Here Are The Countries Leading The EV Race

EV Ultimo Team


Here Are The Countries Leading The EV Race

The sales figures are an indication of a milestone in a market where battery electric vehicles, i.e., BEV sales have lagged for years due to mixed signals from the government, especially when compared with each country in the EV race. Here is a detailed listing of countries leading the EV race with some stats from 2021 to prove their leadership-


Sweden had the highest growth in BEV sales in Q4 2021 vs. Q4 2020, increasing by 74%. Austria boasted the highest growth rate for the whole of 2021, at 109%. In Sweden and the Netherlands, the ICE market share was overtaken for the first time in 2021, standing at 49% and 47% respectively. 

It has been revealed that 83.7% of all new cars sold across Norway in January 2022 were electric vehicles, well up on the 53% recorded for January 2021. With 19 of the top 20 vehicles coming with a cable, the record month for EV sales in Norway came at the same time as passenger car sales plummeted. Of the 7,957 new passenger vehicles registered in January, the record 83.7% refers only to fully electric vehicles, with 6,659 new EVs (and one hydrogen-powered EV) registered. New rechargeable vehicles totaled 910, accounting for 11.5% of new vehicles registered in January 2022.


Thus, with only 175 petrol engine vehicles registered in January and 212 diesel engine vehicles, non-electrified ICE vehicles accounted for only 4.8% of new vehicles registered in Norway during January. The bestselling car in Norway for January was the Audi Q4 E-tron with a total of 643 models delivered, Volkswagen ID.3s was second best with 125 models registered. More new Porsche Taycan electric cars than new petrol cars have been registered in one month into 2022.

Christina Bu, secretary general of the Norwegian Electric Car Association has expressed that Norwegian electric car success shows the way internationally, “It is a political responsibility to ensure that electric cars win the competition in the new car market. If the government eventually intends to phase in VAT on electric cars, this must be done very carefully and the strategy must be that new polluting cars also become more expensive.”


Sales in major European markets showed notable growth during the year. In the fourth quarter of 2021, BEV sales in the top 5 European markets grew by 25% from the corresponding period in 2020. Growth was highest in the UK (58%) and FRANCE (37%). Over 2021 as a whole, the highest increases were recorded in ITALY (107% – albeit from a comparatively low base), GERMANY (83%), and the UK (76%).

One in every 11 cars sold in the EU last year was fully electric as EV sales were boosted by EU CO2 targets for the second year running. The market share of plug-ins was 18.0% in 2021- with battery electric vehicles at 9.1% and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales at 8.9%. That’s up from 1.9% in 2019 - before the current EU CO2 standards were established. 

The diesel market reached a new low with only 20% of cars sales in the EU last year and will keep falling and be overtaken by BEV sales in 2022. Hybrids were 19.6% of sales while other alternative powertrains account for a negligible share of the market (2.8%) with a significant decrease in sales of CNG cars (-21%).

In ITALY, petrol and diesel engines continued their steep decline with a whopping 42% YoY reduction in total monthly registrations, putting their market shares at 26% and 20.6% respectively. Full and mild plug-less hybrids confirmed their popularity with a 30.1% market share, with modest gains in total registrations from a year ago. The combined share of plug-in hybrids and full electrics rose in December 2021 to a record-breaking 13.3%. It was a fantastic year of growth in a market renowned for its motoring legacy.

An analysis of the trajectory of respective market shares reveals the rapid decline of the internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle in these countries. In 2019, ICE market share for the European top 5 was 92%. By 2021, it had fallen to 60%. In the UK, it has decreased from 91% to 55% in the same period, and in Germany from 92% to 58%. It seems unavoidable that ICE vehicles will constitute a minority of the market in the EU & UK.


In 2021, Australia recorded a total of 24,078 EV sales, which was up strongly from the 6,900 sold in 2020. EVs now make up 2.39% of the new car market. Tesla sold 15,054 EVs in total in Australia in 2021, which accounted for 62.5% of all EVs sold. Following Tesla, the MG ZS had 1,388 EV sales, and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV had 592 sales.


Turkey, as a likely future BEV producer, has asserted major ambitions to become a leading BEV market. While the overall sales of BEVs (2,846 units) and PHEVs (871 units) in 2021 are rather dull compared with the biggest European markets, total EVs were able to increase their market share to 7.1% in 2021. EV sales also grew 135% YoY vs. 2020 in Turkey.

Meanwhile, the UNITED STATES BEV market, previously a sleeping giant in the electric vehicle race, is delivering promising signs of increased adoption of EV- even though Tesla, the #1 best selling car worldwide has its headquarters in the US. In Q4 2021, BEV sales increased by 50% in the United States compared to Q4 2020, while PHEV sales grew by 126%. Meanwhile, year-on-year growth for BEVs stood at 62% for 2021; for PHEVs it was 140%, and for hybrids it was 84%. Inroads into the ICE market share have to date been nowhere near as marked as in other regions of the world. At the end of 2021, ICE market share still stood at 91%.

For years slow EV sales were wrongly blamed on consumers, but now we know that when carmakers bring the models, demand follows. CO2 standards need to be more ambitious and more regular to stop EV sales from being relegated to the slow lane. There is reason to believe that consumers who last year considered buying a combustion engine vehicle, now choose to buy a zero-emission vehicle- mostly it is about CLIMATE ACTION NOW!