China saw 1.5 million EV sales in Q1, 59% of global total

Max McDee, 03 May 2023

The sales of electric and electrified vehicles are growing and steadily replacing the sales of gas and diesel-powered cars. When we look at individual brand sales records, or even when we look at individual countries the picture still isn’t complete. Looking at global sales puts everything in perspective with one country leading the way.

On the one hand, China has an easy job - it’s a huge country with a huge population hungry for cars. It has the biggest automotive industry in the world as well so it is natural for the country to be selling the most vehicles in the world. But it is the electric car transition that shows unrelenting growth and makes China the fastest country in the world to adopt electric drivetrains.

59% of all electrified cars sold globally in Q1 were sold in China

In the first 3 months of this year, there were 2.55 million electrified vehicles sold globally, that’s battery-powered cars and plug-in hybrids together. Out of that number, only 30% were plug-in hybrids vehicles, which follows their decreasing trend. The Chinese market swallowed 59% of all global sales - nearly two-thirds of all electrified vehicles were sold in China.

Despite China no longer offering EV subsidies, electric car sales grew by 25% when compared to the same period year ago. The global increase stands at 26% year-on-year. China has increased its exports of EVs as well compared to a year before, in total 217,000 electric cars were sent from China to other markets. BYD is leading the export growth with nearly 39,000 EVs sold to other countries which is a 14-fold increase over last year’s figures.

Chinese EV exports are growing - VW ID.4 ready for European customers Chinese EV exports are growing - VW ID.4 ready for European customers

The overall EV trend is on the rise, with electric cars representing a growing share of vehicles sold globally. In China, that number stands at 28% which is only bettered by Norway with its 71% share. The rest of the world is improving as well, in the US 8% of all cars sold were electric in Q1, in Germany 18%. Surprisingly, only 3% of cars sold in Japan in the first three months of this year were electric.

Chinese electric vehicles are gaining a growing sales share in global markets and this shouldn’t be a surprise. It is a wake-up call for US and European automakers and if they miss it - there will be no room left for them. The argument is that Chinese companies are playing an unfair game, they are heavily subsidized by the Chinese government to sell their cars cheaper. The truth is - all automakers are subsidized in one way or another and at the end of the day - customers want reliable and affordable electric cars and brand loyalty takes the back seat.



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