China Has Fueled an Electric Vehicle Boom This Year Due to Strong Demand for Hybrids

tendata blogTrade Trends News

ten data blog17-05-2024

A report by Counterpoint Research shows that electric vehicle sales have risen sharply this year, led by growth in China, especially strong demand for hybrids.

The report, released on May 13, shows that global sales of electric vehicles, including both pure electric vehicles (BEVs) and hybrids, rose 18 percent in the first three months of 2024 compared to the same period last year. Sales of hybrids with both electric motors and internal combustion engines far outpaced those of all-battery alternatives, up 46 percent year-over-year. Sales of all-electric vehicles were up 7 percent.

Counterpoint research analyst Abhik Mukherjee said in the report, “The cheaper upfront cost of hybrids compared to battery-electric vehicles and the availability of fuel tanks to eliminate mileage anxiety are the main reasons for the high demand for hybrids.”

The data comes on the heels of recent reports indicating that hybrid adoption is now outpacing that of all-electric vehicles due to concerns about weak resale values for hybrids and the possibility that current all-electric vehicle technology may soon become obsolete.

According to the report, “It makes more sense for consumers to purchase moderately priced hybrids because they are] comparable or less expensive than most battery-electric vehicles.”

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China Extends Lead

Chinese companies are huge beneficiaries of the growing demand for EVs, especially those selling pure EVs and hybrids.

According to Counterpoint, electric vehicle sales in China grew 28 percent in the first quarter of 2023 as an ongoing price war depressed costs for consumers.

China's largest EV maker, BYD, saw hybrid sales rise 7% in the first three months of the year and accounts for nearly a third of the global hybrid market, followed by Geely Holding and Ideal Motors. The U.S. has the second highest EV sales in the world, followed by Europe. However, while overall U.S. EV sales grew 2 percent, pure EV sales fell 3 percent in the quarter.

Tesla, the leading U.S. electric vehicle manufacturer that produces only pure electric vehicles, saw a 9% year-over-year sales decline in the first quarter. In the first quarter of 2024, it remained the world's No. 1 seller of pure electric vehicles, with a 19 percent market share. BYD and Volkswagen hold 15% and 6% shares, respectively.

Of the big three pure electric car makers, only BYD saw growth, with sales up 13 percent, while Tesla and Volkswagen sales fell 9 percent and 4 percent, respectively, the report said.

BYD's strong performance stems from the company's aggressive global expansion. The company exported nearly 100,000 electric vehicles last quarter, up 152 percent year-on-year, driven by shipments to Southeast Asia, the report said.

Liz Lee, associate director at Counterpoint, said BYD's stellar exports underscored the growing global demand for electric vehicles, including hybrids, a market that is “expected to grow significantly”.

She added: “Signs of an economic slowdown are also looming, with annual growth likely to fall below 20 percent.” She noted that companies such as Tesla are facing declining interest in all-electric vehicles.

An April Gallup Poll found that fewer than half of U.S. adults (44 percent) say they are seriously considering or might consider buying an electric car, which is down from 55 percent in 2023. Meanwhile, the percentage of those who don't plan to buy an electric car rose from 41% to 48%.

Other headwinds for the market could include increased protectionist measures in 2024, with both the European Union and the U.S. reportedly imposing new tariffs on electric vehicle imports from China.

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