Global EV Sales Surge, Spearheaded by Tesla & BYD

Global EV sales surge by almost 14m, dominated by China, Europe, and the United States, spearheaded by Tesla & BYD

In 2023, the global electric car market witnessed a remarkable surge, with almost 14 million new electric cars hitting the roads, propelling the total count to 40 million. This figure marks a significant increase of 3.5 million from the previous year, reflecting a staggering 35% year-on-year growth. Notably, this total is more than six times higher than the count recorded five years earlier in 2018.

The pace of adoption is striking. Weekly new registrations surpassed 250,000 in 2023, exceeding the annual tally a decade prior in 2013. Electric cars captured approximately 18% of all car sales in 2023, a notable rise from 14% in 2022 and a mere 2% in 2018. Such trends underscore the robust growth of electric car markets as they mature, with battery electric cars constituting 70% of the electric car stock in 2023.

Despite the global surge, electric car sales remain concentrated in select major markets. China led the charge, accounting for nearly 60% of new electric car registrations, followed by Europe at just under 25% and the United States at 10%. The regions combined represented close to 95% of global electric car sales. Electric cars command a significant share of new car registrations in these critical markets, indicating a shift towards electrification.

The performance is a testament to the resilience the automotive industry has consistently shown in recent times, despite a complex backdrop characterised by an evolving regulatory environment, changing consumer preferences, supply chain disruptions and an acceleration of net zero targets.

However, adoption rates remain subdued beyond these major markets, even in countries with well-established automotive sectors like Japan and India. Consequently, the global electric car stock concentrates increasingly in regions experiencing rapid adoption. Notably, China, Europe, and the United States collectively represent around two-thirds of total car sales and stocks, highlighting the pivotal role of these markets in shaping global trends.

2023 top EV vehicle sellers

The dominance of electric vehicles is exemplified by the top-selling models in 2023, with the Tesla Model Y leading the pack, followed by offerings from BYD and Tesla. In China, the epicentre of electric car growth, new registrations surged to 8.1 million, driving the overall market amidst a contraction in conventional car sales. Notably, 2023 marked the first year of China's New Energy Vehicle industry operating without national subsidies, indicating a maturing market bolstered by tax exemptions and non-financial support.

In the United States, new electric car registrations surpassed 1.4 million in 2023, buoyed by revised qualifications for tax credits and price cuts. Despite concerns over tighter regulations, the market remained resilient, with leasing models enabling broader access to incentives. Similarly, Europe experienced robust growth, with nearly 3.2 million new electric car registrations, although the phase-out of subsidies in some countries tempered overall sales growth.

In summary, the surge in electric car registrations signifies a monumental shift in the automotive landscape, driven by maturing markets, supportive policies, and advancing technology. As electric vehicles become increasingly mainstream, their impact reverberates globally, reshaping the future of transportation.

David Borland, EY UK & Ireland Automotive Leader, comments on the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) new car registration figures for April 2024.

Perspective from EY

"April is traditionally a quieter month for new car registrations due to the number plate change in March, but last month still delivered 134,274 new car registrations. It marks a modest 1% year-on-year increase and, more significantly, the 21st successive month of growth for the UK auto industry." Said David Borland, EY UK & Ireland Automotive Leader, on the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) new car registration figures for April 2024.

"Despite the usual lull following the March plate change, April maintained its momentum in the automotive industry with a 1% year-on-year increase, totalling 134,274 new car registrations. It marks the 21st consecutive month of growth for the UK auto sector. David Borland, EY UK & Ireland Automotive Leader, shares insights on the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) for April 2024."

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