As the Covid-19 outbreak spread in early 2020 and lockdowns was implemented in many countries, global auto sales hit an all-time low. Early market data suggests that, despite a gradual recovery throughout the course of the year, global vehicle sales fell by an estimated 14% in 2020 compared to the previous year. 2020 saw a dramatic decline in worldwide auto sales compared to the period of the 2007–2009 financial crisis.
When the pandemic began to spread in early 2020, it was widely believed that the electric car market would be more resilient than the entire automotive industry. Despite this, a decline in electric car sales was still widely believed to be imminent, albeit one that would be less severe than the decline in overall auto sales.
Despite the epidemic, there was a prediction for a modest increase in worldwide electric car sales, and said that this may be larger if additional stimulus measures were implemented.
Sales of electric vehicles surpassed these projections in 2020 which estimates that global sales of electric cars increased to over 3 million, reaching a market share of over 4%, making 2020 a record-breaking year for electric mobility.
Current policy support and additional stimulus measures back up this estimate. In comparison to the 2.1 million electric cars delivered in 2019, this represents a return to the two-digit growth rates witnessed between 2010 and 2018.
This translates to an increase in global sales of approximately 40%. As a result, there are already over 10 million electric cars and trucks on the road worldwide.
Global electric vehicle sales in 2020 are the subject of a two-act drama as lockdown procedures paralyzed supply networks and manufacturing plants in the first half of 2020, while consumer demand was also affected.
This was true in the People’s Republic of China from February to March, as well as in the United States and Europe from March to May. Although the lockout had an impact on electric vehicle sales, there were early indications of the market’s resilience for two key reasons.
First – there was a lot of political support, especially in Europe where 2020 was a key goal year for emissions standards. Incentives to buy increased, especially in Germany.
Second – the enthusiasm of electric car buyers often wealthy households less impacted by the economic downturn and upgraded original equipment manufacturer (OEM) offers in both model choice and performance, as well as continued declines in battery costs, created a favorable environment for continued EV uptake.
Global sales of electric vehicles during the first half of 2020 were, on average, 15% lower than during the same period in 2019. The significant exception was Europe, where sales of electric vehicles increased by 55% as a result of ongoing policy assistance programs. In the second half of 2020, when lockdowns were lifted or temporarily relaxed, global market trends were noticeably different.
Despite the pandemic’s second waves, monthly sales of electric cars exceeded those from July to December of 2019 in every major market, including China, the European Union, India, Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Nearly every month of 2020 saw increased electric car sales in many of the continent’s major markets, including France, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Sales of electric vehicles increased by 12% in China from one year ago. Sales of electric vehicles amounted to roughly 1.3 million in both Europe and China in 2020, translating to an electric vehicle market share of about 10% in Europe and 5% in China.
Electric car sales in the United States were 4% higher than in 2019 despite the lack of federal EV stimulus measures and a 15% decline in the market for cars. This implies that electric vehicles continue to appeal to automobile purchasers.
Even in Canada, sales of electric vehicles declined less than the market as a whole. The only two major markets where sales of electric vehicles declined faster than those of other vehicles in 2020 were Japan and Australia.