhouse and is referred to by VDA as the most important automobile production country in Europe. Last year, over 25% of EVs produced worldwide were manufactured in Germany. Not only are manufacturers present in the country to meet their own demand, but they are also producing enough EV inventory for exportation.
This manufacturing hub shows no signs of slowing down. Not only have we seen big investments from classic German manufacturers like Volkswagen (perhaps the only thing dieselgate was good for) but Ford has also announced its plan to invest $1 billion in transforming its Cologne, Germany, factory into its first European electric vehicle factory and hub.
Germany has plotted a successful map for mass EV adoption. Will other countries follow their lead? We look forward to revisiting this post at the end of 2021 to assess if Germany sustained and/or accelerated their growth and which other regions followed suit - or not.
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