BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – Supported by a strong increase in electric vehicles, the number of newly registered cars in Germany in 2022 rose just above the previous year’s level. A good 2.65 million cars were newly put on the road last year – an increase of 1.1 percent compared to 2021, as announced by the Federal Motor Transport Authority on Wednesday. While the auto industry was still faced with eleven percent fewer new registrations in the first half of the year, the registration figures recently went up significantly. In December, the plus was 38.1 percent. However, sales of electric vehicles in particular could soon fall again.
The increase in recent months is likely to be a result of the premium adjustments: At the turn of the year, subsidies for plug-in hybrids expired and were reduced for pure electric vehicles. Shortly before the adjustment, more than twice as many electric vehicles (fully electric cars and plug-in hybrids) were newly registered in December than a year earlier – and for the first time, there were more electric vehicles than combustion engines.
Around 833,000 new electric vehicles hit the road in 2022 (up 22 percent) – around 174,000 of them in December alone. 470,500 vehicles were purely electric (up 32.2 percent). Here, too, December was conspicuous with around 104,300 new registrations in this category.
Plug-in hybrids, which use an internal combustion engine in addition to an electric motor, have not been subsidized since the beginning of the year. For battery and fuel cell cars, the subsidy premiums have fallen. At most, buyers of fully electric cars can now receive 4500 euros from the state instead of 6000 if their car is listed for sale at less than 40,000 euros net. For more expensive vehicles up to a net list price of 65,000 euros, there is still 3000 euros instead of the previous 5000 euros. In 2024, the incentive premiums will fall further.
In December 2022, therefore, many car buyers are likely to have tried to still obtain the higher premiums. The consulting firm EY therefore sees an “artificial electric boom” in the December figures. For 2023, associations and experts expect plug-in hybrids to sell significantly worse. For pure electric cars, the forecasts are different. “However, the hangover in the coming months is thus pre-programmed,” EY wrote on Wednesday. From the perspective of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), the development also suggests that “purchases are being brought forward.”
German Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) called the rise in all-electric cars a “huge success on our way to climate-friendly mobility.” Last year, he said, the number of publicly accessible charging points grew by almost half to a good 70,000. “A nationwide, user-friendly and needs-based charging infrastructure is a prerequisite for the breakthrough of electromobility. Now energy policy must follow suit,” Wissing said, according to the statement. “The power grid must become more efficient, and in addition to the expansion of renewable energies, we will also need nuclear energy for longer so that e-cars don’t run on dirty coal-fired power.”
The general upward trend in registration figures began in September, when new registrations were up 14 percent compared to the same month last year, followed by nearly 17 percent in October and a good 31 percent in November. By contrast, the mood in the first half of the year was subdued. “Compared to the pre-crisis year 2019, a significant sales gap of around 26 percent remains in 2022,” the VDA summed up. Manufacturers nevertheless reported profits in the billions over the course of the past few months.
With the final spurt, “the 2022 car year closed on a conciliatory note, even though the market as a whole remained significantly below expectations,” said Reinhard Zirpel, President of the Association of International Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (VDIK). “Delivery capacity remains a challenge, but has improved significantly. Manufacturers can gradually work off the current high order backlogs.”
According to Greenpeace, the registration figures reflect the climate problem of transport. “As long as more heavy SUVs are sold year after year and the number of registered passenger cars grows to ever new record numbers, we are racing deeper into the climate crisis,” said Greenpeace transport expert Marissa Reiserer. Nearly 30 percent of cars registered in 2022 were urban SUVs. They thus accounted for the largest share of new registrations. Manufacturers hope to make better margins selling larger cars./nif/DP/ngu