Top 20 Electric Cars In The World — March 2022 (Charts)

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Global plugin vehicle registrations were up 60% in March 2022 compared to March 2021. There were 851,000 registrations, the second best month ever, representing 15% share of the overall auto market (11% BEV share), which means that the global automotive market is entering the Electric Disruption Zone.

Add the 832,000 units of plugless hybrids registered in March and we have close to 30% of the overall global market having some form of electrification last month.

In another note on plugless hybrids, last month’s growth rate was just 1%, the worst since the drops in the Covid-19 lockdown months of April and May 2020. That could mean that this year could be the Peak HEV year, with 2023 being the start of downhill sales for this kind of powertrain. We’ll see.

(Toyota, take notice….)

Peak HEV is just one of the weird events that happens once EV disruption hits the automotive market. It is not only about fuel share, like diesel sales falling off a cliff in Europe. It is also about OEM standings, like the rise of Chinese OEMs in their home market, Volkswagen Group losing its grip on Europe, and the future inclusion of Tesla among what is currently the US Big 4 (the others being Toyota, GM, Stellantis, and Ford).

In March, BEVs (+81% YoY) were growing faster than PHEVs (+19%), with the second powertrain suffering from sales drops in Europe. Year to date, the plugin share rose to 11% (8.2% BEV).

Fully electric vehicles (BEVs) represented 75% of plugin registrations in March, raising the year-to-date tally to 72%.

Gold & Silver Win for Tesla

Looking at the monthly best seller table, the Model Y once again won the title, its 3rd in a row. This is the first time the crossover beat its sedan sibling during a whole quarter.

This is the result of two trends. First, Model Y deliveries continued to surge, having reached 92,221 units in March, a new all-time record for an EV. Secondly, the Model 3’s sales have been flattening, proven by the fact that the midsizer’s deliveries in the first quarter of 2022 were up by only one percent compared to the same period last year.

The Wuling Mini EV got the third spot on the podium, followed by two BYD models. The #4 Song PHEV scored a record 22,383 registrations (or 26,741 if we add in the BEV version).

There were three other record performers in the top half of the table. The #6 Chery QQ Ice Cream Wuling Mini EV clone scored 11,687 registrations — in only its 5th month on the market! (We might see another city EV running competing for a podium position soon.) In #9 we have the Hyundai Ioniq 5, scoring its first 5-digit result, 10,848 registrations. The Korean model ended just 9 units behind the #8 Volkswagen ID.4. We might soon see the Hyundai EV become the best selling model from a legacy OEM. Which raises the question: With the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and its cousin Kia EV6 being the only models in the top 20 that are not sold in China, when will we see them launched there?

As for Changan’s Benni EV, the Chinese automaker’s strong momentum is spreading to its EV lineup, especially its star player, the small Benni EV. The Toyota Yaris-like model got 10,728 registrations in March.

The second half of the table saw the BYD Yuan Plus join the table in only its 3rd month, with 10,027 registrations. To have a better idea of how steep this ramp-up is, its sibling BYD Dolphin had only delivered 6,000 units in its 3rd month on the market. I wouldn’t be surprised if the compact crossover was at 20,000+ units per month in a few months.

In the second best month ever for the global plugin vehicle market, record scores were plentiful, with 9 out of the top 20 best sellers having record scores. Besides the models previously mentioned, we should also highlight the #14 GAC Aion Y reaching 9,501 registrations, with the compact MPV (all right! MPVs rule!!!) becoming the new star player in the GAC lineup.

The #15 XPeng P7 also scored a record month, with 9,195 registrations. The startup model is looking to reach the full size leaders, the #7 Li Xiang One and #12 BYD Han EV, and it is interesting to see that the three best sellers in the full size category (or four, if we add the #16 BYD Tang PHEV) come from China. … German OEMs, please take notice.

Speaking of Chinese startups, the #20 Hozon Neta V had a record 8,122 registrations. The third legacy OEM model in the table, the Kia EV6, joined the top 20 in #17, making it the second E-GMP model in the top 20. Will Hyundai be able to pull the upcoming Ioniq 6 into the best sellers table too?

In the year-to-date (YTD) table, the Tesla Model 3 climbed to second, but the 6.4% share that the sedan has now pales in comparison to the 11% that the Model 3 had a year ago, proving that Tesla’s growth is now on the shoulders of the Model Y.

Looking below, the #9 VW ID.4 and #10 Chery QQ Ice Cream climbed one position, but the German crossover needs to watch the Hyundai Ioniq 5, which jumped two positions, to #12, as the Korean retro-futuristic hatchback is just 3,000 units behind and could become the best selling legacy OEM model soon.

In the lower half of the table, we have two fresh faces joining the top 20, with the #18 GAC Aion Y replacing its Aion S sibling among the best sellers, and the Kia EV6 becoming the second Hyundai–Kia model in the table, something only Tesla and BYD can be proud of.

A rising star should join the top 20 soon, with the BYD Yuan Plus now some 1,500 units below the #20 Kia EV6. Expect the compact crossover to become the 7th(!) BYD model in the top 20.

Tesla in #1

In March, the top two brands scored record results, with Tesla getting 180,000 registrations and BYD close to 105,000 registrations — the first time we have two brands hitting 6-digit scores at the same time.

Below the top two, there were also several record breakers, like Hyundai and Kia, which benefitted from strong results from the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6. There’s also China’s Chery, #9 thanks to the success of the QQ Ice Cream; #11 GAC, riding the wave of the Aion Y’s success; #16 Changan (thanks to the Benni EV); and #20 Hozon (thanks to the Neta V).

Despite not hitting a record score, #6 Mercedes had 26,814 registrations, its best score in 15 months. Close by was #7 Volkswagen, which once again had a slow month. The Wolfsburg brand was surpassed in March by BMW, which was last month’s best selling legacy auto brand.

After a slow month in February, XPeng and Great Wall returned to the best seller table in March, contributing to half of the top 20 being Chinese brands.

In the YTD table, Tesla finally rose to the top spot, surpassing BYD thanks to the quarter-end peak, but with only 1.2% separating both, it is the lowest difference between Tesla and the runner-up since 2019 (actually, at the end of Q1 2019, BYD was slightly ahead of Tesla…).

Below these two, which are really in a league of their own, the SGMW joint venture is comfortable in 3rd. Below it, BMW recovered its 4th place, with Hyundai and Kia rising one spot, to #8 and #10, respectively.

In between both Korean brands, Chery was also up one spot, to #9, while in the second half of the table, we witness Changan climbing to #14. Great Wall and XPeng profited from a strong March, jumping to #16 and #18, respectively.

Looking at the top 20, what are the brands that are ahead of the curve? Which ones have gained share YoY?

BYD is the obvious answer, with the Chinese brand gaining an enormous 9% share in one year, but others have also won share, even if with much more modest gains. Chery doubled its share, to 2.6%, Hyundai (+0.8%) and Kia (+0.6%) gained some ground for Korea, as did Li Auto (+0.7%) and GAC (+0.2%) for China.

Looking at registrations by OEM, at the end of Q1, Tesla was leading, but it lost 1% share compared to the same period last year. A surging BYD ended the quarter in the runner-up spot, just 1.2% behind Tesla. Will the Shenzhen automaker surpass Tesla in 2022? I doubt it, but one thing is for sure, both have a lot of growth potential. So, that possibility remains on the table for the next few months.

BYD’s rise this year relegated SAIC and Volkswagen Group to 3rd and 4th, respectively, with both OEMs losing a significant 4% share compared to last year. They completely lost contact with the top two galactic players on the market. Moreover, #5 Geely–Volvo (5.5%) and rising #6 Hyundai–Kia (5.4%) are now showing up in the rearview mirror.

Looking just at BEVs, despite an eroding market share, Tesla remains the main force, with 21.6% market share. The Californian Texan automaker is followed by an also slowing SAIC (10.8%, down 6 percentage points). Rising BYD climbed to 3rd, gaining 5 percentage points of share year over year.

Volkswagen Group dropped to 4th, having lost 1 percentage point of market share compared to the same period of 2021. It can now seeing a rising Hyundai–Kia (5.7%) coming closer.

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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