Electric Vehicle Sales Review 
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Electric Vehicle Sales Review 

Global BEV sales double in 2021

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.

France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and UK
In the fourth quarter of 2021, BEV sales in the top 5 European markets grew by 25% from the corresponding period in 2020. Growth was highest in the UK (58%) and France (37%). Over 2021 as a whole, the highest increases were recorded in Italy (107% – albeit from a comparatively low base), Germany (83%) and the UK (76%). As these figures demonstrate, growth dropped off  to a certain degree in the final quarter, although it remained impressive.

An analysis of the trajectory of respective market shares reveals the rapid decline of the internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle in these countries. In 2019, ICE market share for the European top 5 was 92%. By 2021, it had fallen to 60%. In the UK, it has decreased from 91% to 55% in the same period, and in Germany from 92% to 58%. It seems inevitable that ICE vehicles will constitute a minority of the market in both these countries during 2022.

Further European markets (+5)
Among the other European markets, Sweden had the highest growth in BEV sales in Q4 2021 vs. Q4 2020, increasing by 74%. Austria boasted the highest growth rate for the whole of 2021, at 109%. In Norway, the ICE market share was just 8% in 2021, by a substantial margin, the lowest in the world. In Sweden and the Netherlands, the ICE market share was overtaken for the first time in 2021, standing at 49% and 47% respectively.

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 (2,846 units) and PHEVs (871 units) in 2021 are rather sluggish compared with the biggest European markets, total EVs were able to increase their market share to 7.1% in 2021. EV sales also grew 135% YoY vs. 2020.