German e-approvals 2021 >

Some brands make it easier for you to use the large-format table from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) to find out which electric cars were most frequently and least frequently newly registered in Germany in the past year – because they do not yet offer a single purely battery-powered vehicle. Without latecomers from Alfa Romeo to Jeep and Rolls-Royce to Suzuki, the list becomes clearer, and even the majority of manufacturers with electric cars have significantly more conventional vehicles in their range. It quickly became apparent that the most popular electric car in Germany in 2021 was the Tesla Model 3 (see photo), while the least popular was an unknown model from Ford.

Older electric cars in the top ten

An important limitation is that this only applies to new registrations. In more normal times, this can be viewed as matching with the wallet and thus actually approximating popularity. After the Corona year 2020, 2021 was also the year of logistics crises, in which many manufacturers, including Tesla for short, had to interrupt production several times. In this respect, the ranking for 2020 also shows who coped best with the shortage of chips – and who can deliver enough electric cars regardless of this. Because with regard to Tesla, there has long been the thesis that the company would sell a lot more if it could produce more. So far it has not been refuted, and it could also apply to other brands.

In any case, according to the KBA, the most German new registrations among purely electric cars in 2021 were the Tesla Model 3. That was a kind of comeback, because in 2020 two much older electric cars had to admit defeat: the Renault Zoe and, surprisingly, the e-Golf from Volkswagen. Both were no longer in the German top 3 in 2021. The French electric car still came fourth with a total of 24,736 new registrations, while the German one no longer played an important role with 1,587 new registrations (5 of them in December).

Directly behind the Model 3 from Tesla there was another electric car from Volkswagen in 2021. As a model that has actually already been phased out with 30,797 new registrations, the e-Up could be proof that the Tesla thesis of limited supply instead of little demand also applies here. Another Volkswagen followed in 3rd place with around 4000 fewer – with the ID.3 the first on the new MEB platform, which is intended to bring the entire group into the electric car future. The SUV offshoot ID.4, at least theoretically available in Germany since March 2021, also ended the year in the top ten between the closely related Skoda Enyaq and the Fiat 500 Elektro.

Tesla at the front – and almost at the back

With the BMW i3 and 12,178 new registrations, their last entry is also an old electric car at its core. The same applies to the smart fortwo and Hyundai Kona-e, which are ahead of him in it. Only in the next dozen with registration numbers down to around 4000 in 2021 will newer models such as Hyundai Ioniq5 or Mercedes GLA follow. With 4,400 new registrations, this region also includes the Tesla Model Y, whose deliveries in Germany began in late summer 2021. Contrary to expectations, the strong September with the Model Y was not followed by a record December. That could have been due to insufficient supplies from China, but in this case it also means that German customers in particular are waiting for the Model Y from the factory in their own country.

At the bottom of the German electric car ranking for 2021 are eleven models with fewer than 100 new registrations. Four of them don’t even have a name. They are only marked as “other” at the KBA, so they should be conversions or other individual pieces. The absolute rarest was another Ford with 7 new registrations in the whole year, the Opel Ampera-e was the rarest electric car with a name. With 15 new registrations, the Tesla Model S was just ahead of him. For this electric car, however, one can say with certainty that the low number was due to the offer, because since the end of 2020 no Model S or Model have been sold in the USA due to a refresh X more shipped to Europe.

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