While it’ll take some more time till we see the detailed numbers in terms of the sales figures, we might still look at some of the things that influenced the industry in the last year.
And there were some major events that impacted the whole business…
Electric vehicles: 2021 vs 2022
After all the pandemic havoc that happened throughout 2020 and changed the ways in which people commute and travel for what seems like years to come, 2021 was extraordinarily good for electric vehicles. At the time, it broke sales records in nearly all aspects (i.e. new registrations of the electric passenger cars or number of heavy-duty electric vehicles on the roads). Depending on the source, it is estimated that 2021 brought the EV sales to a whooping 6,5 - 6,75 million electric vehicles sold. That lifted the EV’s share in the global market to 8.75% (compared to merely 0,01% in 2010). China was ultimately responsible for this surge in EV purchases with 3.3 million vehicles finding buyers throughout the year – nearly double what had been achieved worldwide just twelve months earlier.
2022 seems to have been doing even better. Some of the first data that are flowing in (usually referring to the first half/first quarter of 2022) already show breaking records. Vehicles with electric power gained serious traction in the first half of 2022, as 4.3 million new battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electrics (PHEVs) were delivered - an impressive 62% jump from 2021's figures. Following the imposing figures from the first half of the year, the total 2022 figures (as of now - more detailed estimates are certainly to come) indicate a monumental shift in the global auto market as electric vehicle sales surged to 10 percent of all new cars purchased worldwide (these stats are supported by LMC Automotive and EV-Volumes.com).
It must be noted that the greatest spikes and most promising-looking forecasts are referring to the passenger cars, the heavy-duty electric transport is still lagging behind even despite its own growth. The biggest obstacle in this case are the insufficient charging networks that vary by a lot between countries, making international traveling with heavy loads rather difficult. As of now, China might be deemed the only state with electric trucks taking up a significant portion of the heavy-duty transport.
While we wait to see detailed 2022 sales information, some of the first-showing data definitely looks more than promising for the future of electric vehicles. What’s worth underlining here is that the spikes occurred despite rather difficult economic conditions triggered by a few big events that happened in 2022.
Promising numbers despite difficult times
While the majority of humankind will probably collectively agree that 2020 was the most distressing year in modern history, 2022 unfortunately had its major setbacks as well. Some of them did in fact impact the eMobility business.
Starting off with the tense situation on the Ukraine-Russia border that eventually transformed into a war, changing the world’s sentiments towards the biggest country in the world followed by major changes in global trade. Russia is one of the leading nickel producers (around 280 thousand tonnes) and leaving it out of the equation, led to drastic turnarounds in the raw materials field.
The uptake in EVs combined with the raw materials situation has essentially come down to skyrocketing prices of cobalt, nickel or lithium. In May 2022 alone, the price of lithium rose to an astronomical seven times greater than at the start of 2021. Despite the troublesome nature of the raw components industry, according to IEA, “(...) given the current oil price environment the relative competitiveness of EVs remains unaffected. (...)”.
Second on the list of strokes of ill luck, would be all the environmental issues that happened mostly throughout the second half of 2022. Late summer and autumn of 2022 brought a lot of peculiarities in terms of the potential hazard with grid overburdening all over the world. In fact, in many places some quite substantial issues have been noted. Prime example would be California and its controversy about advising citizens to limit the EV charging time soon after it declared the state ban of selling new ICE cars. With a massive heatwave and temperatures striking above three digits on the Farenheit scale, air conditioners running at full capacity across the state have caused some issues, especially in peak hours. Similar situation happened in China. Record temperatures and droughts were observed, forcing factories to shut down. Sichuan province (home to nearly 84 million people) - of which up to 80% supply is covered by hydropower, placed an order to halt producing operations in 19 major cities. This left many people questioning the grid’s capacity in the context of wide-range governmental advocacy in favour of EVs.
Seeing the hurdles on the eMobility’s way, the ever-growing interest in electric cars and spiking sales figures only look more promising and impressive.
Top players in the eMobility game
Probably no surprises will bring the fact that Tesla remained the number one electric cars seller in 2022, with a whooping 18% share in battery EVs worldwide. Tesla's newest vehicle Model Y rocketed past its predecessor, the Model 3, to become the highest selling electric car on the market.
Tesla Model Y, source: tesla.com
However, it must be noted that Tesla takes the first place only when looking at the BEVs exclusively. If we were to take into consideration BEVs +PHEVs, another leader emerges. BYD Auto - a Chinese company in the automotive industry dealing in the production of passenger cars and buses, including electric and hybrid ones, belonging to the BYD Company, which produces electric batteries. The Chinese automaker giant leads the way in BEVs + PHEVs sold. BYD is now also the largest maker of PHEVs.
In terms of the next positions, various sources indicate some bigger or smaller differences, but amongst the top EV companies in 2022 we can certainly find:
- Volkswagen Group
- General Motors (including brands such as Chevrolet, Buick, GMC)
- Hyundai Motors
- BMW Group