2021 EV deliveries in China by the numbers: How some of the market’s major players grew
As we eagerly slam the book shut on 2021 and look toward a promising year of further EV adoption in 2022, it’s important to look back and assess how far the global market has come during this most recent trip around the Sun. From there, we can compare 2021’s numbers to the year prior and gain an idea of the trajectories many of the major EV automakers may travel on into 2022. We will begin with EV deliveries in China, a rich mecca of EV production and innovation with many companies now expanding to other markets around the globe.
EV sales and deliveries are up all around in China.
As you will soon see from the chart below, EV sales and deliveries continue to boom in China, which has become a major hub for electrified innovation. This makes a lot of sense given how much technological and battery manufacturing the country does for the global market.
Below is a list of 10 of the more prominent Chinese automakers either solely producing or pivoting toward all-electric vehicles. Some are new, some are old (by infantile industry standards), but all are seeing growth in sales, production, and deliveries.
You may notice a couple major names are left off the list. Baidu for instance, has not released any of its Q4 numbers nor has it provided an annual report for 2021. Geely also did not provide a breakdown of its deliveries sorted by type, so they’ve been left off too – although, we did include two Geely sub-brands/JVs, Zeekr and Lynk & Co.
You’ll also notice tremendous numbers from SAIC Motor. While SAIC is a major automotive conglomerate in China, its numbers on these charts are a bit skewed. SAIC Motor along with competitor Great Wall Motor provided sales data for total NEVs, not solely BEVs.
We made do with the data we could gather but wanted to present that caveat. Lastly, Tesla’s official numbers aren’t public in China yet, although they should be any day now. For now, the totals are based off confirmed deliveries in China through November 2021 plus December estimates made by teslashanghai on Twitter.
EV automakers in China with the most deliveries in 2021
Rounding out the bottom of the list is the newest brand of the bunch, Zeekr. The Geely-owned EV brand just shared its December production numbers, and while they’re minuscule compared to other Chinese competitors, the company is ramping up at a pace close to 90% month over month.
With about 6,000 deliveries of its 001 sedan in 2021 (deliveries began in late October), Zeekr is aiming for 70,000 in 2022 and 650,000 by 2025. They’ll be one to watch.
WM Motor (Weltmeister) has been around a bit longer but has also seen big gains as of late. Its 44k+ deliveries in 2021 are close to matching its previous three years combined. 2021 saw a 200% increase compared to 2020.
Rounding out the first half of the list are three of the bigger names in EVs in China. Li
Auto, NIO, and XPeng are close competitors in their segment, and 2021 deliveries showcase how evenly matched these automakers are. Of the three, XPeng takes the crown on EV deliveries in China in 2021. In fact, its 263% YOY growth is the best of the entire bunch.
Great Wall Motor
Beginning at #5 is Great Wall Motor, which is reporting 1.28 million vehicle deliveries for 2021. Of that total, 136,953 were NEVs (including PHEVs), an over 80% increase compared to a year ago. Hopefully, GWM will focus on furthering EV production to ensure an even larger piece of overall deliveries is electric in 2022.
Lynk & Co.
A sleeper on this list is the Geely/Volvo luxury sub-brand Lynk & Co., which made up a huge chunk of the Chinese umbrella company’s EV numbers for 2021. The year saw over 220,000 deliveries and a year-over-year increase over 25%. Although, that’s the lowest YOY growth on the list.
Tesla remains the most successful automaker in the US and a global leader by marketshare, and it continues to make progress in China as its Shanghai facility truly hits its stride. While the official numbers aren’t out yet, estimates put the American automaker right near the top of our list for EV deliveries in China alone.
BYD was very straightforward in its annual report, tallying 320,622 BEVs produced this past year. That makes it second only to SAIC, whose numbers are not as large as they seem.
The Chinese automotive conglomerate has joint ventures with several legacy automakers around the globe, contributing to its robust delivery numbers. According to its sales volume report, the company sold over 5.64 million units in 2021 alone. Over 730,000 of them were NEVs, but that number also includes plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).
Year-over-year growth of EV deliveries in China
|EV automaker||2021 total deliveries||YOY growth|
|SAIC Motor *||732,646 *||128.9%|
|Tesla **||319,723 **||81%|
|Lynk & Co.||220,516||26%|
|Great Wall Motor *||136,953 *||81.8%|
** Tesla numbers estimated based off 249,223 confirmed deliveries as of Nov. 2021 and 70,500 estimated deliveries for Dec. 2021
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