Global plugin vehicle registrations were up an impressive 153% last month compared to June 2020, scoring a record 583,000 units (or 8.7% share of the overall auto market). Add this record performance to the 700,000-plus hybrids and mild hybrids registered last month (their second best month ever) and we get over 1.3 million registrations in June with some some form of electrification … which is roughly 20% of the total market! Fully electric vehicles (BEVs) continue to outperform PHEVs (+154% YoY vs. +151%), with pure electrics representing 70% of plugin registrations. In total, there were some 407,000 registrations of BEVs, or 6.1% share of the overall auto market.
With the YTD tally now above 2.5 million units (and 6.3% share), and knowing that the second half of the year is traditionally stronger, we should be seeing the plugin vehicle (PEV) market easily surpass not just 5 million but 6 million units this year!
Still, while disruption is already happening in Europe and China, we should only see disruptive levels on a global scale next year, which should get a boost if the US market goes into warp speed due to the electric pickup truck wars.
Having said that, December should be the first month with double digits on a global level, as all 3 major markets (China, Europe, and USA) are expected to have record months.
The future will depend much on the development of the COVID pandemic, the following economic recovery, and how fast the chip shortage is solved, but whatever happens, expect plugins to continue increasing market share.
Although there weren’t surprises in the podium positions, with June replicating the YTD positions, there are some interesting things to comment on regarding the podium bearers. With the #3 Tesla Model Y still expanding, with a record 36,727 registrations last month and with the crossover yet to land in places like Europe and Australia, expect it to continue beating records throughout the year. It is probably going after the silver medal on the way.
The top two vehicles, however, look to have entered a different stage of their lives. Both the leader, Model 3, and runner-up, Wuling Mini EV, seem to have found their demand limits, with the sedan stabilizing at around 120,000 units per quarter (127,000 in Q4 2020; 127,000 in Q1 2021; 117,000 in Q2 2021) and the tiny city car hovering around 90,000 per quarter (87,000; 97,000; 86,000).
Still, these results will allow the Tesla to end the year at some 500,000. Although that should’t be enough to reach the category best sellers — the Toyota Camry had 711,000 registrations in 2019, while the Honda Accord and Volkswagen Passat ended at around 600,000 in the same period — it will be enough to beat the premium competition, as both the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class usually end the year at around 400,000–450,000 units per year.
The current Wuling Mini EV’s pace is also good news for the SAIC–GM joint venture, as current volumes allow the tiny EV to break even. So, SAIC is now at a point where it can contemplate exporting the Wuling EV without losing money. That could be interesting.
The not so big surprise just off the podium is the Volkswagen ID.4 ending June in 4th, with a record 12,262 units delivered. US deliveries are now adding to Europe’s large volumes, and China deliveries are finally starting to ramp up. So, expect the German crossover to continue expanding its sales in the coming months, allowing it to reach 4th position in the yearly table next month.
In the YTD table, the climber of the month was the Renault Zoe, which jumped 4 places to #7. It seems the French EV is back on track and could climb to #6 during the 3rd quarter.
But there were more changes to the table as well, like the Volkswagen ID.3 climbing to #9, surpassing the veteran Nissan Leaf on the way. The German EV finally recovered the compact category leadership position from the old-timer Leaf.
In the second half of the table, a reference goes out to the record scores of the Li Xiang One, which had 7,713 registrations, and the Kia Niro EV, with 6,162. Those scores allowed the models to jump into #11 and #14, respectively. The result of the large SUV is particularly impressive, and it is now unquestionably the leader in the PHEV category. This could even allow it to go after the BYD Han EV, the current leader in the full size category, and compete for the segment crown.
The importance of the leadership position of the most expensive end of the market being disputed by two Chinese models shouldn’t be dismissed. While once upon a time the Chinese automotive industry was derided for just building cheap knockoffs, the story is very different now, as it has competitive models in every segment. Hell, even in pickup trucks! JAC has already exported some 200 units this year of its T8 EV model to markets like India, Nepal, and a number of Latin American countries, and while most of those EV markets are still in their infancy, once they hit the fast lane, the Chinese brands will already be familiar faces.
Wrapping up the top 20, two models have just joined the table thanks to record performances. The Toyota RAV4 PHEV debuted in #18, while the Ford Escape/Kuga twins are now in #20.
Manufacturers: BYD Closer to the Podium
In a record month, best scores were plenty, starting with leader Tesla. Tesla finally passed up BYD’s record of 24 months in the leadership position. The Chinese brand, meanwhile, currently has #3 Volkswagen driving menacingly in its rearview mirror.
Audi is another maker celebrating a record month, in no small part thanks to the strong start of the compact Q4 e-tron. However, it was in the lower part of the table where records were really the norm, with 6 record performances. Those record performances came from #11 Kia, #13 Toyota (its 2nd record month in a row, seemingly indicating the Japanese automaker is in ramp-up mode), #14 Hyundai (the Ioniq 5’s energy is starting to make itself felt), #16 Ford (its 3rd record month in a row), #18 NIO, and #19 Skoda (its 2nd record month in a row, with the popular Enyaq’s effect now in full swing).
All these extraordinary performances were the driving force for a few position changes, like Hyundai climbing to #14, Skoda going up to #19, and a new entrant in #20, with Changan now filling the last place in the table.
Looking at registrations by OEM, Tesla has gained 1 percentage point of market share, thanks to its end-of-quarter peak, but that means it’s still 4 percentage points below its market share in June 2020 (19% then, 15% now). Meanwhile, Volkswagen Group is standing firm at 13%, the same share it had a year ago, and even outsold Tesla in Q2, by 10,000 units, despite the slow ramp-up of the ID.4 in China.
Despite this surprising result, I do not see the German conglomerate beating Tesla this year, as the disadvantage is still significant. In 2022, however, anything can happen, and will depend a lot on how successfully both OEMs execute their production ramp-up plans.
SAIC lost 1 percentage point market share last month, ending Q2 with 11%, but its 3rd spot still feels like a win — after all, a year ago, SAIC was nowhere near the top 5. …
BMW Group and Stellantis are currently running neck and neck for 4th position, but #6 BYD is just 2,000 units behind and rising fast, so it should surpass those two fairly soon. That leaves the following question: Who will switch positions with BYD and be kicked out of the top 5? (Answer: BMW Group. While the German auto group is growing fast, +124% YoY, Stellantis is growing even faster, +228% YoY.)
If we exclude PHEVs and focus solely on BEVs, the Tesla share increases, naturally. It is sitting at 23% share (whereas it had 28% share a year ago). SAIC becomes the runner-up (14%, down 3 points compared to Q1), while Volkswagen Group drops to 3rd, with 11% share, up 1 point YoY and up 3 points compared to the first quarter of this year.
Off the podium, BYD replaces BMW in the 4th position, while Stellantis keeps its 5th spot.
So, in short, changing from PHEV+BEV to just BEV doesn’t significantly change the overall trends (Tesla and SAIC losing share, Volkswagen Group and Stellantis holding on, BYD on the rise), with the exception being that PHEV-dependent BMW gets erased from the map.
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