Global passenger plug-in electric car sales amazed in 2021, not only because of the tremendous expansion, but also because of expansion in a time when the overall market was struggling.

According to EV-Volumes data, shared by Jose Pontes, over 907,000 new passenger plug-in electric cars were registered in December, which is a new all-time record. The previous monthly record was set in November 2021 (over 720,000).

December's result is about 59% higher than a year ago (almost 571,000, reported by the same data source at the time).

The most important thing is however the new record market share of roughly 15% according to the report. That's a big increase over the previous record of 11.5% (November).

The vast majority of new plug-in car sales are all-electric cars that, in December, achieved an 11% share. That's more than one in ten new cars, which is amazing.

Plug-in car registrations:

  • BEVs: 11% share
  • PHEVs: 4% share
  • Total: 907,606 (up 59% year-over-year) and 15% share

Meanwhile, the non-rechargeable (conventional) hybrids noted about 650,000 registrations in December, which is only a 9% increase year-over-year.

See more of our sales reports for the month December 2021 and full year 2021.

We should not expect similarly high plug-in car sales results in January or February, as usually, the seasonality kicks in (a variety of factors).

Global Plug-In Electric Car Sales – December 2021


In 2021, almost 6.5 million new passenger plug-in electric cars were registered globally, which is about 108% more than the 3.1 million in 2020.

The average market share improved to about 9% (including 6.1% BEVs), compared to 4% in 2020 (including 2.8% BEVs),

Plug-in car sales:

  • BEVs: about 4.6 million (up about 115% year-over-year) and 6.1% share
  • PHEVs: about 1.9 million (up about 93% year-over-year) and 2.9% share
  • Total: 6,495,388 (up 108% year-over-year) and 9% share

Model rank

The top three top-selling models in 2021 were the Tesla Model 3, Wuling's Hong Guang MINI EV and Tesla Model Y.

According to the data, the Tesla Model 3 exceeded 500,000 units (partially estimated, out of a total of 911,242 Model 3/Model Y reported by the company), which is the first such a result for a single model. It means also that the Model 3 was the top-selling electric car for the fourth consecutive year (2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021).

This outstanding annual result was possible thanks to a new monthly record of over 86,000 in December. However, as pointed out by Jose Pontes, the Model 3's quarterly result in Q4 was below the Model Y, which indicates an upcoming change in the lead in 2022.

The Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV also set a new personal monthly record in December (over 55,000) and a very high annual record of over 424,000. It's one of the least expensive electric cars (actually minicars), which happened to be a key to its success.

The Tesla Model Y almost reached 80,000 units in December (a new record). With an estimated result of over 410,000 in 2021, it's in range to become the best-selling electric car in 2022. Especially with two new plants coming online later this year (one in Germany and one Texas).

Wuling - Hong Guang MINI EV
Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV
Tesla Model Y home charging
Tesla Model Y

The best of the rest in 2021 was the Volkswagen ID.4 with over 121,000, followed by five Chinese models. The Volkswagen ID.3 (over 75,000) managed to get into top 10 as well.

The top-selling models in December and in 2021 (sorted by 2021):

  1. Tesla Model 3 - 86,032 and 500,713 YTD
  2. Wuling's Hong Guang MINI EV - 55,742 and 424,138 YTD
  3. Tesla Model Y - 79,621 and 410,517 YTD
  4. Volkswagen ID.4 - 19,174 and 121,631 YTD
  5. BYD Qin Plus PHEV - 17,286 and 111,553 YTD
  6. Li Xiang One EREV - 14,087 and 90,491 YTD
  7. BYD Han EV - 10,307 and 86,901 YTD
  8. BYD Song Pro/Plus PHEV - 15,123 and 78,973 YTD
  9. Changan Benni EV - 10,404 and 76,454 YTD
  10. Volkswagen ID.3 - 8,563 and 76,278 YTD

Top 10 in 2021:


Brand rank

According to the report, Tesla set an unprecedented record of over 170,000 units in December (estimated), which allowed it to close the full year at over 936,000. It's the fourth year in a row when the Tesla brand noted the highest number of plug-in car sales (2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021).

Tesla is well known for high peak months (usually, the last month of a quarter), while its Q4 average was slightly above 100,000 per month.

Actually, most of the other brands also set new records. The second best for the month and for the year in BYD, which more than tripled its volume to over 593,000.

The SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture completes the top three at over 456,000 in 2021, leaving Volkswagen off the podium.

The top brands in December and in 2021 (sorted by 2021):

  1. Tesla - 170,152 and 936,172 YTD
  2. BYD - 93,293 and 593,878 YTD
  3. SAIC-GM-Wuling - 61,306 and 456,123 YTD
  4. Volkswagen - 47,514 and 319,735 YTD
  5. BMW - 31,154 and 276,037 YTD
  6. Mercedes-Benz - 25,299 and 228,144 YTD
  7. SAIC - 19,635 and 226,963 YTD
  8. Volvo - 23,608 and 189,115 YTD
  9. Audi - 18,323 and 171,371 YTD
  10. Hyundai - 17,368 and 159,343 YTD
  11. Kia - 16,287 and 158,134 YTD

Top 10 in 2021:


In the next post, we will check the automotive groups.

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