Electric Vehicle Sales Review Q3-2021

China reclaims global BEV leadership


China has returned to lead the global BEV market

At the end of 2020, the average market share for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in the Western Europe 5+5 countries was higher than in China. In the six months since, however, BEV market share in China has almost doubled, from 5.2% to 9.8%, propelled by an extension of government subsidies, and has overtaken the WE 5+5 average again (now standing at 8.6%).

Nevertheless, if we break down Europe into its constituent countries, the picture becomes more dynamic. Germany (10.7%), Norway (a huge 57.3%), Sweden (12.6%), Austria (11.4%), the Netherlands (10.7%) and Switzerland (9.9%) are all ahead of China in terms of market share. The UK (8.1%) and France (7.9%) do not lag too far behind, but Italy (3.4%) and Spain (2.3%) have much ground to make up.

Given the EU proposal from the 14th of July for a complete ban on the sale of non-electric cars by 2035, such disparities need inevitably to disappear over time if market shares are to make the necessary consistent strides to meet the eventual target.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the highly successful launch of the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck, the electric version of the most popular vehicle in the country, has raised expectations that BEVs are about to enter the mainstream of American driving for the first time.

Top findings

  • The BEV market in the European core regions grows by 147% year-on-year in the first half of 2021, with a total of 336,000 units sold
  • PHEV sales increase up by 248% to 350,000 units
  • Germany is the dominant market within Europe, accounting for 44% of all BEV sales in the five European core markets in the first half of the year, and 47% of PHEV sales

Electric Vehicle Sales Data

France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and UK

In the first half of 2021, BEV sales in the top 5 European markets jumped by 147% in a year-on-year comparison, reaching 336,000 units sold. PHEV sales also thrived, up by 248% to 350,000 units. However, when we drill down into the respective countries, a more varied picture emerges.

Helped in part by generous subsidies, Germany is the dominant market, boasting 44% of all BEV sales in the five countries in the first half of the year, and 47% of PHEV sales. BEV market share within Germany has increased dramatically in 12 months, from 3.7% in June 2020 to 10.7% now. The UK, too, has shown a significant rise in BEV market share in the same period, up from 4.7% to 8.1%. France sells a similar number of BEV units as the UK, with a similar market share (7.9%). The combined total of BEV sales in Italy (30,000 units) and Spain (11,000 units), however, accounted for just 12% of the total in the top five markets.

Further European markets (+5)

BEV sales in Austria demonstrated the largest growth among the five other European markets covered, with a rise of 219% relative to the first half of 2020. Sweden and Switzerland (145% and 117% respectively) also registered very sizeable increases. In the Netherlands, however, BEV sales only went up by 17%.

Focus Market: Turkey

Turkey, as a potential future BEV producer, has voiced major ambitions to become a leading BEV market. While the overall sales of BEVs (891 units) and PHEVs (295 units) are still low through June 2021, Hybrids were able to increase their market share to 6.3% – similar to the share of Hybrids in Norway (7.1%).


Almost a million BEVs were sold in China in the first half of 2021, with the market almost quadrupling in size from the Covid-affected first half of last year, and more than doubling in size from a similar period in 2019. Plug-in sales of 212,000 are almost double those recorded in the first half of 2019.


Japan’s EV market continues to rely almost exclusively on the sale of hybrids, sales of which surpassed 500,000 in the first half of 2021. BEV sales remain low (just 8,000 units), with a market share of 0.6%. While it may seem paradox that the inventors of Hybrid vehicles are reluctant to embrace BEVs, it is easily explained by the fact that Japan’s electricity mix relies heavily on CO2-intensive coal and oil firing, making highly-efficient combustion engines still more environmentally friendly.

South Korea

EV penetration remains low in South Korea, although there has been a small increase in BEV market share, from 2.2% June 2019 to 3.5% two years later. A policy to support BEV adoption has been announced.


The United States has recorded a significant increase in BEV and PHEV sales in the first half of 2021, up by 92% and 137% respectively. However, this growth starts from a low base, with market shares now standing at 2.2% for BEVs, and 0.9% for PHEVs.

These market shares have only registered marginal increases in recent years. The BEV market share was 1.3% in June 2019 and 1.5% in June 2020. A much-anticipated big bang has yet to arrive, although there are strong hopes that the commitment to the BEV sector shown to date by the Biden administration may ultimately reap its rewards.

About the „Electric Vehicle Sales Review“ by PwC and Strategy&

PwC Autofacts® and Strategy& have analyzed electric vehicle sales worldwide in the second quarter of 2021.

Contact us

Felix Kuhnert

Felix Kuhnert

Partner, Automotive Leader, PwC Germany

Dr. Jörn Neuhausen

Dr. Jörn Neuhausen

Director, Strategy& Germany