Tesla’s Model Y seen climbing sales ranks as EVs head for 10 million mark

A VW showroom in Berlin featuring several electric models.

Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg

At the beginning of each year, our analyst team at BloombergNEF pauses to reflect on what happened in our industry and gather our thoughts on what to expect in the coming 12 months. Here are some developments we’ll be watching carefully in the electric-vehicle market:

Everybody likes a nice, round number, and 2022 should deliver a big one. We’re expecting just over 10 million plug-in vehicle sales this year — around 14% of all global vehicle sales — up from 6.6 million in 2021 and 3.2 million in 2020. This includes plug-in hybrids, but most sales will be pure electrics.

Sales will be driven by a growing number of competitive models, tighter emissions regulations, subsidies, and fleet purchases.

China is set to dominate again this year, with almost 6 million global EV sales for 2022, according to our projections. The China market finished 2021 on a high note with over half a million EVs sold in December. China has steadily lowered purchase subsidies that are set to expire in 2023, so figures for the final quarter of this year will likely be very strong.

The U.S. lags far behind China and Europe on EV adoption, but it should get a big boost this year with new electric truck models, including the Ford F-150 Lightning, hitting the market and a refreshed federal EV tax credit.

Tesla finished 2021 with more than 936,000 EV sales for the year, an 87% increase from 2020. With new production coming on line near Berlin and Austin, Texas, and expanded capacity in both Fremont, California, and Shanghai, Tesla will break records again. We expect the Model Y to be the world’s best-selling EV this year at almost 800,000 units sold. If Tesla can achieve this, it would be a watershed moment for the global auto industry, with an EV cracking the top five best-selling vehicles in the world. There’s still room to run at the very top, though — the trusty Toyota Corolla regularly punches in well above 1 million units a year.

It’s not all about passenger cars. Sales of commercial EVs will accelerate in 2022, rising about 75%. We expect 260,000 all-electric vans will be sold, up from an estimated 154,000 in 2021, with large fleet orders underpinning most of these sales. A broad base of light-duty commercial vehicle models is now available from the most of the leading car makers, including Daimler, General Motors’s BrightDrop, Ford, Renault and Stellantis, as well as from several startups. Europe and China are likely to dominate commercial sales again this year. In the U.S., sales have been minimal so far, but there’s no shortage of corporate orders, and deliveries should pick up soon. Deliveries of larger commercial EVs are still small but also are rising quickly.

Bumps in the road

With EV sales booming, attention is shifting to the remaining areas that could still slow down adoption: charging infrastructure and battery materials. One picture is rosy, the other less so.

–By Colin McKerracher (Bloomberg)

–With assistance from Kyle Stock.

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