Last year, some 9.6 million electric cars were sold worldwide. This total excludes plug-in hybrids and range-extenders, as well as hydrogen-powered cars. The number of BEVs has increased by 30% since 2022, which is no mean feat given the difficulties the sector is currently experiencing.

Growth has been mainly driven by China, which has stimulated NEVs (New Energy Vehicles), followed by Europe, the United States, South Korea and other smaller markets such as Thailand, India and some Latin American markets.

The adoption of electric cars is therefore proceeding at two different speeds: Chinese speed, where it is virtually compulsory to buy and drive an electric car (mainly because of the bureaucratic complications involved in buying a combustion car), and non-Chinese speed, where doubts about the economic and social potential of a 100% electric car are growing.

Tesla tops the world rankings

As predicted in an article published in January, Tesla (and not BYD) has been confirmed as the world's leading manufacturer of electric cars in 2023. The American brand delivered almost 1.81 million units worldwide, increasing its share of the global BEV market from 17.8% to 18.9%, mainly thanks to the success of the Model Y in all markets.

China's BYD came second, but recorded a bigger increase in market share, selling 1.57 million electric cars, 80% more than in 2022. In addition to its strong performance in China, BYD achieved excellent results in markets such as South-East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Central Asia. It has also arrived in Europe with the BYD Atto 3.

The top ten electric car manufacturers in 2023 (worldwide sales of pure electric cars)

The top ten electric car manufacturers in 2023 (worldwide sales of pure electric cars)

In China, BYD is very popular, mainly thanks to the success of Han (it is present on practically every street in Beijing and Shanghai), Song and Qin. BYD's share of the global BEV market is set to rise from 11.9% in 2022 to 16.4% in 2023.

In third place is the Volkswagen Group, with 769,000 units. Here, the increase in share has been more moderate, rising from 7.9% in 2022 to 8% in 2023.

While Volkswagen's ID models have struggled in China and the US, and to some extent in Europe, Audi has performed well with its e-tron models, but has not matched the results achieved by BMW and Mercedes. It's also worth noting that while China accounts for 52% of global BEV sales, the Volkswagen Group's pure electric models only account for 23% of the total.

BMW has overtaken Stellantis

BMW Group, the 13th largest in the world, has sold more electric cars than Stellantis, the 4th largest in the world.

The German manufacturer delivered 376,000 BEVs compared with 323,300 from Stellantis. Mercedes comes next, with 315,300 units, 95% more than in 2022.

The top ten electric car brands in 2023 (worldwide sales of pure electric cars)

The top ten electric car brands in 2023 (worldwide sales of pure electric cars)

The author of the article, Felipe Munoz, is an automotive industry specialist at JATO Dynamics.