28 Nov 22

China leads world EV market in sales and charge points

China is leading the race to electrify its road transport, adding 2.9 million new battery electric cars to the national parc in the first nine months of this year, representing almost one-in-five registrations, following government incentives to boost sales.

This volume is more than three times larger than the 716,983 battery electric car sales in the European Union during the first three quarters of 2022, although this total does rise to over 1 million new electric cars if sales in the UK, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland are included. In the US, Cox Automotive estimates that more than 576,000 EVs were sold in the year to September. 

Europe not only has significantly fewer BEV sales than China, but also a lower penetration of electric cars in its registrations, accounting for a 10.6% market share during the first nine months of 2022.

Analysts forecast, however, that Europe’s EV share will increase exponentially over the next few years, with BEVs predicted to account for a 30% market share in Europe by 2025 and 70% by 2030.

EV sales Jan-Sep, 2022
1 Germany 273,101
2 UK 175,614
3 France 140,967
4 Sweden 58,022
5 Netherlands 46,422
6 Belgium 25,855
7 Austria 24,118
8 Spain 21,206
9 Denmark 19,565
10 Ireland 14,500

Net Zero 2050

The International Energy Authority forecasts that 13% of new cars sold in 2023 globally will be electric, and says that if the growth experienced in the past two years is sustained, CO2 emissions from cars can be put on a path in line with the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario. This will depend on the market share of BEV sales rising by about 6% per year until the middle of the century.

Charging infrastructure

This progress does depend on countries installing public charge points to support EV drivers, with the IEA calculating that the Net Zero scenario will require about 18 million public chargers worldwide. Last year, the number of public chargers rose by almost 40%, as an additional 500,000 chargers were installed (more than the total stock of chargers available in 2017).

China dominates the league table of available public chargers, accounting for about 85% of fast chargers and 55% of slow chargers worldwide. Last year it installed 680 000 slow chargers, more than twice as many as Europe (300,000), and seven times more than the United States (92,000). China also leads in the installation of fast chargers, taking its total to 470,000 in 2021, compared to just 50,000 in Europe and 22,000 in the US.

ACEA, which represents vehicle manufacturers in Europe, calculates that the EU will need 6.8 million public charge points by 2030 to reach the continent’s climate goal of reducing CO2 from passenger cars by 55%. At the moment, more than half of the EU’s charge points are in just two countries, Germany and the Netherlands, making pan-European electrification plans difficult for multi-national fleets.

EVs outperform PHEVs

Fleet decision makers can now see a clear trajectory in powertrain technology in Europe, where BEV sales are outstripping registrations of plug-in hybrids. During the first three quarters of 2022, PHEV sales fell by -8.6% compared to 2021, to 586,794 registrations. The PHEV total for the EU, UK, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland was down by an even greater percentage, -11.3%, to 687,887 sales in the same period.

The Volkswagen Group dominates BEV sales in Europe, with figures from JATO revealing that the manufacturing giant sold almost 30,000 pure electric cars in October, followed by the Stellantis Group with 19,000 BEV registrations.

October EV sales in Europe*

1 Volkswagen Group 29,996
2 Stellantis 19,291
3 BMW Group 11,788
4 Renault Group 10,717
5 Hyundai Kia 9,985
6 Volvo/Polestar 9,789
7 Mercedes-Benz 8,843
8 Tesla 5,792
9 Maxus 5,328
10 Nissan 3,283


*Source: JATO

Image: Shutterstock

Authored by: Jonathan Manning