Due to the reduction in subsidy premiums, sales of electric cars fell sharply in January. While more than 100,000 purely electric vehicles were newly registered in December 2022, according to the Federal Motor Transport Authority, only around 18,100 new ones hit the roads in January. Many consumers have obviously preferred to buy an electric vehicle in order to still receive the higher subsidies.

The consulting company EY described the very high number of registrations in December as “a real firework of last-minute new registrations in this segment”. “Of course, these early new car purchases are now missing,” the company said in an analysis on Friday.

No funding for plug-in hybrids since the beginning of the year

Plug-in hybrids, which use a combustion engine in addition to an electric motor, have not been subsidized since the beginning of the year. The subsidy premiums for battery and fuel cell cars have fallen. Buyers of fully electric cars can now receive a maximum of 4,500 euros from the state instead of 6,000 euros if their car is on the sales list for less than 40,000 euros net. For more expensive vehicles up to a net list price of 65,000 euros, there are still 3,000 euros instead of the previous 5,000 euros. In 2024, the subsidy premiums will continue to fall.

The number of newly registered plug-in hybrids was just under 9,000 in January – after almost 70,000 in December and around 54,100 in January 2022. “Especially the new registrations of electric vehicles were brought forward in December and are now missing. However, we expect that the market will turn positive once this pull-forward effect has expired because of the improved ability to deliver,” said Reinhard Zirpel, President of the Association of International Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (VDIK). “Nevertheless, the reduction in e-car subsidies in 2023 is leaving clear traces. We fear that the current momentum is over for the time being.”

A total of just over 179,000 cars were newly registered in January – that was 2.6 percent fewer than a year earlier. Driven by the high number of electric vehicles, more than 314,000 new cars came onto the roads in December. With a share of 27 percent, most new cars in January were SUVs.

The number of private registrations fell by around 12 percent to 56,700 vehicles in January. According to the VDIK, this development is also an effect of the strong end-of-year spurt in 2022.