All numbers are not yet reported, but all indications are that worldwide EV (both all electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) sales in 2018 will be over 1,9 million. It is a 70 % growth over 2017. Impressive, but in relation to all 81 million cars sold in the world in 2018 the EVs represent about 2.4 %, which is up from 1.4 % in 2017.
China continues to be the leader with some 850,000 EVs (estimated based on the first 9 months) in 2018. EV sales in the U.S. will exceed 350,000 vehicles. It is an increase with almost 80 %. Europe saw a slower growth than the U.S., about 23 %, but still reached more EVs, an estimated 375,000 (based on the first 11 months).
Norway is the most EV dense nation in the world and seems well underway to reach its target of having all new cars being all electric by 2025. In 2018 of all new vehicles almost 50% were EVs, out of which close to two thirds being all-electric. The results are not by random, but rather thanks to a public policy with strong incentives to purchase EVs. For example, EVs are exempt from the 25 % VAT, pay no toll roads, have access to free charging and free parking.
Looking at car companies and models, the number one EV model by far is Tesla Model 3. Sales reached 120,000, which made it the first and, so far, only EV car model in the world to exceed 100,000. Interestingly, it took Toyota 7 years to exceed 100,000 in annual sales of Prius. Tesla with Model 3 achieved it in 2 years after the introduction (2016) and 6 years after Tesla Model S was first introduced (2012). By all means and measures it is a big achievement by Tesla.
On the contrary GM Bolt, which hit the market a year ahead of Model 3, dropped down to 18,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. 2018, compared to 23,000 vehicles in 2017. It is remarkable, considering Bolt has similar range as Model 3 and cost less.
With Model S, Model X and Model 3 Tesla is the largest EV company in the world, 193,000 vehicles sold in 2018. BYD in China is the second largest company with car 5 models and with estimated sales in 2018 of over 160,000 vehicles. Worth noticing is that BYD is also the largest EV bus builder in the world. BYD is vertically integrated, develops and produces the batteries in-house.
Looking forward it seems reasonable to expect the growth of EV’s to continue, driven by consumer demand, better performance (most all-electric EVs have now a range over 100 miles), automotive companies’ expanded offerings of more EV models and, not least, government incentives.
We can also expect to see all-electric EVs further grow as the preferred choice over plug-in hybrid EVs. Indicative of this trend is the recent GM announcement to exit Volt, their plug-in EV, and focus on the all-electric Bolt.
Nevertheless, there are many questions to be answered in the year to come, among others:
- Will Tesla be able to keep up its momentum?
- Will GM get seriously back in the EV game?
- Will Nissan’s and Renault’s dedication to EVs change with the turmoil around Carlos Ghosn?
- Will the German automakers, Volkswagen and Mercedes, eventually become significant?
- Will BYD strengthen further in China and in addition show up outside China?