Electric Vehicle Sales Review Q1-2023

From 2024, every third commercially registered car could be an electric vehicle

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End of subsidies in China slows global BEV growth

Although BEV sales in all 19 analyzed markets increased by 24% in the first quarter of 2023, in comparison with the corresponding quarter last year, the growth fell some way short of the stellar figures from recent years. This is mainly due to the sharp reduction in BEV sales growth in China during this period. Given the overwhelming dominance of the Chinese market, which accounted for 62% of BEV sales in all analyzed markets combined, any slackening of growth in that country has an inevitable impact on global figures.

BEV sales in China grew by 15% in Q1 2023 vs. Q1 2022, still an impressive performance when one considers that total sales of all powertrains in that country actually went down by 7% over the same period. However, BEV sales growth nevertheless fell some way below that recorded in previous quarters. Many Chinese consumers had rushed to buy BEVs before the termination of the government subsidy at the end of 2022, and there was bound to be some slowdown of demand immediately following this change.

Of the high-volume markets, the United States recorded the highest BEV sales increase (64%), continuing its rapid growth over the last couple of years. There were almost one quarter of a million BEV sales in the US in the first quarter, overtaking full-hybrid sales for the second time ever. A major BEV growth area in the future will undoubtedly be the fleet market. However, to maximize this opportunity, OEMs will need to produce more electric equivalents of popular fleet models.

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Top findings

  • Commercial fleets are a major lever for the expansion of electromobility in Germany
  • However, limited availability of attractive e-cars in relevant segments continues to act as a brake on growth
  • More than 1 million BEVs on the road in Germany for the first time
  • In light of increasing protectionist tendencies and Chinese supremacy, German automakers must catch up, especially in the volume market

Electric Vehicle Sales Data

France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and UK

BEV sales in the top five European markets grew by 26% in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the corresponding period in 2022. Significant growth in the French BEV market contributed greatly to this overall increase, going up by 49% vs. Q1 2022. Growth in the other dominant markets in the top 5, Germany and the UK, slowed to 13% and 19% respectively. The stalling of German growth can be attributed to a reduction in incentives at the end of 2022.

Meanwhile, PHEV sales in the top five markets declined by 9% vs. Q1 2022. This overall reduction can be put down to a 45% fall in Germany, following a total elimination of PHEV incentives at the end of 2022.

Other European markets (+5)

BEV sales in Norway declined by 10% in Q1 2023 vs. Q1 2022, but nevertheless still represented a market share of 84.5%, by far the highest in the world. The largest BEV sales growth in the other European markets was seen in the Netherlands and Austria, with increases of 104% and 57% respectively. PHEV sales declined in Norway and Sweden in comparison with Q1 2022.

China

China’s BEV sales increased by 15% in the first quarter of 2023 when compared with the corresponding quarter last year. Given that total sales of all powertrains actually went down by 7% over the same period, this level of growth can still be regarded as significant. Nevertheless, BEV growth was substantially down on that recorded in recent years. This is due to the termination of subsidies from the Chinese government at the end of 2022.

Japan

Japan’s EV market is almost completely dominated by the sale of hybrids, which boasted an overall market share of 53.6% in Q1 2023. BEV sales grew by 48% from Q1 2022, albeit from a very low base. The BEV market share stands at 1.6%.

South Korea

BEV sales in South Korea increased by 34% in Q1 2023 from the equivalent period in 2022. The BEV market share for the quarter was 8.4%.

USA

The US BEV market grew by 64% in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the equivalent quarter in 2022. BEV sales continue to be spurred by government incentives, an ever-expanding range of new models and the continuing development of the charging infrastructure. Now standing at 6.9%, the BEV market share has increased more than threefold in less than two years, but there is clearly still much more room for further growth.

For the second time and two quarters in a row, BEV sales outstripped hybrid sales in Q1 2023. With the growth in PHEV sales also slowing dramatically over the last couple of years, BEVs are set to become completely dominant within the EV market.

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

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

Steven van Arsdale also contributed to this report.

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Ozan Cığızoğlu

Ozan Cığızoğlu

Territory Leader, Strategy& Turkey