Plug-in electric car sales in China increased again in May, reaching the third-highest monthly level ever and a record market share.

According to EV Volumes' data, shared by researcher Jose Pontes, 816,875 new passenger plug-in electric cars were registered in China in May. That's about 33% more than a year ago. More importantly, the market share improved to 47%, compared to 35% in May 2023.

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Will plug-in cars be in the majority soon?

In May, 47% of new car registrations were all-electric or plug-in hybrid. Soon, the share should cross 50%, so plug-ins will be in the majority in the world's largest car market.

All-electric car registrations increased by 22% year-over-year to roughly 515,000 in May, representing about 29% of the country's total volume and 63% of all plug-ins.

However, plug-in hybrids are growing much faster at a 55% rate, reaching roughly 302,000 units and an 18% share in May.

It's clear that in a matter of months, we might see plug-ins taking over the Chinese car market and reaching a 50+ percent share. Plug-ins already dominated the list of the most popular models, pushing the top internal combustion engine models to 5th and 8th position overall.

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

  • BEVs: about *515,000 (up 22%) and 29% market share
  • PHEVs: about *302,000 (up 55%) and 18% market share
  • Total: 816,875 (up 33%) and 47% market share

* estimated from the market share

Plug-in electric car sales in China – May 2024

During the first five months of the year, more than 3.3 million new plug-in electric cars were registered in China (up roughly 32% year-over-year). That's about 41% of the total car market.

Plug-in car registrations January-May (YOY change):

  • BEVs: about *2.07 million and 26% market share
  • PHEVs: about *1.30 million and 15% market share
  • Total: 3,355,993 (up 32%) and 41% market share

* estimated from the market share

For reference, in 2023, more than 8 million new plug-in electric cars were registered in China (46% more than in 2022), which was about 37% of the total volume (compared to 30% in 2022, 15% in 2021, and 6.3% in 2020).

As we wrote previously, considering the year's strong start, 2024 should be even better, most likely above 10 million units (most of the sales happen in the second half of the year).

BYD Seagull

BYD Seagull

Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model Y

Model rank

The top-selling cars in China are plug-ins—BYD Song family (55,552), BYD Qin Plus family (48,668), Tesla Model Y (39,985) and BYD Seagull (33,544). The first non-rechargeable nameplate is the Nissan Sylphy with 31,600 units in May.

Chinese models dominate the list of most popular rechargeable cars, as only two Teslas managed to get into the top 20 out of foreign models.

Top 10 plug-ins in May:

  1. BYD Song: 55,552 (12,822 BEVs + 42,730 PHEVs)
  2. BYD Qin Plus: 48,668 (17,100 BEVs + 31,568 PHEVs)
  3. Tesla Model Y: 39,985
  4. BYD Seagull: 33,544
  5. BYD Destroyer 05 (PHEV): 24,690
  6. BYD Yuan Plus (aka Atto 3): 24,646
  7. BYD Han: 17,240 (9,337 BEVs + 7,904 PHEVs)
  8. Aion Y: 17,190
  9. Aito M9: 16,462 (1,738 BEVs + 14,724 PHEVs)
  10. Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV: 16,441

After the first five months, the BYD Song family and the BYD Qin family extended their advantage over others. The Tesla Model Y outpaced the BYD Seagull, trying to defend its first among all-electric cars.

Top 10 plug-ins in January-May:

  1. BYD Song: 246,772 (41,628 BEVs + 205,144 PHEVs)
  2. BYD Qin Plus: 202,471 (57,712 BEVs + 144,759 PHEVs)
  3. Tesla Model Y: 166,707
  4. BYD Seagull: 132,660
  5. BYD Yuan Plus (aka Atto 3): 94,367
  6. Aito M7 (EREV): 89,039
  7. BYD Destroyer 05 (PHEV): 77,209
  8. BYD Han: 75,369 (29,136 BEVs + 36,233 PHEVs)
  9. Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV: 73,101
  10. BYD Dolphin: 59,098

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

Brands

BYD continues to dominate the Chinese plug-in market, with a 29.7% share in the plug-in car segment (31.9% when including its satellite brands), which is not expected to change soon.

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

  • BYD: 29.7%
  • Tesla: 6.6%
  • SAIC-GM-Wuling: 5.1%
  • Aito: 4.5%
  • Geely: 4.4%
  • Li Auto: 4.3%

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

  • BYD: 31.9%
    including Denza, Fang Cheng Bao and Yangwang brands
  • Geely-Volvo: 8.3%
  • SAIC: 7.7%
    including the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture (between SAIC, GM, and Liuzhou Wuling Motors)
  • Tesla: 6.6%
  • Changan: 6.5%
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