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The Race for EVs

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European Electromobility Soars--Tesla Leads

March 30th 2020

Ford Focus electric

Sales of battery electric cars and plug-in hybrids rose by 44% year-on-year in 2019 to over 600,000 vehicles, according to McKinsey's investigations. This makes Europe's development stand out globally: In China, e-car sales rose by only 3% to 1.2 million units, while in the USA the market shrank by as much as 12% year-on-year to just over 300,000 cars. A total of 2.3 million e-cars were sold worldwide in 2019, 9% more than in 2018, enabling Europe to increase its global market share to over 25%; e-cars accounted for 2.8% of all new registrations in 2019.

Norway, as the most mature e-car market in Europe, retains the lead not only in China but also in the McKinsey Electric Vehicle Index (EVI), which is used by management consultants McKinsey & Company to regularly measure the development of e-mobility in the 15 most important countries.

"China remains the largest market in the world, the supply of local Chinese products has increased significantly," says Nicolai Müller, senior partner in McKinsey's Cologne office. "However, demand in Europe has risen sharply. Further momentum can be expected - namely from the increasing range of products with which manufacturers are aiming to meet the CO2 limits". By 2021, manufacturers in Europe will have to bring more than 2 million e-cars onto the market in order to avoid penalty payments to the EU.

With over 110,000 e-cars sold in 2019, Germany is the third largest market worldwide and the largest in Europe in absolute figures. However, with a market share of 2.8% for e-cars, Germany is only in the European average – here, Norway with almost 45% market share, Iceland (22%) and the Netherlands (13%) are the world leaders. The choice of models is also particularly large in Europe: after China with almost 170 available e-car models, Germany already follows with over 80 models. Six other European countries follow in third to eighth place.

Tesla maintains pole position

Tesla is extending its lead as the leading e-car manufacturer worldwide: in 2019, the company sold 368,000 vehicles - 300,000 of which alone were Model 3, by far the world's best-selling e-car. With BMW (133,000 e-cars sold) and VW (85,000), two German brands are in the top 10, with compact cars (44% market share) and SUVs (30%) being particularly popular with customers. In addition, the trend towards pure battery electric vehicles (BEVs) is continuing: 74% of all e-vehicles sold in 2019 were BEVs, while plug-in hybrids only achieved a 26% market share.

The manufacturers' model offensive is now in full swing, says Patrick Schaufuss, junior partner at McKinsey and author of the analysis. By 2024, the industry has announced 600 new e-car models worldwide: Chinese carmakers lead the way with 169 models, followed by Japan (145) and Germany (102). The focus is on the medium and large vehicle segment. According to expert estimates, the share of German manufacturers in global e-car production will rise from 18% last year to 29% in 2024. This means that with over 1.7 million e-vehicles produced, Germany could become the global market leader for e-cars as early as 2021 - just ahead of China.

Parallel to the model announcements, the manufacturers have also ramped up battery capacities. By 2025, up to 1,000 GWh of production capacity is expected to be created, with the lion’s share of this in China (up to 610 GWh), Europe (up to 290 GWh) and the USA (150 GWh). As in the vehicle market, Europe is the most dynamic, with an annual growth rate of up to 47%.


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