Tesla Model 3 & Model Y = #1 and #2 in Global EV Sales in May

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Global plugin vehicle registrations were up an impressive 199% last month compared to May 2020, to some 442,000 units (or 6.6% share of the overall auto market). That was the industry’s 3rd best month ever. Fully electric vehicles (BEVs) jumped 190%, to some 295,000 registrations (or 4.4% share). We should be seeing the plugin vehicle (PEV) market easily surpass 5 million units this year.

These impressive results in May pulled the 2021 PEV share slightly up, to 5.8% (3.8% BEV), which is already significantly above the 4% of last year. Expect the market share to continue growing throughout the year, to a large single-digit number, as disruption (i.e., two-digit market share) on a global level is set to happen in the last months of this year, or in 2022 at the latest.

The future will depend much on the development of the COVID pandemic and on the following economic recovery, but whatever happens, expect plugins to continue increasing in market share.

There is a new face in May’s top 5, with the small Changan Benni EV debuting in 5th, thanks to a record 8,371 registrations, just 158 units below the #4 Volkswagen ID.4. On top of the table, we have a 1-2 win for Tesla, with the Model 3 beating its younger sibling, the Model Y, by just 1,500 registrations. Expect the sports SUV to win its first monthly best seller trophy soon, as the record 29,378 registrations in a non-peak month mean that the higher riding Tesla is still in full expansion.

Below the top 5, a mention goes out for two recovering models. The Volkswagen ID.3 and Renault Zoe, #6 and #7 in May, are preparing themselves for a stronger second half of the year.

On the YTD table, the big news is the Volkswagen ID.4’s seven-position jump, into 5th. Expect the German model to reach the 4th spot in the coming months (August? September?).

But there were more changes to the table, like the Hyundai Kona EV climbing one spot, to #7,  while the Volkswagen ID.3 was up to #10. That makes it two Volkswagens in the top 10. Additionally, the Renault Zoe jumped 5 spots, to #11.

The Changan Benni EV joined the table in #12, thus making it 16 BEVs in the top 20. The Chinese model will probably jump a few more positions in the coming months. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the table, the recent uptick of the US market is visible, with the Chevrolet Bolt climbing one position, to #19. Also, the Toyota Prius PHEV (hey, remember me?), returned to the table, in #20, thanks to 5,850 registrations, its best score since June 2017!

Outside the top 20, two models poised to reach a top 20 position soon are the Skoda Enyaq and BYD Qin Plus PHEV, with both models still in ramp-up mode.

Manufacturers: BYD climbs to #4

In May, Tesla took the monthly trophy, it’s 4th in a row. BYD took the runner-up spot in May, thanks to 31,736 registrations, its second best score ever, only behind the 33,000 units of June 2019.

This allowed the Chinese brand to surpass BMW in the YTD table and become the new 4th placed manufacturer. It is also the only brand in the top 5 that hasn’t lost share in the current EV-multiplying process (SGMW doesn’t count, as the Wuling Mini EV wasn’t yet on the market a year ago).

As such, Tesla lost 4% of its market share compared to May 2020 (18% then, 14% now), Volkswagen lost 1% share (7% vs 6%), and BMW lost 2% (7% vs 5%).

But then, if these automakers are losing share, who is winning? Besides the special case of SGMW, because of the Wuling Mini EV, the only two other brands earning share are #6 Mercedes, winning 2% share year over year (look out, BMW…), and #17 NIO, which earned 1% share compared to the same period last year.

And do not forget that automakers outside the top 20, which now represent 23% of the total market. A year ago, they had only 19%.

(By the way, the same phenomenon is happening in the model table, as models below the top 20 now represent 58% of the total, against 50% a year ago)

In the lower half of the table, Kia, Renault, and Toyota all climbed one spot, thanks to an off month from Great Wall, with the Japanese maker scoring a record 11,714 registrations. So, the news about Toyota being doomed is now starting to look greatly exaggerated, and we could even see it reach the top 10 sometime in the future.

There are other automakers on rise, like Hyundai, now #15, and Ford, that thanks to a record 10,155 registrations, overwhelmingly thanks to its Mustang Mach-E and Kuga/Escape PHEV dynamic duo, allowed the Dearborn automaker to climb one spot, to #16.

A reference also goes out to #18 GAC, which had its best score (8,470 registrations) since December 2019. Also, we have the return of Skoda to the table, in #20, thanks to a record 9,301 registrations, which allowed it to surpass Nissan and kick the Japanese automaker out of the top 20. (Yes, Nissan is out of the top 20. So much for early EV leadership.)

Outside the top 20, Changan is now #21 and should join the table soon, while Xpeng and Porsche are also getting closer to the table.

By OEM, Tesla (14%) is ahead, but it is now followed by Volkswagen Group (13%), which has surpassed SAIC last month (12%, down 1 point).

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José Pontes

Always interested in the auto industry, particularly in electric cars, Jose has been overviewed the sales evolution of plug-ins on the EV Sales blog, allowing him to gain an expert view on where EVs are right now and where they are headed in the future. The EV Sales blog has become a go-to source for people interested in electric car sales around the world. Extending that work and expertise, Jose is also market analyst on EV-Volumes and works with the European Alternative Fuels Observatory on EV sales matters.

José Pontes has 466 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes