German Plug-in Car Sales Surge Past 1 Percent For First Time in September

September auto sales numbers are in, and like the U.S., Germany’s battery electrics and plug-in hybrids saw a huge gain.

The KBA, Germany’s motor transit authority, recorded 1,641 new all-electric cars on the roads in September, up 77 percent from September 2015, along with 1,420 plug-in hybrids, up 37 percent from September 2015.

Between them they accounted for 1.1 percent of new September registrations, topping the previous high market share of 0.7 percent for the four previous months of 2016.

SEE ALSO: Plug-in Cars Have Their Best-Ever US Sales in September

Coincidentally, the U.S. also just passed 1 percent plug-in sales in September, albeit the U.S. market is 17.4 million annually, and the German market might hit 3.3 million this year.

BMW’s i3 was at the top of the sales charts as it was elsewhere in Europe, with the battery electric version outselling the range extended model.

Renault’s electric two-door Zoe city car found itself in the second sales slot for the first time in 2016.

Credit for the sales surge can be attributed to the German government’s incentive program that kicked off in July that saw 4,451 consumers signing applications.

The program is aimed at expanding the country’s fleet of plug-in electrified vehicles from the 66,764 cumulative sales tallied from January 2010 through Sept. 2016 to one million on the roads by 2020.

The $1.35 billion (1.2 billion euros) cost of the program is equally shared by the government and the auto industry.

All-electric car buyers get a $4,520 (4,000 euros) discount while buyers of plug-in hybrids receive a discount of $3,390 (3,000 euros).

SEE ALSO: Germany Approves Electrified Vehicle Incentives and Charging Infrastructure Funding

They also receive an exemption from paying a vehicle tax for 10 years, and get a 25-percent tax rate reduction on electricity used for charging plug-in vehicles at work.

Premium cars, such as the Tesla Model S and BMW’s i8 are not eligible for incentives because there is a purchase price cap of $67,800 (60,000 euros).

Germany is the largest passenger car market in Europe, with new car sales increasing sharply in September for the second month in a row, with 298,002 new cars registered.

However, the country has lagged in plug-in car sales with just 66,764 cumulative sales from January 2010 through Sept. 2016, making it the eighth largest in the world and fifth largest in Europe.

In contrast, European leader Norway totaled more than 122,000 for the same period.

Germany has a steep hill to climb to make the goal of one million plug-in electrified cars on the road by 2020, but September sales gave a good starting push.

Hat tip: Mario R. Duran.