While the global auto market as a whole experienced a significant decline in sales of around 16% in 2020, the electric vehicle (EV) market decisively bucked the overall trend to record outstanding annual growth.
Sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) rose by 40% worldwide over the year, and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) by 74%. While China remains the largest BEV market in absolute terms, the main impetus for the growth of the overall EV market comes from Europe. BEV sales in Europe more than doubled in 2020, while PHEV sales grew more than threefold.
The accelerating dynamism of the European EV market was particularly apparent in the fourth quarter of the year as three major premium manufacturers introduced new PHEV models into the market. Registrations of BEVs and PHEVs accelerated in December in particular, with sales figures outstripping previous monthly records.
Not all the news was positive, however. Sales of both BEVs and PHEVs in the United States fell in 2020 due to a lack of new product launches, but still outpaced a contracting total market. Moreover, the global production and supply challenges which beset the industry in 2020 look likely to continue into this year due to pandemic-related issues like virus mutations, lockdowns and downturns in various parts of the world.
PwC Autofacts® and Strategy& have analyzed e-mobility sales worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2020.