The EV Space in 2022: To infinity and beyond

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

With many electric vehicles coming into the market soon from legacy and new auto makers, analysts at Bank of America Securities expect this year to be a “tipping point” for EVs, although higher prices will remain a deterrent to the bulk of consumers.

The year 2022 “marks the beginning of commercialisation of electric vehicles as many start-up EV vehicle makers plan up new product launches and many existing automakers are also starting their product launches,” analysts said in a note on Wednesday.

The BoA analysts said they expect about 1 million EVs to be sold in the US this year, which will increase to around 1.8 million in 2023 and 3 million in 2024, which means EV penetration this year is around 6%, up from 11% in 2023 and 16% in 2024.

Impressive as that is, it does mean the US will remain China in terms of EV sales for the next three years at least and probably more seeing Chinese sales (they are called new energy vehicles, or NEVs) were 3.3 million in 2021. The NEV market share in China rose to 21.3% of total sales in December, and 15.7% in 2021 as a whole – up from 5.8% in 2020.

The analysts named Tesla, Ford and GM TSLA as the main gainers.

Ford and GM are down to start expanding production and sales of EVs in 2022 and 2023 and the report suggests that Tesla faces the biggest threat from expanded EV output and sales from incumbent car makers


Tesla has ambitions for another significant boost to output this year after 2021’s record surge to nearly a million deliveries; Ford and GM likewise for later this year and 2023, while Chinese companies led by BYD have revealed ambitious output and sales plans for 2022 and 2023.

And investors should realise that these upbeat plans are good news for the major renewable commodities, led by lithium, copper, nickel and rare earths.

While other car makers struggled to limit falls in production in 2021 because of the shortage of valuable computer chips and other components, Tesla lifted its deliveries by a huge 87%.

No other western carmaker can get claim to have gotten anywhere near that figure and although it hasn’t given any hint about 2022, some analysts are forecasting rises of 30% to 50% in production and deliveries this year.

Tesla has had problems and executives, from CEO Elon Musk down, complained several times about shortages of components and warned that production and deliveries could be hit in the closing months of 2021, But that clearly wasn’t a major problem in the end

Tesla says it boosted year sales to 936,172 for 2021, up sharply from 2020’s then record 499,647 as it reported a record quarterly high of 308,600 deliveries for the three months to December, up nearly 30% from the previous quarter.

Tesla delivered a record 70,602 vehicles in China in easily topping the previous record of 52,153 set in the three months to September.

Total deliveries in China last year jumped 117% to 321,000 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.

The total figure for the December quarter was the first-time deliveries had topped 300,000 in a quarter – the 241,300 delivered in the three months to September was Tesla’s previous best quarter.

It was the sixth consecutive quarter that Tesla has reported record deliveries.

According data firm, FactSet, Wall Street analysts had forecast Tesla deliveries of 267,000 in the fourth quarter and 897,000 for all of 2021.

Deliveries are the closest approximation of sales reported by the company.

This year the company is looking to new factories in Texas and Berlin – which will use new vehicle technologies and new teams – to boost output.

Tesla said in October that it was looking to build its first production cars at both facilities by the end of 2021, but it is not known whether it met that target.

Tesla did not respond to media questions about the state of both plants.

The Berlin factory had initially been scheduled to begin production last summer but was delayed by various problems, including Tesla’s dissatisfaction with Germany’s labour laws and other regulations.

Analysts at Deutsche Bank said in a report on New Year’s Eve that it expected Tesla to make nearly 1.5 million vehicle deliveries this year, although the chip shortage remained a key concern.

Tesla’s market value reached more than $US1.25 trillion in November in the wake of rental car company Hertz saying it had ordered 100,000 of its vehicles.

The company’s shares fell back under the $US1 trillion mark for a short while after Musk wrote on Twitter in November that he was considering selling 10% of his stake in Tesla and then proceeded to sell billions of dollars in shares and exercise millions of options in a major revamp of its shareholding position.

The shares steadied and rose in December to take the year’s rise to 49.7%, ending 2021 at $US1,062.60.


And BYD, China’s leading NEV maker (New Energy Vehicles which include purely electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) has reported NEV sales surged 218.3% in 2921 from the depressed 2020 level to 603,783 units.

Total vehicle sales (which include ICE-powered vehicles) climbed to 740,131 units last year from 426,972 units, while output leapt to 747,540 units from 427,672 units.

BYD said it maintained momentum in December with continued strong market demand for its NEVs when it sold a total of 93,945 NEVs, up from 28,841 units in the same month a year ago.

Chinese media reports late last year forecast that BYD is targeting sales of electric vehicles and other “new energy vehicles” of up to 1.2 million in 2022, which would be a near doubling on 2021’s level and bring it closer to neck and neck status with Tesla.

If BYD is able to meet its targeted sales figures, the company would account for roughly a quarter of all NEV sales in China this year, with total forecast NEV sales expected to reach around 4.5 to 5 million units up from an expected 3.2 million in 2021.


Ford has boosted its production targets for what is shaping as its key US EV – the F-150 Lightning and a key passenger vehicle – an electric version of its Mustang.

Ford now says that it had doubled its production for the all-electric pickup truck to 150,000 vehicles a year by 2023 from the earlier figure of around 80,000 a year.

This was after the car giant revealed in mid-December that it had capped its initial order list at 200,000 because of fears it would not be able to ramp up fast enough.

The news comes as the automaker prepares to start making and shipping its new EV in the first half of 2022.

Production of both the F-150 Lightning and F-150 Lightning Pro for commercial customers has entered its final pre-build stage at the company’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan.

The number of electric F-150s Ford planned to sell in its first few years of production has been revised upwards since the first estimate of 40,000 a year was released in early 2021.

That was boosted to 80,000 mid-year by early 2023, now its 150,000 a year by mid-2023.

Ford is also looking to triple annual production of its popular Mustang Mach-E electric crossover vehicle to more than 200,000 by 2023 as it tries to match output to rising order numbers.

All over Ford reckons it will have the annual capacity to build 600,000 electric vehicles globally within two years, when it aims to become “the clear No. 2 electric vehicle maker in North America” behind Tesla, which last year sold more than 900,000 EVs. Ford sold 2.04 million vehicles in North America in 2021.


Globally the Volkswagen Group sold a record number of around 762,400 plug-in electric vehicles (up 80.6% from 2020’s 422,000, which was 8.6% (a new high) of the company’s total volume (9,305,000; down 4.5% for the year).

VW nearly doubled all-electric vehicle sales to a new record of 452,900 and 5.1% of the total volume (compared to 2.5% in 2020). Plug-in hybrid sales expanded by about 61% to nearly 310,000.

VW said that in Western Europe, 10.5% of its sales were all-electric vehicles (compared to 6.2% a year ago). In Germany, Volkswagen Group’s BEV share out of the total volume was higher at 11.4%.

In North America, Volkswagen Group tripled its BEV sales and has become the second-largest automotive group for BEVs with 37,200 units sold in the that country behind Tesla.


Judging by the 2021 sales performance for electric vehicles in key markets, it’s no wonder lithium is in great demand with prices firm and expected to firm further this year.

Europe saw a gangbuster month in December with record sales, as did China – that’s the two leading markets for EVs at the moment.

As expected Chinese numbers for sales of so-called new energy vehicles (or NEVs) boomed in 2021 and look like repeating that performance this year, even though prospective purchasers face a cut in tax subsidies.

This year, the incentive to buy an electric car in China will be reduced by 30% compared to 2021. In 2023, the direct subsidies will be completely removed, at least if nothing serious happens in the economy in the meantime.

Some analysts think the sluggish health of the Chinese economy could very well see a further extension of the subsidy later this year.

The China Association of Automobile Makers (CAAM) reported that 3.334 million new energy passenger vehicles were sold in the country in 2021, up 167.5% from Covid-hit 2020.

Of these, battery electric vehicle sales were 2.734 million, up 173.5% year-on-year, and plug-in hybrid sales were 600,000, up 143.2% year-on-year.

China’s new energy commercial vehicle sales in 2021 totalled 186,000 units, up 54% year-on-year.

The big rise in NEV sales is why China saw a small rise in total vehicles produced and sold 26.082 million and 26.275 million vehicles, respectively, in 2021, up 3.4 percent and 3.8 percent year-on-year, ending a three-year decline, the MIIT said.

Last month, CAAM said it expects NEV sales growth to slow sharply in 2022 from 20121 to ‘just’ 47% to 5 million.

The sharp rise in NEV sales will see total automobile sales rise a modest 5.4% to 27.5 million this year, meaning two successive years of growth in the total market, something that hasn’t happened since 2016 and 2017.

But with Covid infections – both delta and omicron variants – still a major concern in China, any tightening of movement or restrictions on public activity, such as retailing (car outlets) could crunch vehicles sales.

China’s auto sales in December fell 1.6% from the same month in 2020, the eight consecutive monthly drop, CAAM data showed.

In December alone, 531,000 NEVs were sold, representing a surge of 114% year-on-year. China has in recent years heavily promoted NEVs as part of its efforts to curb air pollution.

Most foreign automakers are behind their Chinese counterparts in designing smart cars that appeal. Tesla is the only foreign brand among the top 10.

Tesla delivered a record 70,602 vehicles in China in the December quarter easily topping the previous record of 52,153 set in the three months to September.

Total deliveries in China last year jumped 117% to 321,000 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.

Volkswagen said it missed its goal of selling 80,000 to 100,000 units from its ID battery electric series last year, having sold 70,625 vehicles, but that it would likely double sales this year.


The situation in Europe was more of the same – boom.

Last August saw for the first time ever, electric vehicle (EV) sales were ahead of diesel sales in Europe.

Electric and plug-in hybrid new car registrations equaled 21% or 151,737 vehicles in August, while in contrast, diesel engine vehicles slipped to 20% of total new car registrations.

That was an amazing turnaround considering that a year earlier, in August 2020 there were 158,300 more diesel registrations than EVs.

The Financial Times reported this week that more than a 20% of new cars sold across 18 European markets, including the UK, were powered exclusively by batteries, while diesel cars, including diesel hybrids, accounted for less than 19% of sales.

Because of generous government subsidies in Germany and elsewhere, as well as strict regulations introduced in 2020 that force EU manufacturers to sell more low-emissions vehicles, EV sales have been rising steadily.

The trend accelerated in the final quarter of 2021 as Tesla proved to be better able than rivals to adapt to shortages of computer chips to delivering a record 309,000 electric cars (a third of Tesla’s total global sales).

The FT also pointed out that European carmakers also pushed sales of electric vehicles in December to reduce their fleet-wide carbon footprint and avoid fines from Brussels, after prioritising the production of the most profitable models — mainly heavily polluting sports utility vehicles (SUVs) — during the supply chain crisis in most of 2020 and 2021.

As a result, 176,000 battery electric vehicles were sold in western Europe on December — an all-time record — and more than 6% higher than the number sold in December 2020. By comparison, nearly 160,000 diesels were sold in the last month of 2021.


Meanwhile electric vehicles (EVs) accounted for nearly two-thirds of all new car sales in Norway in 2021, putting the country well on the way to end all internal combustion engine (ICE) powered car sales by the 2025 deadline.

According to Norway’s Road Federation, an industry body, Norwegian dealerships sold a total of 176,276 cars in 2021, of which 65% were EVs. That’s an 11-percentage point increase from on 2020 when they accounted for 54% of all new car sales.

The Tesla Model 3 was the most popular choice among new buyers followed by Toyota’s hybrid RAV4, the only car with an internal combustion engine to make the country’s top-ten best-selling list.

The industry estimates new electric vehicle sales could make up as much as 80% of the country’s total car market in 2022 — as long as chip shortages don’t cause further shipping delays.

Much of what’s driving EV sales in Norway is the country’s generous subsidies. Car buyers don’t have to pay taxes imposed on traditional internal combustion engine vehicles when they buy an EV. That cost the country’s federal government around $US3.4 billion in lost tax revenues – the main cost of its push to end all petrol-powered car sales by 2025.


UK demand for electric cars jumped in 2021 with a record 11.6% or 190,000 of the 1.65 million cars sold last year being battery electric vehicles. That was up from just over 108,000 or 6.6% in the depressed 2020 year.

A further 7% of 2021 sales were plug-in hybrids and 8.9% full (or self-charging) hybrids. That means more battery electric vehicles were sold in 2021 in the UK than in the previous five years combined.

In December alone, electric cars made up 26% of sales, a record for a single month when car dealers were allowed to open during the Covid pandemic.

Tesla’s Model 3 became the first electric car to rank in the top 10 sales in the UK in 2021, coming in second behind the Vauxhall Corsa.


And in Australia? Hard to know, seeing as Tesla doesn’t report its sales data to the industry body, the Federated Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) because it doesn’t want to pay affiliation fees for the industry group and lobbyist.

The Chamber’s monthly and 2021 report, released in early January therefore is not an accurate guide.

The chamber said electric vehicles saw an increase of 191.1% on 2020 figures. However, battery-electric vehicles account for less than half a per cent of all new vehicles sold in Australia.  That total was 1,049,831 units, meaning total EV sales registered by the FCAI was less than 50,000 with most of those hybrids from Toyota (Prius, Lexus and Camry).

In NZ though Tesla is the top EV seller because sales there are registered nationally through the country’s registration body, unlike Australia with separate registries for state and territories.

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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