Global EV sales up 109% in 2021 - 6.5 million EVs were sold

A row of electric cars charging at a charging station
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Sopotnicki)

Around 6.5 million electric vehicles (EVs) were sold worldwide in 2021, up 109% on 2020, and it accounted for 9% of all passenger car sales. The total global car market, on the other hand, grew just 4% in 2021 as it was beset by the pandemic and the global chip shortage.

Market analysis firm Canalys said that bulk of the demand for EV stemmed from mainland China. Over 3.2 million EVs were sold in mainland China in 2021 – close to half of all EVs sold worldwide, and 2 million more than what was sold in the country in 2020. 

Demand for EVs continues to be strong in Europe. In fact, in many European countries EVs represented more than a quarter of new cars sold. Sales of EVs in the US continue to lag those in mainland China and Europe. Just 4% of new cars sold in the US in 2021 were EVs.

Tesla, the world leader

Tesla was the worldwide leader in the EV market with 14% share. Sales of its Model Y started in the major markets in 2021 and quickly overtook those of the Model 3 in mainland China and the US. Tesla’s vehicle production is well established in mainland China and will commence in Europe in the first half 2022 as it focuses on delivering existing models rather than launching new ones in 2022, the Canalys report said.

Volkswagen, which was second with a 12% market share, doubled its EV sales in 2021 and led the market in Europe. Nearly 60% of the Group’s EV sales were from the VW brand, with good support from Audi, Cupra, Porsche, Seat and Skoda, thus giving it a presence in a range of EV segments.

SAIC, which includes SGMW, the combination of SAIC, GM and  Wuling,  came  third  with  an 11% share. The big success within the group is still the Wuling Hongguang  Mini  EV  in mainland China, where it is the runaway leader. 

Global EVs sales

(Image credit: Canalys)

BYD came fourth with a share of 9% and a particularly strong second half of the year. Stellantis was fifth with a 6% market share. Stellantis will produce four new EV platforms to use across vehicles from the 14 brands in the group.

BMW Group held a 5% share in 2021, growing its electrified vehicle sales by 70%, but lost ground to its faster-growing competitors. The Mini Cooper SE was the second best-selling EV, ahead of the aging BMW i3.

Hyundai Motor Group held a 5% share of the EV market. Hyundai and Kia performed well with their “twin” models. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 launched in mid-2021, while the Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro sold well in 2021. 

The report said that though the demand for EVs was strong in 2021, many more would have been sold had it not been for the chronic component shortages.

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Balakumar K
Senior Editor

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.