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Top Electric Vehicles In The World — October 2021

Global plugin vehicle registrations were up 70% in October 2021 compared to October 2020, scoring 589,000 units (or 8.8% share of the overall auto market). Add the 600,000-plus units of plugless hybrids registered in October, and we have some 18% of the global overall market having some form of electrification last month, and with the two final months of the year also set to become record months, we should see over 20% share of electrified registrations next December!

Fully electric vehicles (BEVs) represented 79% of plugin registrations in October, well above the year-to-date tally (69%). In total, there were some 416,000 registrations of BEVs, or 6.2% share of the overall auto market.

With the YTD tally now above 4.8 million units (and at a record 7.2% share), and knowing that the last two months of the year are traditionally strong sellers, we should be seeing the plugin vehicle (PEV) market easily surpass 6 million units this year.

For comparison, 2020 ended with 3.1 million units registered. Not bad, considering the current chip shortage, eh?

While disruption is already happening in Europe and China, we should only see consistent disruptive levels on a global scale next year, which will probably get a boost from the US market as it goes into warp speed due to new incentives and the start of the ramp-up of several electric pickup trucks.

Having said that, December could be the first month to break one million units globally, 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 economic recovery, and the chip (and battery) shortage, but whatever happens, expect plugins to continue increasing market share. Many legacy OEMs are now prioritising their plugin offerings over their fossil fuel models, because they need to have a foot in the door in the fast-growing plugin market now in order to assure their survival in a future BEV-based automotive market.

In the model ranking, the little Wuling Mini EV took the monthly Best Seller title, with over 39,000 registrations, followed by the Tesla Model Y (27,846 registrations), which had its best 1st month of the quarter. So, Tesla’s crossover should have a record score in December. Say … over 70,000 registrations?

The bronze medal went to the BYD Qin Plus PHEV, which has once again set a new personal record (17,503 registrations). BYD’s midsize sedan never-ending ramp up continues — which, added to the also seemingly endless ramp up of the BEV version (#7, with 8,405 registrations), has the Qin Plus. When both versions are counted together, they clock in at some 26,000 registrations, which is starting to get close to the 39,000 registration average that the Tesla Model 3 had last quarter. Has the midsize Tesla finally found worthy competition?

Speaking of the Model 3, off the podium, we have Tesla’s midsizer in 4th, followed by the rising Volkswagen ID.4 (14,568 registrations, a new record). Thanks to the ramp up of Volkswagen’s Chinese operations, it is starting to be sold in relevant numbers.

Elsewhere, a mention goes out to several Chinese models hitting record scores — there were 13 Chinese models in October’s top 20, 5 of them with record scores. Besides the aforementioned BYD Qin Plus PHEV and BYD Qin Plus BEV, the #6 BYD Song Pro PHEV, #10 Great Wall Ora Good Cat, and #18 BYD Yuan EV all hit new records.

Interestingly enough, 4 BYD models had record scores, and we are not even counting those outside the top 20. Among those were the BYD Song EV (4,592 units) and the much anticipated BYD Dolphin (6,018), which says a lot about the depth and strength of the Shenzhen automaker lineup.

The closest competitors to both Tesla midsizers are not coming from Volkswagen but from BYD, in the form of the Qin Plus (Model 3) and Song Pro (Model Y).

In the traditional OEM camp, the highlights were the aforementioned Volkswagen ID.4, the #12 Hyundai Ioniq 5 continuing to shine and hitting another record (7,251 units last month), and its Kia cousin — the EV6 — scoring 4,873 registrations in only its third month on the market. The ramp up of both dedicated EVs from Korea is happening fast, with the two representing over 12,000 units in October if counted together.

Will both Koreans reach 5-digit scores soon? Well, it will happen, but how soon? It is still too early to know.

Outside the top 20, a bunch of Chinese EVs hit record scores, like Hozon’s Neta V (5,178 registrations), the SOL E10X (5,322), and the quirky kei-car-like Pocco Duoduo (5,627). We should also mention another made-in-China small EV, the Dacia Spring, which hit a record 5,161 registrations and should reach a top 20 position soon, possibly becoming the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance’s best selling EV. In October, it already outsold the Nissan Leaf (5,087 registrations).

In the YTD table, while the podium remained stable and should stay the same until the end of the year, the #5 BYD Qin PHEV shortened the distance it needs to cover to catch the #4 VW ID.4. But if we were to add the BEV version’s volumes to the BYD sedan, the Qin Plus would actually have 115,085 registrations, which would easily grant it the 4th spot.

We have to go down to #8 to see models climbing in the ranking. The VW ID.3 surpassed the Changan Benni EV, while in the second half of the table, we have the Renault Zoe jumping two positions, to #11, while the small Chery eQ hopped up to #13.

We have a new face in the top 20, with the fast-rising BYD Song PHEV joining the table in #17, making it the 11th Chinese model in the top 20, and expect the BYD SUV to push for a top 10 presence in the final 2021 ranking.

BYD shines in the brand ranking

In October, BYD’s never ending ramp up had another chapter, clocking over 80,000 units. It seems the Shenzhen automaker is adding some 10,000 units to its output every month, so we might see it reach 6 digits by December. For now, the new record was enough to grant it the Best Seller title in October, and volume-wise, BYD’s numbers placed it close to Tesla’s own quarterly average in Q3, 80,433 units/month.

The following positions haven’t brought any surprises, but in #8 we have Kia landing a record score (19,259 registrations). Added to the near-record performance from #9 Hyundai, that made the Korean OEM one of the winners of the month — mostly thanks to the Ioniq 5 and EV6, which provided that extra volume to what are already very consistent lineups. We might have these two aiming for top 5 presences soon.

But the main trend is the rise and rise of the Chinese brands. Adding together the share of the 9 Chinese brands in this top 20, they make up 36% of all plugin vehicles registered last month.

The surprise among them is the #20 Pocco, a little known brand focused on making small EVs which only landed five months ago — and has already debuted in the top 20. Of the current two-model lineup, the little Duoduo four-seater looks particularly interesting, like a quirky kei car out of Japan. The small EV has Wuling Mini–like specs and pricing (14 kWh battery, 100 km/h max speed, ~$5,400 USD), but is served in a (slightly) larger body with 5 doors. With a third model set to land soon, the Lala mini-MPV, Pocco could be another surprise coming from China.

And below the table, there are more Chinese automakers (NIO, Li Xiang, Hozon, Weltmeister, Chery, etc.) that could make a top 20 presence soon, so it should only be a matter of time until this global top 20 list has a majority of Chinese brands.

In the YTD table, there wasn’t much to report in the top positions — #2 BYD distanced itself from #3 SGMW, and … that’s it when comes to the top half of the table.

To see positions changes, we have to go to the second half of the table. There, Peugeot has surpassed Toyota and is the new #13, while GAC was up to #16 and Changan is now #18.

XPeng joined the table in #20, making it the 8th Chinese brand in the ranking. NIO is now fewer than 6,000 units ahead of XPeng, so the race between these two ambitious Chinese startups is one of the few interesting things to follow until the end of the year. By now, the top table positions are already firmly in the hands of their owners.

Note: a BEV-only version of this chart/ranking will be provided at the end of the quarter.

Looking at registrations by OEM, Tesla dropped one share point compared September, but should recover it in the next two months of the quarter, ending the year with 15% share, one point less than in 2020 and 2 points less than in 2019.

The remaining OEMs retained their standings and shares, but expect BYD to pressure SAIC in December — we might still have a surprise in the last place of the podium.

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Written By

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.


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