Canalys forecasts 1.9 million EVs will be sold in China in 2021, growth of 51 percent and a 9 percent share of all cars sold in China.
A record 1.3 million electric vehicles (EVs) were sold in China in 2020, research from Canalys shows. But year-on-year growth was modest at only 8 percent. In comparison, worldwide sales of EVs rocketed by 39 percent in 2020, the Canalys report said.
China is still the world’s largest car market. 30 percent of global car sales were in China in 2020, up from 27 percent in 2019. The Chinese car market will return to sales growth in 2021. EVs include battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Passenger cars exclude light commercial vehicles.
The Chinese EV market in 2020 was all about two vehicles: the made-in-China Tesla Model 3, the market leader in the first half of 2020, and the Hongguang Mini EV from the SGMW joint venture (SAIC, General Motors and Wuling), the market leader in the second half of 2020, which only launched mid-year.
Chris Jones, chief analyst for automotive at Canalys, said: “If it had not been for the huge success of these two very different EVs, the Chinese EV market would have declined in 2020. Between them, the two models represented one in five of all EVs sold in China.”
The 1.3 million EVs sold in China in 2020 represented 41 percent of global EV sales, just behind Europe with 42 percent of global EV sales. China is still far ahead of the US for EV share – in the US, EV sales represented just 2.4 percent of sales in 2020.
China has an excellent network of standardized public EV chargers, good government support and now a return to strong consumer demand.
Tesla has already started deliveries of the made-in-China Model Y. Tesla has increased the production of the Hongguang Mini EV to keep up with demand.
Other small, more affordable city cars, such as the Baojun E-Series from SGMW and the Ora R1 from Great Wall Motors (GWM), are also proving very popular.
The Ora R1, touted as the world’s cheapest EV, will also soon go on sale in India, where the EV share was less than 0.5 percent of all cars sold in 2020.
“With a share of just 6.3 percent of all passenger cars sold in China in 2020, EVs have many years of growth ahead,” said Sandy Fitzpatrick, VP at Canalys. “With Tesla expanding its portfolio in China, it will be hard for competitors offering premium EVs to gain market share.”