A record 1.3 million electric vehicles (EVs) were sold in China in 2020 with a year-on-year growth of 8%, comparing with 39% worldwide sales growth, according to research from Canalys.
The Chinese government has been supportive of the transition to EVs, but several changes to EV-related policies and consumer subsidies in recent years disrupted the market and automobile makers struggled to build sales momentum.
The Chinese EV market in 2020 was all about two vehicles: the made-in-China Tesla Model 3, the market leader in the first half of 2020, and the Hongguang Mini EV from the SGMW joint venture (SAIC, General Motors, and Wuling), the market leader in the second half of 2020, which only launched mid-year, according to Canalys.
The two models represented one in five of all EVs sold in China.The 1.3 million EVs sold in China in 2020 represented 41% of global EV sales, just behind Europe with 42% of global EV sales. China is still far ahead of the US for EV share – in the US, EV sales represented just 2.4% of sales in 2020.Click To Tweet
Tesla has already started deliveries of the made-in-China Model Y. Production of the Hongguang Mini EV has been increased to keep up with demand, particularly from young Chinese urbanites.
Other small, more affordable city cars, such as the Baojun E-Series from SGMW and the Ora R1 from Great Wall Motors (GWM), are also proving very popular.
Canalys forecasts 1.9 million EVs will be sold in China in 2021, growth of 51% and a 9% share of all cars sold in China.