Plug-in electric car sales growth in China reached another monthly record in December (the fifth one in a row), pushing the annual result to a spectacular level.

According to EV Volumes' data, shared by researcher Jose Pontes, 980,737 new passenger plug-in electric cars were registered in China in December, 46% more than a year ago.

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Plug-in car sales surges in China

The Chinese plug-in electric car market is not only the largest one in the world but it also represents the majority of global plug-in car sales. The share of rechargeable cars in China in 2023 amounted to 37% (compared to 30% in 2022).

All-electric car registrations amounted to roughly 618,000 (up 31% year-over-year). That's also a record.

Plug-in hybrids are getting more and more popular in China. In December, a record 362,000 units were registered (up about 80% year-over-year). One of the reasons behind the PHEV popularity is that new models are equipped with bigger batteries (roughly 40 kilowatt-hours).

Plug-in car registrations for the month (YOY change):

  • BEVs: about 618,000 (up 31%)
  • PHEVs: about 362,000 (up about 80%)
  • Total: 980,737 (up 46%)

Plug-in electric car sales in China – December 2023

In 2023, more than 8 million new plug-in electric cars were registered in China (up roughly 46% year-over-year), about 37% of the total volume (compared to 30% in 2022, 15% in 2021 and 6.3% in 2020).

This is a massive volume—higher than all plug-in car registrations in the rest of the world combined—and a very high market share. All-electric cars alone accounted for about 25% of the market (compared to 22% in 2022, 12% in 2021 and 5.1% in 2020).

Plug-in hybrids increased their market share by an order of magnitude in three years, from 1.2% in 2020, to 3% in 2021, 8% in 2022, and 12% in 2023.

Plug-in car registrations in 2023 (YOY change):

  • BEVs: about *5.34 million and 25% market share
  • PHEVs: about *2.75 million and 12% market share
  • Total: 8,095,078 (up 37%) and 37% market share

* estimated from the market share

For reference, in 2022, over 5.92 million new passenger plug-in electric cars were registered in China (30% of the total volume).

More growth is expected in 2024, although probably not at such a fast rate. We guess that the new target will be 10,000,000 sales in 2024.

Model rank

In December, the top-selling plug-in electric car (and top-selling car overall) was the BYD Song family with 72,182 new registrations. The Tesla Model Y, with over 60,000 units, was second, followed by several other BYD models.

Top 10 plug-ins in December:

  1. BYD Song Plus: 72,182 (14,011 BEVs + 58,171 PHEVs)
  2. Tesla Model Y: 60,055
  3. BYD Qin Plus: 41,142 (11,963 BEVs + 29,179 PHEVs)
  4. BYD Seagull: 41,012
  5. BYD Yuan Plus (aka Atto 3): 30,799
  6. Wuling Bingo: 27,458
  7. BYD Dolphin: 26,814
  8. Aito M7 EREV: 25,545
  9. Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV: 25,015
  10. GAC Aion Y: 22,678

In 2023, the BYD Song Plus family became the top-selling nameplate with 627,731 registrations. The Tesla Model Y had 456,394 registrations, which is the top result among all-electric cars and second in the overall plug-in car segment.

The BYD Qin Plus family was third overall, followed by three all-electric BYDs: Yuan Plus (338,490), Dolphin (334,800) and Seagull (253,664).

Top 10 plug-ins in January-December:

  1. BYD Song Plus: 627,731 (92,983 BEVs + 534,748 PHEVs)
  2. Tesla Model Y: 456,394
  3. BYD Qin Plus: 434,910 (123,170 BEVs + 311,740 PHEVs)
  4. BYD Yuan Plus (aka Atto 3): 338,490
  5. BYD Dolphin: 334,800
  6. BYD Seagull: 253,664
  7. Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV: 237,878
  8. GAC Aion Y: 235,717
  9. BYD Han: 227,705 (106,904 BEVs + 120,801 PHEVs)
  10. GAC Aion S: 220,904

* BEV and PHEV versions of the same models were counted together in the source.

The Tesla Model 3 was 12th with 146,910 units but besides that and the Model Y, no other foreign EVs were able to break into the top 20 in China in 2023.

Brands

BYD dominates the Chinese plug-in market with a huge 33.8% share in the plug-in car segment (35.5% when including its satellite brands). BYD is also the best-selling car brand in China for 2023.

Top brands by share in the plug-in segment in January-December:

  • BYD: 33.8%
  • Tesla: 7.5%
  • GAC Aion: 6.0%
  • SAIC-GM-Wuling: 5.8%
  • Li Auto: 4.7%
  • Changan: 4.3%
  • Geely: 4.1%

Top automotive groups by share in the plug-in segment in January-December:

  • BYD: 35.5%
    including Denza, Fang Cheng Bao and Yangwang brands
  • SAIC: 7.5%
    including the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture (between SAIC, GM, and Liuzhou Wuling Motors)
  • Tesla: 7.5%
  • Geely-Volvo: 7.1%
  • GAC: 6.5%
  • Changan: 4.8%
  • Li Auto: 4.7%
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