Electric car sales to hit new record with 7m units projected for 2021

Electric vehicle (EV) sales are projected to surpass 7 million cars globally in 2021, more than doubling 2020 sales of 3.2 million, according to estimates by Rystad Energy, an energy sector intelligence firm based in Oslo.

The firm estimates that EVs, including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV), will account for around one in every 10 new cars purchased, with a global market share of 10.3 percent, up from 5.3 percent in 2020.

This market share will be a new global record, marking the first time EV sales have accounted for a double-digit share of total vehicle sales, which are projected to be around 69 million in 2021.
Rystad Energy anticipates a high adoption scenario of 72 percent EV share globally by 2030 and close to 100 percent by 2040, consistent with a 1.6 degree Celsius global warming scenario. Of the 7 million EV sales in 2021, 68 percent is expected to be BEV sales, with the remaining 32 percent from PHEVs.

Sales of EVs continued their upward trajectory in September, with nearly 700,000 units sold. The top 10 countries in terms of EV sales accounted for a dominant 83 percent of global volumes.
September marked the second consecutive month in which the market share of EVs among vehicle sales crossed 10 percent, With this, total EV sales have reached around 4.72 million vehicles through the first three quarters of 2021, the company said.

It attributes the rapid rate of EV sales growth worldwide largely due to widespread adoption in China. More than 340,000 new EVs were sold in China in September 2021 alone, accounting for around half of global sales. The EV market share in China reached 19.5 percent in September. Last year, authorities in Beijing announced an action plan targeting a 40 percent EV share of all vehicle sales, doubling an earlier announced target of 20 percent by 2025.

“This year’s fourth quarter is set to see a huge increase in the number of EVs sold, mirroring trends from 2019 and 2020, as electric car makers like Tesla traditionally tend to push out maximum deliveries at the end of the year. In addition, buyers are expected to try to take advantage of government incentives before they start being phased out as a result of strong market adoption of EVs,” said Abhishek Murali, energy transition analyst with Rystad Energy.

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How other countries stack up
Although China is driving the global numbers, several other countries are seeing high EV adoption rates. Norway, for example, continued to push towards its 100percent zero-emission vehicle target, with the EV market share crossing 90percent of all vehicles sold during September. In addition, while Tesla remains the highest-selling manufacturer, Chinese automotive companies are moving boldly into the market, with Xiaopeng launching its P7 model and NIO launching its ES8 model.

Germany sold the most EVs in Europe in September, registering 56,000 sales. EVs also accounted for 30percentof the German market share, while the percentage of petrol-powered vehicle sales remained flat at 38percent.

France took the number two spot in Europe, with close to 29,000 EVs sold as the country moves closer to achieving its 2022 target of 1 million total EV sales. The French government delayed its plan to reduce subsidies on BEVs and PHEVs from January next year, extending them by six months to July 2022.

Sweden is another country that registered a strong increase in the number of EV sales during September, hitting 12,264 units. The Scandinavian nation saw the EV market share cross 50percent for the first time, as BEVs and PHEVs outsold petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.

The UK, which has suffered a petrol shortage in recent months, saw growth in the EV market share, touching 22percent of vehicle sales. Ahead of its move to ban non-electric/non-hybrid vehicles in 2030, the government also announced a requirement for local automakers to sell an increasing percentage of zero-emission vehicles every year.

The US, too, saw consistent growth in EV sales in September, capturing a market share of 4.4percentof new vehicles. In addition, President Joe Biden announced the Build Back Better framework to provide savings in energy costs. Under this framework, the electric vehicle tax credit will lower the cost of locally produced EVs by $12,500 for middle-class families.

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