Germany overtakes Norway as Europe’s top market for electric vehicles (EVs).
Sales of EVs increased by 70 per cent in Germany to 17,574 cars in the first quarter, nudging ahead of Norway for the first time, according to data from European industry association ACEA. The figure includes full-electric cars and plug-in hybrids.
VW, Daimler and BMW are retooling their assembly lines in response to stricter European regulations on combustion engines and the fallout from the 2015 VW emissions-cheating scandal.
While consumers have turned away from diesel — especially in Germany — automakers are depending on customers to embrace electrified powertrains if they are to recover the massive investments they are making.
Across Europe, sales of EVs advanced 41 per cent, with full-electric cars up 35 per cent and plug-in hybrids up 47 per cent, while diesel in the EU dropped 17 per cent.
Once rare in Germany, Teslas have become increasingly common on the streets of cities such as Munich, alongside other fully-electric models like BMW’s i3 and the Nissan Leaf, according to Automotive News.
While the Germans have an advantage in Europe, their next challenge as the market for EVs expands will be to prove to consumers in the U.S. and China that their products are superior. Elon Musk’s recent troubles with Model 3 production issues and quality reviews, may have opened a door.
“Tesla’s golden age is nearing its end and it will become a product among many,” said Juergen Pieper, a Frankfurt-based analyst with Bankhaus Metzler to Automotive News. “As the consumer pool for electric cars grows, tolerance over quality issues may be lower too as it’s less about the early adopters who went for Teslas based on novelty.”