Last year, electric vehicle sales increased worldwide and achieved around 10% market share for the first time.
Although electric vehicles make up a fraction of car sales in the United States, there has been strong market growth in China and Europe. The broader car market took a hit from economic concerns such as inflation and production disruptions.
Global sales of fully electric vehicles were marked at around 7.8 million units. That is an increase of about 68% from the previous year, according to preliminary research from LMC Automotive and EV-Volumes.com, research groups that track automotive sales.
On Friday, Ralf Brandstätter, the head of Volkswagen AG’s China business, told reporters that electric vehicles would likely continue their quick expansion. China may see a future where sales of conventional vehicles permanently decline, said Brandstätter, as plug-in vehicles become increasingly popular.
“Last year, every fourth vehicle we sold in China was a plug-in, and this year it will be every third auto,” Mr. Brandstätter said. “We haven’t reached the tipping point yet, but we’re expecting to get there between 2025 and 2030.”
According to LMC Automotive, fully electric vehicles accounted for 11% of total car sales in Europe and 19% of total car sales in China in 2022. That total combined with plug-in vehicles, which have rechargeable batteries as well as a small combustion engine, brought the total share of electric vehicles sold last year in Europe to 20.3%.
Germany, the largest auto market in Europe, also saw its fair share of EV vehicle purchases. EVs made up 25% of new vehicle production in the last year, according to the German automotive manufacturers association VDA. In the month of December, more EVs were sold in Germany than conventional cars.
German luxury car maker Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, commonly known as BMW, reported a 5% decline in total new-car sales but saw EV sales more than double last year.
“We are confident that we can repeat this success next year, because we have a continued high order backlog for fully electric models,” said BMW sales chief Pieter Nota, commenting on the growth in sales of electric models.
Other car manufacturers noted a comparable trend of strong growth in the sales of electric cars and weaker sales of conventional vehicles.
According to market data from Ford Motor Co., Mercedes-Benz Group AG, and BMW, EV sales more than doubled in 2022 alongside a decline in total vehicle sales.
Tesla maintained its top spot in the global ranking of manufacturers by sales of all-electric vehicles, despite losing market share in the fourth quarter.
In the United States, Ford is the second-largest producer of EVs by sales, followed by Hyundai and its affiliate Kia.
General Motors Co. (which houses brands such as Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac, and Buick), Volkswagen, and Nissan Motor Co. lost EV market share in the U.S. last year.
Analysts are warning that a repeat of 2022’s strong EV showing could prove difficult for 2023, according to The Wall Street Journal. Economic concerns and the decline of cash rebates for EVs, as well as climbing electricity prices in Europe during the conflict in Ukraine, threaten the appeal of EVs when compared with the safer option of conventional gas-powered cars.