Global electric vehicle (EV) sales surged 39% to 3.1 million last year, despite overall passenger vehicle sales falling by 14%.

More than half of global EV sales are in China, which makes it the largest electric vehicle market in the world, surpassing Europe and the United States combined.

However, the best-selling Chinese EVs are relatively low-end, such as the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV and Baojun E300. Without Chinese government's subsidies, these EVs would find it difficult to maintain sales growth.

China EV market 2020 ranking

In terms of quality, the US market is much better, but prospects are uncertain - only Tesla appears profitable. Among the 10 best-selling vehicles, Tesla accounted for four with the Model 3 on top with 95,135 units, followed by Model Y with 71,344 units. Even the more expensive Model X and Model S are ranking fourth and fifth respectively.

Chris Jones, chief analyst of Canalys said: “Although the US is the base of Tesla, the sales of EV only accounts for 2.4% of overall passenger vehicle. Even with the US government’s support, the situation will not be changed overnight.”

US EV market statistics

Coincidentally, Business Daily reported that in 2020, Germany has replaced the US as the world's second largest EV market. Volkswagen has sold a total of 422,000 EVs last year, becoming the second- largest EV manufacture in the world. and other German automakers are catching up quickly as well - BMW ranked fourth overall with 193,000, and Daimler ranked sixth with 163,000.

The success of EVs in 2020 is just the beginning. As the EU's requirements for emission standards are becoming stricter, EV will be more welcomed in the future. However, government subsidies and tax cuts are still crucial, and manufacturers must build more market-oriented EVs to maintain sales growth.