GER - E-mobility fact check: Germany is catching up in international comparison

The range of e-cars and the expansion of the charging infrastructure are growing steadily / 2020 could be a key year

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Electromobility is picking up speed in Germany, and 2020 could be the turning point. According to calculations by the management consultancy Horváth & Partners in their “E-Mobility Fact Check”, over 370,000 electric cars will be on German roads by the end of this year, and another 200,000 more vehicles next year. "The spread of e-cars is now finally happening with the necessary dynamism, driven among other things by the Corona crisis," says Dr. Oliver Greiner, Head of Studies and Partner at Horváth & Partners. In an international comparison, Germany has already moved up to third place in terms of new registrations. The environmental bonus when buying e-cars, which was increased in mid-2020 as part of an economic stimulus program, is boosting sales. The corona crisis could also become a driver: During the pandemic, the car has once again become the first choice for many people - preferably in the environmentally friendly electric version. In 2020, the CO2 fleet limits set by the EU also have the potential to increase the dynamic even further.

Almost 240,000 electric vehicles were registered in Germany at the end of 2019, around 137,000 of them purely electric. This means that the number of electric vehicles rose again by almost 59 percent compared to the previous year. If this rate of growth is maintained unchanged, the one million target set by the federal government for 2022 would just be missed and will be reached slightly late in early 2023. These are the results of the annual study “E-Mobility Fact Check” by the management consultancy Horváth & Partners.

Strong in an international comparison
From an international perspective, more electric vehicles were registered in 2019 only in the USA and China than in Germany. This development is remarkable, given that the German automotive industry was only fourth (2018) and fifth (2017) in this comparison in previous years. New registrations in Germany have doubled since 2017 and stood at just under 110,000 in 2019. The Federal Republic thus overtook both Japan and Norway. China and the USA are at the top as far larger sales markets, but reported declining trends in 2019.

Nonetheless, the proportion of electricity-powered cars remains comparatively low, as the Horváth experts predict. According to their projections, assuming there are around 45 million vehicles in Germany, electric vehicles would only account for two percent in 2022. In 2030 it would not be more than 15 to 20 percent.

Charging infrastructure is a decisive factor
One key to the breakthrough lies in the expansion of the nationwide charging infrastructure. There is progress here too: The number of public and semi-public charging points in Germany rose to 24,000 in 2019. This corresponds to a significant increase of 49 percent compared to the previous year; in 2018, a similarly high percentage increase of 48 percent was recorded.

The development of reach also made another big step forward in 2019. The average range of all electric vehicles sold in 2019 was, according to manufacturer information and, as forecast in the previous year, around 325 kilometers. In 2018 there was an average of 267 kilometers. "Reaches beyond the tight urban environment are still an important factor for customers," says Oliver Greiner from Horváth & Partners.

2020 as the key year for electromobility
The current year could bring the turning point. "2020 will be a key year for electromobility in Germany," says Greiner. With over 370,000 e-cars on German roads, their number will have increased by more than half compared to the previous year. According to projections, by the end of 2021 there should be almost 600,000 e-cars. This year, for the first time, the CO2 fleet limits set by the EU will take effect, which limit CO2 emissions to an average of 95 grams per kilometer. When it comes to new registrations, e-cars are on the rise and achieved a record market share of 15 percent in September. The environmental bonus is very popular: in September, more than 27,000 applications were submitted as never before since the introduction of the purchase bonus in 2016. For example, support of up to 9,000 euros for the purchase of a purely e-car can be provided at a net list price 40,000 euros are available. “This is an important contribution to further reducing the average price premium for an electric car compared to a combustion engine. In the past two years, at almost 45 percent, this was still significantly too high for the vast majority of buyers, ”says Horváth partner Greiner.

Pandemic-induced surge
In the Corona crisis, private transport has gained in importance. Fearing contagion, many people prefer their own car to public transport. “The pandemic could also give e-mobility in Germany a new boost, because electric vehicles are an environmentally friendly alternative. The question of range takes a back seat when the electric car is to be used in everyday life instead of public transport, ”says Greiner.

About the study:
As part of the “Horváth & Partners E-Mobility Fact Check”, the consultants annually analyze the current development of key drivers of mobility in Germany. On the basis of consolidated actual values, current growth rates are extrapolated for the next few years and compared with target values. This is used to determine the probabilities of achieving relevant key parameters in the electromobility market. The main results are illustrated in an infographic that can be downloaded here (in German only).