Demand for EVs remained strong in 2021, but we can argue that if it were not for the well-known component shortages that continue to affect all car manufacturers worldwide, many more would have been sold.
Global electric vehicle sales to grow 109% year-on-year in 2021
Despite unfavourable market conditions, renowned consulting firms in their research on the global EV market estimate that 6.5 million EVs will be sold worldwide in 2021, up 109% from 2020. This number of EVs includes fully electric and plug-in hybrid passenger cars. The overall global automotive market grew by only 4% in 2021 as it continued to face COVID-19-related constraints and chip shortages. EV sales accounted for 9% of all passenger car sales in 2021.
The following points provide an overview of the global sales figures:
- Worldwide, 85% of EVs sold were delivered to customers in mainland China and Europe.
- In 2021, 3.2 million EVs were sold in Mainland China, accounting for 15% of all new car sales.
- In Europe, 2.3 million EVs have been sold, accounting for 19% of new cars.
- By comparison, although demand is growing, in the US in 2021, EVs accounted for only 4% of new car sales, or around 535,000 units.
While the purchase prices of most EV models are currently still higher than comparable internal combustion engine cars, EVs are expected to reach a comparable purchase price to conventional models around 2025. More important for consumers, however, is the total lifetime cost (TCO) of the car, which is already lower for some EVs. This is based on a consideration of how much the car costs in fuel, maintenance and insurance.
The key to making EVs more affordable is sensibly designed incentive-based taxation. For example, bonus-malus tax systems in countries such as France, Italy and Sweden, which offset financial support for zero-emission cars with higher taxes on polluting vehicles.
Canalys, the world's leading technology market analyst firm, reports that more than 3.2 million EVs will be sold in mainland China in 2021, half of all EVs sold in the world, and 2 million more than will be sold in the country in 2020. In every major market segment, many new models are appearing every month, from small and inexpensive city cars to mainstream and premium sedans and SUVs. In 2021, 15% of new cars sold in mainland China were electric, more than double the 2020 figure, and there is still a huge opportunity for future growth in 2022 and beyond.
Europe still boasts the highest EV growth rate
Traditional car manufacturers in Europe are increasingly "electrifying" their product lines. In 2021, EVs accounted for 19% of total car sales and 2.3 million cars were delivered. The best-selling EV in Europe in 2021 was the Tesla Model 3, but the leading EV manufacturer was Volkswagen Group, with several models from Audi, Skoda and VW selling well.
EV sales in the US continue to lag behind those in mainland China and Europe. Only 4% of new cars sold in the US in 2021 were EVs. With several new EVs launched in 2021 and sales momentum and consumer interest increasing, Tesla continues to dominate EV sales in the US with an estimated share of just under 60%.
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