Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Global Top 20 - February 2021


Models: Tesla and the Chinese take the spotlight

Registrations were up for an impressive 136% last month, to some 270.000 units, with BEVs in particular jumping 139%, to some 173.000 units, and with February being usually the lowest volume month, expect from then on numbers to jump over 300.000 units per month in the remainder of the year, so we might be seeing the plugin market hit some 4,5 million (5 million?) this year

On the other hand, with the current sales drops pushing down the overall automotive market, the 2021 PEV share is now at 4.6% (3% BEV), which is already above the 4% of last year, and expect it to continue growing throughout the year, to a large single digit number, as Disruption (eg, two digit market shares) on a global level is looking set to happen in 2022...

The future will depend much on the development of the pandemic and the seriousness of the economic crisis, but whatever happens, expect plugins to weather the storm better than the overall market, increasing its PEV share on the way.

After a brief interruption in January, the Tesla Model 3 returned to the monthly leadeship in February, but the rising star is its Model Y sibling, with the sports crossover in 3rd, thus making two Teslas in the podium.

Interestingly, the other three models on the February Best Sellers list are all Chinese, with the highlight being the full-size #5 BYD Han EV, with 4.100 units (the PHEV Han had 928 units), with the big BYD now ruling the full-size category.

But the most significant result was the 6th spot of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, that delivered 4.023 units in its first real month on the market, losing a Top 5 presence by just 77 units, and becoming immediately the Best Selling model from a Legacy OEM. A sign of things to come?

On the PHEV side, the Best Selling model was the Volvo XC60 PHEV (3.904 units), with Swedish maker making a 1-2 win last month, as the Volvo XC40 PHEV (3.768) was the category runner-up model. 

On the YTD table, the Tesla Model 3 is still in 2nd place, but has reduced the distance to ther #1 Wuling Mini EV by 8k units and should leap ahead of the tiny Chinese EV in March, thanks to the usual end of quarter Tesla high tide.

The Tesla Model Y has secured its Bronze Medal position, distancing itself from the #4 BYD Han EV, while the first position change happened in #7, with the Volvo XC60 PHEV jumping ahead of the Li Xiang One and BMW 530e/Le, with the Swedish SUV becoming the new leader of the PHEV category, and highlighting Volvo's good moment, the XC40 PHEV was also up, from #15, to #11, thus making two models of the maker in the Top 4 PHEV positions.

The BEV side also had several changes, with several Best Sellers recovering from a poor January performance, like the Nissan Leaf, that jumped 4 spots, to #10, or the Audi e-Tron, that was up 3 places, to #13. 

Others re-joined the table, like it was the case of the Volkswagen ID.3, that jumped to #15, or the Hyundai Kona EV, now in #17.

Still, many of them are still frankly below their 2020 positions, like the Renault Zoe, currently in #12, but 3rd last year, the VW ID.3, #6 last year but now only #15, or the Hyundai Kona EV, 5th then, and only #17 now. While the VW ID.3 should recover during the year to reach (or beat) last year standing, both the Korean and French model will have a hard time to recover their former glory.

Another highlight in February was the Changan Benni EV, that scored a record 3.304 units, allowing it to join the table in #18, being the 7th Chinese model on the table.

Outside the Top 20, two models are set to join the table soon, with the #21 Peugeot 208 EV some 300 units behind the #20 BMW 330e, while the Ford Mustang Mach-e (4.321 units in 2021) could also jump to a Top 20 position next month.

Looking at each category BEV leaders, the Wuling Mini EV reigns supreme in the City EV category (A segment), the Renault Zoe is some 500 units ahead of the Hyundai Kona EV, in the B segment, while on the compact category, we have a surprise, with the veteran Nissan Leaf ahead of the VW ID.3, by some 800 units (to be recovered in March?), the midsize category (D segment) has both Teslas comfortably on top, and in the full size category (E/F segments), the BYD Han EV is a clear leader, almost doubling the sales of the #2 Audi e-Tron, while selling 3x as much as the category 3rd placed, the Porsche Taycan (4.265 units).


Manufacturers: Tesla returns to #1

Tesla's February score (42.679 units) allowed it to recover the leadership position from the SGMW joint-venture, with both brands counted together having almost a quarter of the market (23%)

BMW profited from a slower month from BYD to cement its Bronze Medal position, while both Volkswagen and Volvo jumped two spots last month, with the first going up to #5, while the second climbed to #6. Highlighting the VW Group current recovery mode, after a January in hangover mode, Audi was also up in February, in this case, to 9th. 

On the second half of the table, Renault was up two spots, to #13, which is still down 6 spots on its 7th position of 2020, while Hyundai climbed to #18, 7 places down on its 2020 standing. It seems it wasn't only Volkswagen experiencing serious hangover effects in January...

A rather surprising rise in the table was Toyota going up 3 places, to #15, with its RAV4 PHEV adding precious volumes to the Japanese maker Chinese operations. 

Ford joined the table, in #17, thanks to 6.680 units, its second best score ever (July 2020 is the current peak, with 7.289 units), and with the Mustang Mach-e production ramp up now in full motion, expect the Dearborn maker to beat its current record soon, while jumping a few more positions during the next couple of months.

Outside the Top 20, a reference to a recovering #21 Nissan, now only 500 units away from a Top 20 spot, while the rising #23 Changan could reach the table in the coming months.

In a brief view of the OEM standings, SAIC (14%) is still ahead, but has Tesla (13%) knocking on its door and should surpass it next month, while the VW Group (11%) is also in recovery mode, and while it shouldn't be enough to surpass the Chinese maker, it should recover some ground. One thing is certain, as things look now, these three OEMs should have an entertaining race to follow throughout the year. (Bring on the popcorn!)

Friday, March 26, 2021

Europe February 2021

Tesla Model 3 wins in February

Despite a depressing overall market (-20% YoY in February), the European passenger plugin market continues on the rise, having registered over 115,000 units in February (+66% YoY), placing last month plugin share at 14% share (5.9% BEV), keeping the 2021 PEV share at 14% (5.7% for BEVs alone).

This solid sales growth was mostly due to PHEVs, that have seen their sales jump by 117% YoY, to 65,581 units, while BEVs (50,246 units) have grown a more moderate 27% last month, confirming plugin hybrids as the major growth source for plugins in these first stages of 2021.

With the first 2021 fresh units coming from Fremont (and Shanghai), the Model 3 won last month Best Seller title, its first since last September, with Tesla's expected high tide in March, and the competition still recovering from the December peak, the sports sedan should win another trophy next month.

Last month we had the Peugeot 208 EV joining the Best Sellers list, being one of the most interesting small BEVs around, the French hatchback crossed 2020 living in the shadow of its arch rival Renault Zoe success, but this year, both models are closer, so 2021 could be the little Pug breakout year. 

Looking at February Top 5 Models:

#1 Tesla Model 3 – The sports sedan returned to form, by having 5,506 deliveries last month, allowing it to have its first monthly win since last September, which is a promising sign for the upcoming March high tide, where over 15,000 deliveries seem like a realistic target. Regarding February, the Model 3 main markets were Germany (1,910 units) and France (1,166), with Austria (369) and Norway (334) folowing at some distance.

#2 Volkswagen ID.3 – The pull forward stunt of last December had its downside in January, when the German hatchback was just 5th, but fast forward to February and recovery is now on its way, with the VW model scoring 3,808 deliveries. We believe that by March we should finally start to see the real demand level of the electric hatchback. Back to February, Germany was by far the best market for the Volkswagen nameplate, with 1,892 deliveries, followed by France (361 units) and Austria (260). 

#3 Renault Zoe – The low 3,620 deliveries number show that the French hatchback is yet to recover from the last year end peak effort, but we should wait for March final results before jumping into conclusions, as Renault is known for unexpected end-of-quarter peaks. Last month, the main markets were the usual, with Germany (1,424 units) leading, followed by France (1,074), while Italy (285), was a distant 3rd

#4 Volvo XC40 PHEV - The smallest of Volvo's PHEV lineup is now the PHEV du jour in Europe, as the carmaker sees their plugin hybrid versions as just another trimline in Europe, facilitating sales across its lineup, especially of the XC40, that sits at the heart of the hot compact SUV category. In February the Belgian-built Volvo scored 3,602 registrations, earning its 2nd Best Selling PHEV title in a row. The markets where the Volvo plugin was in high rotation were Germany (529 units), Italy (518), Sweden (447) and France (371). Without production constraints and currently experiencing strong demand, the compact Volvo is a strong candidate for the 2021 PHEV Best Seller title. 

#Peugeot 208 EV – Thanks to a competitive package (50 kWh battery, 100 kW charging rate) and distinctive design, much was expected from the small Peugeot last year, but ending 2020 in a low 8th spot, with a third of its arch rival Renault Zoe registrations, one couldn't say that the Peugeot model had set the market on fire...Several reasons might explain this, but the truth is that this year things should be looking better, with February signaling the 208 EV first Top 5 presence in 12 months. Last month, the French EV registered 3,062 units, with the biggest market being its homeland France, with 1,484 registrations, followed by Germany, with 596 units, and Italy (184 units).

Looking at the remaining February table, the highlights show up on the lower half, with the VW Golf PHEV showing in in #15, immediately followed by the #16 Fiat 500e, with the Italian EV now aiming to displace the VW e-Up from the City car leadership, although the Smart Fortwo EV, 18th last month, might still have a word to say in this race, set to be one of the most thrilling categories of the year.

Outside the Top 20, a mention to the Toyota RAV4 PHEV, as the Japanese maker continues to (slowly) ramp up the deliveries of its RAV4 PHEV model, reaching 1,444 units last month, a new record for the Japanese SUV. Will we see it on the table soon?

Looking at the 2021 ranking, the main news was the Tesla Model 3 shooting to #3, with the sports sedan on its way to the leadership in March, while the VW ID.3 also improved its standing, climbing one position, to 4th.

Same thing for the Peugeot 208 EV, that was up one spot, from #6 to #5, while the Volvo XC60 PHEV jumped 4 positions, joining the Top 10, in 9th, highlighting Volvo's good moment. 

On the second half of the table, the small VW e-Up joined the table in #15, stealing the City car Best Seller status from the #18 Smart Fortwo EV, while the new Fiat 500e joined the table for the first time, in #20, with the category title promising to be hardly fought between these 3 models (Last year's title went for the VW e-Up, beating the Smart Fortwo EV by 2,000 units - 22k vs 20k).

Outside the Top 20, there are two PHEVs set to join the table soon, with the #21 VW Golf PHEV only 97 units below the #20 Fiat 500e, while the #22 BMW X5 PHEV is only 172 units behind

In the brands ranking, balance is the word, with 6 brands separated by just 3%, in the lead we have BMW (10%), immediately followed by Volkswagen and Mercedes, both with 9% share, then we have the #4 Volvo, with 8% (up 2%), while in tied in 5th, we have Peugeot and Renault, both with 7% share. 

Oh, and don't forget that Tesla (3%) should join the pack in March...Now this is what i call an entertaining race!

BEV D-Segment / Midsize category

Tesla's midsize sedan is now firm in the leadership, having won a sizeable distance to the competition in February, with over 4,500 units now separating it from the runner-up spot, and has seen its sales increase 54% YoY last month, highlighting the fact that it won't have significant competition in the next few months, as the Tesla Model Y will only land in the second half of the year.

The Polestar 2 (1,171 units last month) is the new 2nd placed, having surpassed the Mercedes EQC in February, with the Sino-Swede now having a 393 units advantage over the Mercedes SUV, that has delivered 698 units last month, a mere 3% increase YoY, so it seems that the German EV has already found its (low) cruise speed.

With the only other significant midsize BEV, the Jaguar i-Pace, selling at a slower pace than these two (393 units last month), the Polestar model can only fear the Ford Mustang Mach-E in the race for the Best Selling Non-Tesla title, as the existing competition doesn't seem to pose a threat to it and the upcoming BMW i4 will be delivered too late in the year to make up for the lost time.

BEV E/F-Segment / Full size category

The e-Tron domination is unquestionable but its seemingly never ending growth seems to have finally stopped, with the Big Audi scoring 2,351 units last month, representing a 6% sales drop YoY, but despite this, the Audi SUV seems destined to win another category title this year, with Tesla basically giving up on the Model S & X for the first half of the year, what they will recover in the second half of the year, shouldn't be enough to compensate for the drought in the first half, while the #2 model, the Porsche Taycan (724 units last month) is too niche to go head to head with the e-Tron in the sales charts.

Regarding the remaining competition, the Mercedes EQV Luxury Van is still in 3rd place, with 308 units, but shouldn't be here for long, as the Audi e-Tron GT just landed in February, with its first registrations (212 of them) in Germany, no doubt demonstration units, so expect the Taycan sibling to jump into the Bronze medal spot soon, thus making a 1-2-3 lead for the VW Group.

Finally, a note regarding the upcoming Mercedes EQS, while its design looks promising, i think Mercedes is making a mistake by marketing it as a don't call it a hatchback fastback sedan. Considering the general proportions of the car, i think the right way to market it would be as a Sports Wagon. A bit like Porsche does with the Panamera Sport Turismo (and upcoming Taycan Sport/Cross Turismo), the EQS reminds more of a sports wagon than a big fastback a la Tesla Model S (or Porsche Panamera, if you prefer). Anyway, the EQS should remain a niche model, the real test for Mercedes will be the 2022 EQE, that model will have to fill some really big shoes, as the regular Mercedes E-Series has been the category Best Selling model for decades...So anything less than the Number One position for the EQE will be seen as failure by Mercedes management. No pressure, EQE, no pressure...

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Colombia February 2021


Dongfeng Rich 6 Archives - China Car News, Reviews and More
Dongfeng Rich-6 EV: Available in Colombia

Mercedes GLC PHEV #1 in hot market

EVs in Colombia are growing fast, jumping this year 52% YoY, with February signaling a record month, with 218 registrations, allowing the plugin share to grow, with the 1,3% share of last month allowing the YTD number to cross the 1% mark, now at 1,1%, being the first country south the US border to do so, which added to the hundreds of electric buses being deployed there, keeps the Colombian market at the forefront of the EV Revolution in Latin America.

Looking at the Year Best Sellers, it does look like a rather original Top 5, doesn't it?

Mercedes is in the lead, thanks to its GLC SUV, while below it, you will find two representatives of one of the most important trends in South America, the rise of Chinese EVs, while Legacy OEMs have their eyes focussed elsewhere, Chinese EV brands are investing their export efforts in these markets, and because they already have a foothold here, thanks to previous efforts made with ICE models, it becomes easier for them to win ground, unlike Europe or North America, where Chinese brands are unknown. 

Also important to remember, here they are playing in a levelled field with the Legacy OEMs, because neither have the home advantage, making the race all more interesting.

Outside the podium, in #5 we have the three times winner (2018, '19 & '20) BMW i3, that is also a popular EV in a number of neighboring countries, like Costa Rica, but this year it has seen its sales fall off a cliff, down by two thirds, allowing its French rival Renault Zoe to surpass it and occupy the 4th spot.

Another interesting aspect of the Chinese investment in this market (28% of plugin sales this year belong to Chinese makers), is the diversity of models offered, from small city cars, to larger 7-seat SUVs or MPVs, there is something for everyone, including vans and even an electric pick-up truck, the Dongfeng Rich-6 EV, that has 6 registrations so far this year.

By brands, Mercedes is the new King, with 35% share, with BYD in the runner-up spot, with 15% share, while Changan and BMW share the Bronze medal, both with 10% share.

Monday, March 22, 2021

2020 Top 10 Countries in the Global EV Revolution


Welcome to the 7th Annual Top 10 EV Countries list — my own very personal version of March Madness! Seriously, this is always my busiest month of the year and to make things even more chill I do this thing too. It *is* literal madness to keep doing it.  Link to the 2019 list (from there you can get to older ones).


  1. The score is multi-faceted rather than representing solely consumer sales. This is a global challenge, to which different countries can contribute in different ways, and the big picture must be in view. Advantage goes to countries that contribute in multiple ways.
  2. New for 2020: this is an EV ranking, not a complete ranking for how cool countries are. However, in the vein of disclaimer #1, sometimes symbolic (yet meaningful) penalties are in order. For example, with increasing evidence of genocidal Chinese government towards Uyghur residents, including forced labor camps, the lack of transparency regarding whether any Chinese EVs benefit from such labor prompts me to deduct 1 production point from China (out of ~25 it had earned). China is already docked 1 long-time point for its leading role in the ongoing criminal abuse of cobalt miners in the DRC. Likewise, on the narrow merits Tesla had one of its most stellar years, arguably earning a production bonus point for the US. However, I won’t ignore that its CEO, among the world’s richest persons, loudly undermined sensible pandemic policies in his home state, thus helping kill more of his fellow Americans and his own workers. Hence the potential bonus point is gone.

The lion’s share of credit for source data goes as usual, to Jose Pontes and his EV Sales Blog. This year, though, I used his input into the EU-sanctioned   more than the original Sales Blog, since it was more detailed and up-to-date. If you want to drown in EV numbers and analyses from around the globe, do subscribe to Jose’s new commercial endeavor EV Volumes (and no, I’m not getting a cut).

I obtained more than the usual share of info simply from my own online sleuthing. Including complete tables for Israel in 2019-2020 which I calculated and handed over to Jose! (Israel is nowhere near the Top 10, but I just wanted to brag). 

Some numbers and percentages in Europe  may look different from what you see elsewhere, because I’ve added light-commercial vehicle sales to numerator and denominator, to make the comparison with other regions equitable.

Ok, if you dare read, go over the fold… I won’t give the punch line away, and there’s more than one surprise this year!

The Tesla Model 3 broke its own annual EV sales world record for the 3rd straight time. In 2020 Tesla sold exactly 1000 of these for every solar-year day.


Back in March-April when Covid hit the West hard, conventional punditry piped up its sorry head, saying EVs (and green policies in general) are a goner for 2020, probably also into 2021.

Then… instead of grinding to a halt, EV sales in most leading markets roared out of the first lockdown with such ferocity, that it made up all the deficit and then some, stopping the dials on 3.1 million EVs sold (70% of them “pure” BEVs). Since the general auto market remained slumped, global EV market share increased nicely from 2.8% in 2019 to 4% in 2020.

Most of this was driven by Europe, where strict cash penalties levied directly on automakers, for each ICE (internal-combustion engine) sold, came into effect January 2020 — and simply worked! The continent’s EV market share tripled, touching the “disruption zone” of 10%. Europe has an unprecedented 8 out of our Top 10 spots. But China, by far the world’s largest EV builder and buyer, also managed to recover decently.

Who didn’t really recover, because its slump is multiple-year rather than only Covid-related? Over here in the US. But we’ll get to that sad story at some point. Here goes the list:


Europe’s affinity to EVs has steep north-south and east-west gradients. Basically EVs are happening in Northwest Europe, and far far less elsewhere. This has lots to do with spare cash; as a new technology EVs have come in pricier than average, and even more so they’ve had that perception. The only exception to this geographical intra-Europe rule was Ukraine, entering the Top 10 in 2016-2018 on the power of grassroots-driven lively market of second-hand EV imports, which seems to have stalled in 2019-2020.

Now Portugal, one of Western Europe’s poorest countries, narrowly beat a tight second-10 field to become the first Southern European country in the Top 10. 

Claim to fame: part and parcel of the regulations-driven surge, Portugal went from 4.9% to 10.7% EV share, with ~20k sold. Sales leadership was fairly narrowly decided between the Tesla Model 3 and Renault Zoe, with previous near-perennial local favorite Nissan Leaf pushed to 3rd. 

Also, Portugal is where Jose calls home.

LEVC TX taxi.
The LEVC electric taxi might still be the only EV that both designed *and* produced on UK’s home turf. Or is it?


The UK became one of 4 European nations to cross 100k EV sales in 2020 (in 2019 only Germany managed the feat — barely), with 180k deliveries and market share zooming from 2.9% to 9.3%. 

Time will tell how Brexit will affect things like the availability of England-assembled Nissan Leafs on the Continent, and vice versa.

Oct 2020: Grace (left) blesses the new Hyundai Ioniq BEV
In October, our relatives in Israel bought this amazing Hyundai Ioniq BEV, designed and built in Korea. It was one of only 30 sold in Israel last year (out of ~1500 BEV sales there in 2020). Globally ~14k Ioniq BEVs were sold.


Claim to fame: Korean EV makers (basically, the Hyundai-Kia conglomerate) continued their advance, nearing 200k made in 2020, while Korean battery makers cemented their global dominance with twin giants LG Chem and Samsung launching factories in Hungary, and more being built elsewhere.

Domestic sales and market share also advanced, from 1.9% to 2.8% on 52k sold, but it’s still nowhere near European or even Chinese levels.

New in 2020, the Peugeot 208 EV.
Never having made a “proper” passenger EV before, Peugeot’s EV version of its flagship 208 compact (range ~300km) jumped out of nowhere straight into #8 in the dense European EV sales chart.


Note the jump in score from the 8th-place country — the countries from here on delivered far more impressive performance.

Claim to fame: Peugeot-Citroen jumps into the fray — but Zoe takes the cake. Domestic market not shabby either.

France’s auto industry is probably the largest Western auto industry that goes completely under the radar in the US. Only Old World savants here have even heard of these brands, which crank out millions and millions of cars per year.

Well, Americans who follow EVs did hear of Renault, which (sort-of married to Nissan) has been among global EV leaders. But P-C, just as big an automaker, was a complete laggard. 

Fortunately, unlike some CEOs and company boards…. P-C leadership saw the regulatory writing on the wall, prepared an entire suite of decently compliant EVs, and roared into action in 2020, selling nearly 70k EVs up from nary a couple thousand in 2019. Together with Renault’s ~125k, spearheaded by the Zoe crossing 100k on its own, France together with Germany was the country that helped meet all this sudden surge in European demand for EVs.

Local demand also jumped, with nearly 200k EVs sold and market share jumping from 2.6% to 9.5%. Electric bus deliveries were a bit down in 2020 though, with an estimated E-bus share of only ~1%.


Claim to fame: sparse schmarse, just look at them numbers!

Sure, 2x more people live within Seattle city limits than in all of Iceland’s huge expanses. But this still doesn’t take away from a 47% EV market share, more than double 2019’s, and also a sharp shift in composition from a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) dominated island to an evenly balanced 2020 mix (yes, there are points for that too). And these EVs are powered mostly by renewable energy.


Claim to fame: continuing to lead Europe in E-bus production and deployment share.

Domestic EV sales increased “only” from 13% to 22% and almost touched 100k, so pretty darn good in absolute terms. But the Netherlands (like some other Euro countries, e.g., Denmark) still suffers from some semi-permanent incentives instability so 2021 started a bit slow.

I finally got hold of reported total bus fleets and bus replacement rates in Europe. Netherlands has ~10k buses, meaning that the 400-plus (mostly locally built) E-buses deployed there in each of 2019 and 2020 were possibly the majority of new buses in the country in those years. Finally someone is following China’s lead on this!

March 2020: heaps and heaps of the shiny brand-new VW ID3 (range 300-500km) had to wait around in the rain and cold until the pandemic lockdown eased a bit.
March 2020: heaps and heaps of the shiny brand-new VW ID3 (range 300-500km) had to wait around in the rain and cold until the pandemic lockdown eased a bit. Its loooong-awaited market invasion thus disrupted, the ID3 still managed to end 2020 at #3 in Europe and #6 globally with 57k sales.


Claim to fame: the fame is all Germany’s this time.

Boy, I love dishing out 4 medals instead of a puny 3! Also, note again a sizable jump in point count from 5th place.

Sweden is no stranger to these heights; in 2020 it did very well, going from 10% to nearly 30% EV market share, getting close to 100k just like Netherlands (still PHEV-dominated though). Volvo Bus also started delivering a couple hundred BEV buses, headlined by a huge order from Gothenburg. 

But that’s nothing compared to what Germany — who, to my recollection, wins its first-ever Top EV Country medal —  did last year…

Coming out of the first Covid lockdown, most Western European countries passed some version of a “mini green new deal” in their stimulus packages . But as I wrote in August, Germany was perhaps the only one to insist on giving subsidies *only* to EVs and not to ICE sales (more precisely, it was the social-democrat coalition partners who insisted). 

This paid back in spades, with EV share flying from <3% in 2019 to ~13% in 2020. That’s ~400k new EVs on German roads in 2020 — passing the US in number of EVs sold last year! Germany may have also narrowly beat perennial continental light-commercial (mostly delivery vans) segment champ France, with nearly 10k new ones.

German automakers were at least as ready as the French, responsible for a weighted total of >700k EVs globally in 2020, supplying over one-third of global demand outside of China. Even annoying Mercedes Bus stopped dragging its feet and delivered what seems like a couple hundred E-buses; somewhere around 5% of Germany’s new buses last year were electric.

Ok, if you made it thus far, then…..  drumrollllll.

The Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV, debuted 2020 in China.
If you haven’t heard of this baby yet… well, you eventually will because it’s been kicking the Model 3’s butt.


Claim to fame: maybe sometimes it’s good to chill back for a year at #2.

China of course started 2020 worse than anyone. The EV market was doubly challenged in early 2020, because the Chinese government with its mixed signals keeps chipping away at EV subsidies. But the swift (and often brutal) pandemic response paid back, the country being open and Covid-free (in lame-ass Western terms, at least) from March-April onwards. The government also delayed the EV incentive-sunset process by 2 years to ease the pressure.

EV sales managed to finish ahead, with ~1.3M sold and market share increasing from 5.5% to 6.3%. Jan-Feb 2021 came in at high single-digits, so Jose is optimistic (barring more craziness) that China will join Europe in the DDD (Double-Digit Disruption) club this year.

Tesla’s now-made-in-China Model 3 won the local crown with 140k sales, but the real surprise was the teeny and dirt-cheap WHGMiEV (see the linked story to decipher the acronym), launched only mid-year and reaching 120k, the second Chinese model to score 6 digits in a year. And two months into 2021 it has already scored another 57k sales! Given it sells for only $4-5.5k, they can sell it all over the less-wealthy world (more precisely, in urban areas with reliable grid) if they can ramp it up. 

As to E-buses, the jewel in China’s EV crown: domestically “only” 61k were deployed in 2020. For reference, in Europe, whose overall bus fleet size seems 2-3x smaller than China’s, somewhere around 2-2.5k E-buses were deployed. So it’s roughly a ~10x factor in E-bus share in China’s favor.

Still, 61k is quite a slide from well over 100k in 2015-2018, and represents ~40% market share, not what one would expect considering the track record. Did the prior-year surge include some bad-quality buses that went bust? Or have subsidies been cut too quickly? I have no idea. 

That said, China also dominates the global E-bus market, delivering and building assembly plants all over the place. In South America BYD seems the only E-bus act in town.

But wait…. with China behind us, Who’s On First then?


Claim to fame: FINALLY!!!

The relative stagnation (and lack of transparency on some key stuff) in China was just enough for Norway to finally pull off a Gold. 

EV market share went from a stratospheric 45% to escape-velocity 63%, crossing 100k on a population of barely 5M. And E-bus action also accelerated, nearing 300 units which on a reported fleet of 16k means ~15-20% market share. If Norway also had an auto or EV-battery industry, no country could catch it in the charts.

Skål !!!


A diesel truck spewing

Yup, yup, yup.

For the first time ever, the gran’ ol’ US of A is off the Top 10, falling short with 47 points. In fact, prior to 2020 the US never placed lower than #6, so this fall from grace is a BFD. 

What went wrong?  How can the home country of the world’s #1 EV maker, who grazed a half-million sales this year and whose #1 model sold >3x than its global runner-up? Oh… Well… Let’s see….

  • Domestic EV sales were essentially flat at ~330k continuing a 3-year plateau, dropping the US to a shameful #3 by sheer numbers. Due to overall-market slump, EV share did inch up to 2.4%, but this is still among the lowest EV shares in the ~40 countries I got data for. If you stagnate and others jump ahead — well, you fall behind. Heck, even Israel crossed 3% last year.
  • We can’t even know what US EV sales were — because one by one automakers have decided to stop reporting them. Remember the days when Jay from had those beautiful detailed monthly tables? Now we don’t even have an annual table, and estimates vary by ~10%. I gave the higher one above; another source claims we fell to <300k.
  • The 2008 $7.5k Federal EV incentive law was good for its time, but had a very bad ending clause that punished the better automakers by sunsetting subsidies only on those who exceed 200k, not on laggards. Not only that, but the two automakers that ended up exceeding it were American (Tesla and GM). Two years had passed, but with a divided Congress and malignant madman at the helm in 2019-2020 there was no chance to do anything about it. 
  • The feckless Big Three rode Trump’s coattails towards doing nothing. I mean, nothing. They probably sold less EVs in 2020 than they did 5 years go. GM is showing signs of life now and that’s good. But I’ll reward it when I see results. For now I docked 1 point from the US on account of the Big Three (Japan also got docked similarly; Japan has been off the charts for a couple of years now). By the way, GM gets more EV production credits in my tallies for its ~40% stake in the joint venture that makes China’s WHGMiEV, than it does for domestic production.
  • And then… if Elon could keep his mouth shut for one pandemic, the US would have had one more point (still 2 behind Portugal, though). Again, having malignant madmen at the top of things is not advised. Even if they are generally smart. Looking at you Tesla.

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the end! Wishing a truly stellar EV year in 2021. Personally we will likely make our first outright purchase of an EV this year, after serially leasing 4.5 Leafs.