BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen tripled their sales of electrified vehicles to nearly 600,000 last year, the companies said, edging out Tesla in Europe as they rushed to meet new CO2 reduction targets.
Of the 5.3 million cars the VW brand delivered last year, 212,000 were battery-only or hybrid-powered, a 158% increase from 2019.
Of these, 159,000 have been sold in Europe, where automakers face hundreds of millions of euros in fines from Brussels if they fail to reduce fleet-wide emissions.
The VW brand alone sold 117,000 pure-electric vehicles on the continent, while Tesla’s deliveries to the region totaled 96,000 in 2020, according to data compiled by automotive analyst Matthias Schmidt.
The BMW Group, which owns the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands, said of the 2.3 million cars sold worldwide in 2020, nearly 193,000 were electrified, an increase of almost 32% from 2019. .
In Europe, BMW’s battery or hybrid vehicles accounted for 15% of total sales, helping the Munich-based company meet its EU-mandated targets for the year.
Rival Daimler said last week that it has also met its CO2 targets, as it more than tripled Mercedes’ electric and hybrid car sales, which accounted for 160,000 of its 2.2 million sales in 2020. The company also sold 27,000 electric Smart cars during the period. .
The Volkswagen Group, whose brands include Audi, Porsche and Seat, has yet to confirm whether it falls short of EU targets, but executives said last month the company was close to compliance, in part thanks to a belated increase in sales of its flagship electric product. car, the ID.3.
The model, which only hit the market in September after software glitches caused significant delays in production, was VW’s most popular emission-free car, with 56,500 units sold in 2020.
“2020 was a turning point for Volkswagen and marked a breakthrough in electric mobility,” said Ralf Brandstätter, VW brand general manager.
Electric car sales in Germany have been boosted by Berlin’s decision following the Covid-19 crisis to double subsidies for the purchase of emission-free vehicles, allowing customers to get up to € 9,000 off on the retail price.
In December, for the first time ever, the market share of electric and hybrid cars in the country exceeded that of diesel engines, according to data from the Federal Motor Transport Authority.
According to Schmidt, the Germans bought twice as many electrified cars as Europe’s second-largest market, France, accounting for one in four plug-in hybrid vehicles sold in Western Europe.
“The German government, by adding an extra turbo to domestic demand for electric vehicles, so far seems to have done the trick,” the Berlin-based analyst said, adding that the rental prices of plug-in hybrids had also reached record levels. .
Overall, global sales of the VW brand fell by 15% in 2020 and by more than 23% in Western Europe. Mercedes and BMW sales fell more than 7% in the pandemic year.