Electric Vehicle Sales Review Q4-2023

Almost one in three vehicles sold in 2023 was electric

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Annual global BEV sales passed the 10 million barrier

The global battery-electric vehicle (BEV) market has reached further symbolic landmarks, as sales continue to flourish in many countries. BEV sales in China exceeded the two million mark in Q4 2023, an unprecedented achievement in that country in any quarter. Meanwhile, annual BEV sales in the United States rose above 1 million for the first time in the year 2023.

Another major milestone has certainly been passed. Total BEV sales in 2023 in all twenty analyzed markets amounted to 9.97 million. Sales in markets not covered in our study will have undoubtedly brought the total to more than 10 million. Annual BEV growth across all analyzed markets was 28%, far in excess of the 5% increase in sales of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

While it seems certain that the global BEV market will continue to perform strongly in 2024, various factors add a dose of caution. For instance, factors like government protectionism, reduced incentives, supply chain challenges due to geopolitical conflict, and uncertainty about future US presidential administrations' commitment to road electrification, could potentially slow down the growth of the BEV market.

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Top findings

  • German automakers are catching up globally, growing twice as fast as the overall market in the BEV sector in China in 2023
  • Used BEVs are currently on average 10% cheaper than combustion engines three years after purchase
  • While even greater price pressure in 2024 is expected, OEMs need to focus on models in the €20,000 to €30,000 range

Electric Vehicle Sales Data

France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and UK

BEV sales in the top 5 European markets grew by 23% during the year 2023, amounting to nearly 1.3 million vehicles sold. This annual sales growth far outstripped the corresponding ICE performance (9%).

Spain recorded the largest BEV sales increase (66%) among these markets. However, both Spain and Italy still have much ground to make up on the larger markets of Germany, the UK and France. Germany's total BEV sales, for example, were more than four times the combined total BEV sales of Spain and Italy. This is surprising considering that Germany has a smaller population than both countries.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) sales decreased by 13% in the top 5 markets over 2023. This development can be explained by a 52% decrease in PHEV sales in Germany, partly because government incentives for PHEV purchases ended in late 2022. By contrast, PHEV sales in the UK and France increased by 39% and 29% respectively during 2023.

Other European markets

The Netherlands and Austria had the highest BEV sales growth in the other European markets in 2023. The Netherlands saw a 59% increase in sales, while Austria experienced a 39% increase. BEV sales in Norway, which at 82% has the highest BEV market share in the world by a considerable margin, declined by 24% but less than the total market decline. BEV market share in Sweden and the Netherlands is also impressive, at 38% and 34% respectively.

USA

BEV sales in the United States comfortably passed the 1 million mark in 2023, growing by 54% over the course of the year. While BEV market share was below 3% in 2021, it has nearly tripled in two years and reached 7% in 2023. The rapid increase can be attributed to government incentives, ambitious goals to reduce vehicle emissions, the frequent release of popular new models, and the improvement of the country's charging infrastructure.

PHEV and hybrid markets also both performed strongly in 2023, with sales growing by 57% and 44% respectively. Hybrid market share is slightly greater than for BEVs, at 8%.

China

In Q4 2023 BEV sales reached another milestone. The space of one quarter recorded more than two million sales for the first time. The performance in the last quarter brought total BEV sales during 2023 to more than 6.6 million, representing a 24% increase from the previous year. With 2.8 million sales in 2023, the PHEV market is significantly smaller. However, its rate of growth was far greater during the year, at 84%. The PHEV market benefits from the purchase tax exemption for new energy vehicles (NEVs), which includes both BEV and PHEV models.

Japan

Japan’s BEV sales increased by 39% during the year 2023. However, this growth is from a very low base, with market share still less than 2%. Even the PHEV market share is slightly larger, at exactly 2%. Hybrid vehicles largely control the EV market, holding a 55% market share in 2023.

South Korea

BEV sales in South Korea stagnated in 2023, increasing by less than 1% after several years of very strong growth. Indeed, the BEV market experienced an impressive growth rate of 132% in 2021.

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

PwC Autofacts® and Strategy& have analyzed electric vehicle sales worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Steven van Arsdale also contributed to this report.