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Global EV Sales for 2021

By Roland Irle, EV-volumes.com

Global EV sales reached 6,75 million units in 2021, 108 % more than in 2020. This volume includes passenger vehicles, light trucks and light commercial vehicles. The global share of EVs (BEV & PHEV) in global light vehicle sales was 8,3 % compared to 4,2 % in 2020. BEVs stood for 71 % of total EV sales, PHEVs for 29 %. The Global auto market improved by only 4,7 % over the crisis year of 2020. As in 2020, EVs again were resilient to set-backs in auto demand and supply.

The remarkable growth rate of 108 % y/y needs to be seen relative to the low base volume of 2020. Caused by regulations and Covid-19, global EV sales of 2019 and 2020 were below the long-term trajectory and in 2021 they returned back to trend. While the y/y growth looks extreme, the 2021 volume is still fair.

Tesla had its share in it, leading the OEM EV ranking with 936 000 deliveries, 436k more than 2020. The Model-3 reached 501 000 units and became the 2nd most sold midsize nameplate after the Toyota Camry. The Volkswagen Group stayed on rank 2 and BYD climbed 4 positions to #3. BYD delivered nearly 600 000 units (w/o buses), over 400 000 more than in 2020.

Following the headwinds in 2019 and 2020, global EV sales were back on track in 2021. For this year we expect EV sales to return to more normal growth and reach around 9,5 million units, higher if remaining issues in supply and logistics are resolved.
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Highest Annual Growth since 2012

China NEVs sales emerged stronger than ever from the steel bath during 2019 and 2020. Sales jumped by more than 2 million units, more than the combined volume increase of all other regions combined. Growth in Europe stayed lower as it compares to the boom in 2020 H2. Northern America sales benefited from the roll-out of attractive, new offerings by nearly all OEM and from better availability of Tesla Model 3 & Y.

Consistent, high growth also among the remaining countries: South Korea increased by 64 200 units to 114 500 EV sales. Israel, Australia, India, Japan contributed with additional sales of more than 10 000 units each. Many smaller EV markets e.g. Brazil, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore increased EV sales by over 200 %. Most OEMs have noticeably enhanced their EV offers beyond Europe, China and North America.

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Doubling from a Modest Base

With total light vehicle sales recovering by only 4,6 % from the crisis year of 2020, the 108 % growth of EVs means doubling their market share. Variations between the market regions are strong, though: In Europe the EV share increased from 10 % to 17 %, with a 26 % peak in December, in a persistently weak total market.

In Northern America EVs had 4,4 % share (2,3 % in 2020), in China their share increased from 5,5 % to 13,3 %. For the remaining 70 markets we are tracking, the combined EV share was 1,5 %.

BEVs increased by 1 % in the EV mix with most of the gains occurring in the 2nd half of 2021. Their volume increased to 4,80 million units, PHEVs sold 1,94 million units and FCEVs 15 400 units.


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