The biggest-selling electric vehicle (EV) in the fastest-growing EV market in Europe isn’t a Tesla TSLA and it isn’t Volkswagen’s much-hyped ID.3 hatch, either. It’s a Volkswagen Up.
A Volkswagen Up (or, in Volkswagen’s handwriting, an Up!).
Figures just released by Germany’s KBA show both the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and EV markets booming year-on-year, with the tiny Up leading the way with 2215 EV sales in February alone.
Far from running on Volkswagen’s soon-to-be-ubiquitous MEB (Modular Electric Matrix) EV architecture, the e-Up is based on a stand-alone platform, engineered only for the Up.
Though no longer in production, the Up has shown a clean pair of heels to both Tesla and its own stablemates.
Proving that the European EV market will be a very different beast from the US and China, the four-door Up is just 3600mm (142 inches) long and carries a 32.3kW/h lithium-ion battery.
That gives it only 205km (127 miles) of range and it can be recharged at a maximum speed of 40kW to revisit its 61kW/210Nm electric motor. Even then, the 1235kg (2722lb) Up takes 11.9 seconds to reach 100km/h (62mph).
The appeal of the e-Up lay in its price tag of 21,421 euros.
The other appeal, a Volkswagen spokesman said, was the cork-in-the-bottle effect of pre-orders the company couldn’t fulfill due to battery shortages. Those batteries have now been fitted to pre-built cars and have boomed through the brand’s dealerships.
A total of 18,278 new EVs were registered in Germany, giving the EV segment a 124% rise year-on-year in a month where the overall market that fell 19% to 194,349.
EVs now hold 9.4% of the German auto market, and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) also climbed to 162% to own 11.3% of the market with 21,879 cars, combining to pull CO2 emissions down by 15.4% to 126.5 grams/km.
Gasoline car sales fell 41.4% and diesels dropped 35%, seeing sales fall to a low of 25.4% of the overall market.
The ID.3 suffered the opposite problem to the Up, with Volkswagen putting the cork back in the bottle after it helped with CO2 figures late in 2020. The car is due for a major software upgrade later this month and dealers across Germany were advised to hold the cars back until the cars had all been flashed.
Even so, the ID.3 found 1892 homes in February, placing it third behind Tesla’s Model 3 (1918 sales). Tesla needed good news, though. It sold just one Model S and seven Model Xs in Germany in February.
The Model 3 is now up to 2371 for the year; well behind the E-Up (3661) and the ID.3 (3691).
The sales figures showed Volkswagen also sold 248 ID.4 SUVs, but a Volkswagen spokesman admitted they were all dealer cars, with the ID.4 awaiting the same software flash as the ID.3.
The pension-aged e-Golf still managed 381 sales, making February a surprisingly good month for the German brand with 4754 sales.
Renault’s Zoe clocked 1424 sales to rank fourth, while the Hyundai Kona (1315) and the smart ForTwo ranked sixth at 1245.