Technology research company Canalys released a report on Monday claiming that the global sale of electric vehicles (EVs) in 2021 was 6.5 million units, an increase of 109% from 2020, accounting for 9% of all passenger car sales. However, affected by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and computer chip shortages, the global automobile market only grew by 4% in 2021.
Over 3.2 million EVs were sold in mainland China in 2021 – half of all EVs sold worldwide, and 2 million more than were sold in the country in 2020. The Wuling Hongguang Mini EV was still easily the best-selling model in mainland China in 2021. EVs from Tesla held the next two places, with the Model Y overtaking the Model 3. BYD has expanded its range of EVs and was the leading EV brand in China with several popular fully electric and plug-in hybrid models.
Tesla led the worldwide EV market with a 14% share. Sales of the Model Y started in the major markets in 2021 and quickly overtook those of the Model 3 in mainland China and the US. Tesla’s vehicle production is well established in mainland China and will commence in Europe in the first half 2022 as it focuses on delivering existing models rather than launching new ones in 2022.
Volkswagen Group was second with a 12% market share. It doubled its EV sales in 2021 compared with 2020 and led the market in Europe. Nearly 60% of the Group’s EV sales were from its VW brand, with solid support from a diverse range of other subsidiaries including Audi, Cupra, Porsche, SEAT and Skoda.
SAIC, which includes SGMW, the combination of SAIC, GM and Wuling, came in third with an 11% share. The big success within the group is still the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV in mainland China, where it is the runaway leader. EVs from Baojun, Maxus, MG and Roewe, all SAIC-owned brands, contributed to its success.
BYD came fourth with a share of 9%. Its EV sales increased by over 200% in 2021 with more than a dozen models available in mainland China, including some EV and plug-in hybrid models. It launched the first model based on its new e-platform 3.0 toward the end of 2021, with more new models on the platform to come in 2022.
The report pointed out that demand for EVs stayed strong in 2021, but many more would have been sold had it not been for the chronic component shortages still affecting every automaker around the world.