Dealers in Germany say they are running out full-electric vehicles to sell, with some complaining that their supplies are sold out.
Registrations of full-electric cars tripled to 194,163 last year for a 6.7 percent market share, according to the KBA motor transport authority, led by cars such as the Volkswagen ID3, Renault Zoe and Tesla Model 3. The growth continued in January with monthly volumes more than doubling over the same month in 2020.
"This didn't just start with the hike in subsidies as a result of the pandemic, rather the problems began when state incentives were increased last February," said the head of the ZDK dealers association,Thomas Peckruhn.
"Nevertheless, the pandemic did delay the supply of vehicles by a number of weeks, for example the ID3. So, these EVs could not be supplied to us in the volumes we would have liked," he said.
Recently Opel said it had taken steps to restore the supply of the Mokka-e, following severe production constraints in the Poissy plant in France where the small SUV is built.
Making matters worse, the semiconductor shortage is interfering with production at a time when dealers typically enjoy their strongest months: March and April.
For dealers, it is a problem that while policymakers decided in favor of extending the subsidies through to the end of 2025, there is a fixed amount of cash available, meaning that these subsidies could run out long before that date.
ZDK officials told reporters on Wednesday that its 36,580 members are investing heavily despite the difficult economic situation and a country-wide average margin of just 1.2 percent for dealers, far below the 3 percent they target.
The ZDK also refuted speculation that their dealers had ordered too few EVs because sales of zero-emissions vehicles are less lucrative than those of combustion engine cars and also require less repair work due to fewer moving parts.
"While the latest diesels are certainly on par with electric cars, it's not true that we put our bet on the combustion engine. We have taken a neutral stance when it comes to technology, as the customer ultimately decide what will win out in the end," said Juergen Karpinski, ZDK president.
This year a number of key EV models are due to launch, including the VW ID4, the Audi Q4 e-tron and the Mercedes-Benz EQA.