China is getting back on track as the global electric vehicle powerhouse
The global transition towards electric vehicles continues to gather momentum. The largest European markets are playing a significant role in this transition. Meanwhile China has resumed its position as global volume leader, and the US market is starting to show real promise.
Although absolute sales of BEVs and PHEVs actually fell in Europe in the first quarter of 2021 from the record highs of the previous quarter, this can be attributed to registrations of vehicles that were brought forward to meet sales and CO2 targets at the end of a dismal 2020 for the auto industry. Taking a longer perspective, we cannot fail to observe an accelerating trend in EV sales which confirms that actual market developments are vindicating forecasts of major disruption in the auto industry. Germany in particular, and France and the UK to a lesser degree, are largely driving these positive developments in Europe. For example, the pure BEV market share in Germany has increased from 1.7% to 9.9% in just two years.
The United States market is also readying for a second stage of growth, boosted by federal, state and city incentives and significant investment in public charging infrastructure promised by the new administration. In Q1 2021, sales of BEVs and PHEVs increased by 63% and 60% respectively relative to 2020.
China continues to be the largest BEV market in terms of sales volume, comprising more than 60% of global sales in the first quarter. On top of that, the BEV market share has regained the global lead from Europe, up from 3.5% to 8.5% in the two years from 2019 to 2021.
PwC Autofacts® and Strategy& have analyzed electric vehicle sales worldwide in the first quarter of 2021.