Global electric-car sales generally remained flat in 2019, but one country bucked that trend.
Germany saw a major increase in electric-car adoption, according to Clean Energy Wire. The number of new EV registrations rose 61% percent in 2019, compared to a 24% increase for 2018. This robust growth cemented Germany's position as the largest electric-car market in the European Union.
The 108,600 newly-registered electric cars in Germany for 2019 was the third highest worldwide. Germany outpaced Norway, a country known for EV enthusiasm.
But in Norway, 57% of new-vehicle registrations were electric, compared to just 3% in Germany, noted Clean Energy Wire. For reference, electric cars made up 5% percent of new-vehicle registrations in China and 3% in the United States. These figures are based on a survey from the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW).
Germany has taken a page from the playbooks of both Norway and China, adopting more robust incentives to encourage car buyers to go electric. The German government has committed to a 50% increase in electric-car subsidies from 2020 to 2025. The goal is to put 10 million electric cars on the road by 2030.
How many of those cars will be made by German automakers—versus foreign automakers like Tesla—remains unclear.
There is significant anxiety in Germany that the national auto industry is being leapfrogged in EV technology, primarily by Tesla. The Silicon Valley automaker was the leader in global electric-car deliveries for 2019, according to the ZSW survey, followed by Chinese automakers BYD, BAIC, and SAIC. The Chinese firms primarily build cars for their domestic market, but China also happens to be the world's largest electric-car market.
In comparison, BMW and Volkswagen were fifth and sixth in the rankings, respectively.
That may be partly due to the fact that most electric cars launched by German automakers so far have been low-volume luxury models. But Volkswagen is now launching a family of higher-volume models, starting with the ID 3 hatchback, which entered production in November 2019.
Germany's largest automaker hopes to build 28 million electric cars by 2028. Now how many of those will be sold in its home market?