In comparison with the previous year, sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) increased by 121% in all markets analyzed in 2021. China led the way with sales of almost three million BEVs in the calendar year, up by 172% from 2020, as buyers in that country sought to take advantage of incentives before their planned reduction.
Sales in major European markets also showed substantial growth during the year. New BEV registrations went up by 83% in Germany in 2021, and 76% in the UK. Meanwhile, the United States BEV market, hitherto a sleeping giant, is showing promising signs of growth. Buoyed by certain popular models, BEV sales increased by 62% from the previous year.
Although strong growth was recorded in the final quarter of 2021, it was not quite as stellar as the rest of the year had been. For example, BEV sales in the EU top 5 markets were up 34% in Q4 2021 in comparison with the equivalent quarter in the previous year, but the year-on-year increase for the whole of 2021 was 72%. This comparative slowdown can be attributed to the global shortage of semiconductor chips, and to renewed concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic which deterred customers from showrooms.
Financially stretched after major expenditure during the pandemic, government measures to reduce incentives are inevitable. The impact of this change on the pace of electric vehicle sales growth in 2022 and beyond remains to be seen.
PwC Autofacts® and Strategy& have analyzed electric vehicle sales worldwide for the full year of 2021.