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Germany 2015 and January 2016 plug-in vehicle sales

2015 sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids were 24156 units, 82 % higher than 2014. Growth was consistent and strong throughout the year; particularly in the 4th quarter, with a volume increase of 120 %. Germany's plug-in share in total light vehicle sales (passenger cars & light commercials) was still only 0,7 % for the year. German officials are not very satisfied with this share and volume; the goal is set for 1 million electrically chargeable vehicle on the road in 2020. Germany is now seriously considering the introduction of a €5000 subsidy for battery electric  vehicles and €2500 for plug-in hybrids. Plug-in buyers in Germany currently get a 10-year road tax exemption, worth 2000-2500 € for a car with e.g. a 2 ltr Diesel and 120 g CO2/km emission.

Also charging infrastructure support is to be increased. Germany has currently around 7000 public charging locations and in particular the low number of fast charging stations (ca 500 public DC 50 kW) is seen as the main obstacle for broader EV adoption. BEV (pure EVs) stand for 60 % in the sales mix, 40 % are plug-in hybrids. Germany will introduce incentives for plug-ins most likely during the second part of 2016.

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January 2016 plug-in sales results

We are late with the 2015 sum-up for Germany and here are the January results. Total sales of Plug-ins were  just 1450 units, only 13 % higher than for January 2015. Most surprising is the absence of Kia Soul EV in the top-10. The Soul was the winner of 2015, with over 900 sales in December alone. In January, only 37 were delivered. Also the BMW i3, Germanys #2 plug-in of 2015 has a slow start in 2016.

28 % of plug-in sales were Kia Soul during the previous quarter and without these sales, January looks bleaker than the volume of other models would suggest. The situation is likely to be temporary; more about it in the next update for Q1 of 2016.

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Kia Soul vs BMW i3

Both can be considered B-segment MPVs, but then, the similarities end. While the Kia does with the rather conventional body construction of it's ICE stablemate, the i3 is unique from the ground up and deploys e.g. lightweight materials, a unique rear door concept and skinny tires for less rolling resistance. There is a BEV version and one with a 25 kW range extender engine, adapted from a 2-cylinder Boxer of the BMW Motorcycle division.

The i3 offers spirited performance from a 125 kW (170 hp) motor driving the rear wheels, 0-100 tales a mere 7,2 seconds (BEV version) and handling is crisp. The Kia weighs in 300 kg higher and acceleration from the 81 kW motor is a leisurely 11,3 seconds from 0-100. The Kia is less efficient with the electricity, 14,7 kW/100km vs 12,9 for the i3 BEV, but offers 20 km more range, thanks to a 5 kWh larger battery.

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