Bitter start to 2024 for BEVs in Germany after incentive withdrawal

11 March 2024


Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) experienced a bumpy start to the year in Germany after the early withdrawal of incentives in December 2023. José Pontes, data director at, reviews the impact with Tom Hooker, Autovista24 journalist.

Germany saw 36,868 electric vehicles (EVs) take to the road in January, an increase of 42% year on year. However, compared with January 2022 this year’s result looks less positive, down by 9%.

The reason behind this skewed result was another hangover month affected by the end of subsidies for plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) in January 2023. The drop in demand for the technology at that point created a lower-than-usual registration figure for the technology, which was an easy target to surpass this year.

Data from EV-volumes shows that the powertrain got 2024 off to a strong start, up 63% year on year with 14,394 deliveries in January. BEVs posted 22,474 registrations, resulting in a more gradual growth of 24%. This was despite incentives for the powertrain being abruptly halted on 17 December, before their planned deadline at the end of 2023.

EVs accounted for 17% of Germany’s new car deliveries in January, five percentage points below its share in January 2022. This highlights the current struggle for electric vehicles, while BEVs alone achieved an 11% share.

Plugin numbers are expected to climb throughout 2024, eventually surpassing last year’s result. Germany could even beat its best-ever electric vehicle share of 31% recorded in 2022. EVs are predicted to account for more than 40% of registrations in multiple months.

BEVs accounted for 61% of all deliveries in Germany’s EV market, falling six percentage points from one year ago. With BEVs no longer benefitting from subsidies, PHEVs should continue to recover market share.

Tesla takes first blood

Several brands held back on deliveries at the end of last year, meaning January’s results are slightly distorted. However, some trends are already starting to develop.

The Tesla Model Y reclaimed the monthly best-seller title after topping the 2023 chart. A total of 2,393 deliveries was enough for first, despite posting over 4,000 registrations one year ago.

Unlike 2023, where the crossover was quickly the clear title favourite, this year should be more competitive.

The Skoda Enyaq came second in January, around 900 units behind the Model Y. It achieved 1,457 deliveries, doubling last year’s figure. The Audi Q4 e-Tron finished third thanks to 1,424 registrations. The SUV also doubled its tally from January 2023.

PHEVs positive performance

The Ford Kuga PHEV led an improved charge for the powertrain, taking fourth with 1,067 deliveries. Behind sat the first of six Mercedes-Benz models in the top 20, namely the GLC PHEV with 989 registrations in fifth.

Elsewhere in the brand's domestic market, the Mercedes-Benz EQA had a strong month in seventh, posting 803 deliveries. This was double last year’s January total which placed it in 19th.

The Audi Q8 e-Tron led the full-size segment in eighth thanks to 759 deliveries. Yet, this was a drop from the 1,131 registrations posted a year ago when the SUV came second.

Below was the Mercedes-Benz E-Class PHEV in ninth (744 units). Further down the table, the GLE PHEV in 13th (665 units) and the C-Class PHEV in 15th (555 units) meant the carmaker placed four PHEVS in the top 20.

The Mercedes-Benz EQE also performed well, in 14th with 656 registrations. The SUV finished fourth in its segment and was one of three full-sized models from the manufacturer in the top 20.

The category has been largely unaffected by the BEV subsidy cut due to a price cap, capitalising against smaller models that have been heavily hampered.

Meanwhile, the Cupra Formentor PHEV had a good January in 16th (518 units). The crossover beat its underperforming Volkswagen (VW) Group siblings, with the ID.3 (507 units) and ID.4 (504 units) in 17th and 18th respectively.

First appearances

The last two spots in the chart offered a surprise, as the Volvo XC60 PHEV came in 19th (501 units) and the Opel Astra made its first table appearance in 20th (498 units). This total included 389 PHEV deliveries.

Just three units behind was the Porsche Cayenne PHEV. The model only just missed the top 20, posting its best score since December 2021. The Volvo EX30 also proved competitive, with 494 registrations. This was the compact SUV’s first month of deliveries, raising expectations moving forward.

Finally, the Renault Megane EV posted 471 registrations. The hatchback is maintaining the brand's presence in Germany until the new Scenic lands, alongside the Renault 5 which appeared at the Geneva International Motor Show. The latter could be a success in the region, after the Renault Zoe’s first-place results from 2018 to 2020. However, the market has advanced since then.

Mercedes-Benz masterclass

Mercedes-Benz took a commanding lead in January’s brand ranking, with a 16.4% share. In second, BMW accounted for 10.6% of the market. This was a big improvement on its 5.2% share and fifth-place finish one year ago.

Audi came in third, with its Q4 e-Tron and Q8 e-Tron helping it achieve a 9.5% share. Tesla finished in fourth (8.6% share), a stark contrast to last year when it topped the table and accounted for 17.1% of the market.

VW also failed to improve on its January 2023 performance, taking fifth with a 5.9% share compared to 13.4% in the previous year.

Additionally, Volvo reached a 5.1% share. The Swedish carmaker could challenge for a top-five spot in the future depending on the success of its EX30.

With brands grouped together under their parent companies, VW Group started the year strong, with a 26.3% share placing them comfortably in first. Mercedes-Benz trailed in second (18.3% share), while BMW Group took third (11.6% share). This is an increase of over five percentage points on January 2023.

Fourth went to Stellantis (9.5% share), followed by Tesla (8.6% share). The Hyundai Motor Group sat in sixth place, accounting for 6.6% of the market.

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