Superforecasts: Electric Vehicles

Superforecast: Electric Vehicles Sales

 15 December 2021
Good Judgment | Better Decisions
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What percentage of global light vehicle sales in 2021 will be battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)?

A: Less than 4.0% [blue]
B: Between 4.0% and 5.0%, inclusive [red]
C: More than 5.0% but less than 6.0% [gold]
D: Between 6.0% and 7.0%, inclusive [green]
E: More than 7.0% [purple]


Plot Key


Opened 26 February 2021

Environmental and sustainability concerns continue to drive a greater focus on electric vehicles. The outcome will be determined using data for 2021 from whenever it is first released in early 2022. The first-reported global BEV & PHEV share for 2020 was 4.2%.

Examples of Superforecaster commentary in italics


8 December 2021 – Global sales of electric cars accelerated in 2020 despite the pandemic, signaling the growing interest of drivers in clean transport options. Environmental and sustainability concerns continue to bring the potential of such vehicles into the spotlight. The Superforecasters as a group expect the percentage of electric vehicle sales to exceed 7.0% of global light vehicle sales in 2021. How far a vehicle can travel before it needs to be recharged, the production of batteries and materials, chip shortages, gas prices, and global work from home trends also contribute to the overall picture.



05 Dec 21 – Comment: I think we are at the stage where people who are ambiguous about whether EVs will be able to meet their needs are putting off buying new cars (especially diesel/petrol) to see if EV infrastructure improves enough over the next 6 months to offset their fears.

04 Dec 21 – Comment: Electric vehicles (EV), including battery electric and plug-in hybrids, made up 7.2% of global car sales in the first half of 2021, up from 2.6% in 2019 and 4.3% in 2020, according to new data from Bloomberg NEF.

30 Nov 21 – Comment: EV Volumes added information about final October sales. It looks like 622,350 BEV+PHEV. Even conservative assumptions on total EV sales for the year indicate that this will be over 7%.

16 Nov 21 – Comment: BloombergNEF report now expects some 5.6mn passenger EVs sold this year, almost double the number last year, making up almost 8% of all vehicle sales.

02 Nov 21 – Comment: Some Ford EVs require 3,000 microchips compared to 300 for its gasoline versions, so I think the chip shortage is very likely to disproportionately delay production of EVs by the end of 2021.

31 Oct 21 – Comment: All indicators continue to point to the fact that 2021 is a turning point.

28 Oct 21 – Comment: 702,900 EVs (including FCEV) were sold in September, a new all-time high, in an overall market that lost 20% compared to last September. China accounted for half of the EV sales. I believe that gives total sales through September of about 4.4mn. If 500k are sold each of the remaining months, total EVs will be around 5.9mn.

19 Oct 21 – Comment: Estimated share in August was 7.7%, with higher shares coming for Q4 this year. At the same time, total vehicle sales are down: -25% because of part shortages and low inventory. The denominator way only be 74mn.

19 Oct 21 – Comment: Looks like 2021 is the year EVs come of age.

15 Oct 21 – Comment: Increase in gas prices over the last couple of months could push more consumers towards EVs.

13 Oct 21 – Comment: EV sales in China (roughly 40% of total market) seem to be increasing rapidly, beyond EV-Volumes’ expectations. EV-Volumes also upped their forecast to 6.84mn plug-ins sold in 2021.

11 Oct 21 – Comment: EV sales are steadily increasing in Europe in spite of the pandemic financial problems.

04 Oct 21 – Comment: FT has a new series on electric vehicles, stating that EVs make up about 1% of the global fleet of passenger cars, “but sales are taking off rapidly.”

03 Oct 21 – Comment: EV-Volumes reported 8.6% BEV & PHEV’s share in H1 of 2021. August is in at 540k (about average for the past 6 months). Based on prior reporting history, Q3 should be available in early November.

03 Oct 21 – Comment: It’s becoming hard to see how it can be below 7.0%. EV-Volumes now expects 6.4mn vehicles (we need about 6mn to be about 7.0%, according to my model, conservatively assuming the total market grows by 12%). S&P expects 6.2mn. A risk factor that is looming large in my mind right now is the power outages and production curtailment across China. This could be reflected in November/December car deliveries. On the other hand, the August YoY growth was 116%, which is on track for “More than 7.0%.” Tesla’s Q3 deliveries compared favorably with the rest of the industry.

28 Sep 21 – Comment: S&P says EV sales are “on pace to more than double to a record 6.2mn units” and are at “nearly 9% of the global passenger vehicle market.”

21 Sep 21 – Comment: A couple of developments in the US bode poorly for “more than 7.0%,” but US is only a limited share of the global market (where EU and China dominate). Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning that: (1) the $3.5t bill is adding uncertainty, which is likely to dampen sales, because consumers who can afford to wait would like to see if the new tax credits get passed or not; (2) GM Bolt recall is bad for sales.

19 Sep 21 – Comment: A Chinese news source says Tesla had record sales.

12 Sep 21 – Comment: Chip shortage could affect the numbers.

10 Sep 21 – Comment: Latest data: “Plug-ins (BEV & PHEV) reached a combined 8.2% of July light vehicle sales in these 55 markets.” As a reminder, June was 8.4%, and the YTD in May was 5.9%, for a H1 of 6.3%. So, if the rest of H2 is anything close to July, we’d be over 7.0%.

07 Sep 21 – Comment: 498,600 BEV and PHEV were sold in July. That puts this at 3.16mn BEV+PHEV sales through the end of July.

02 Sep 21 – Comment: I agree with the other Superforecaster’s logic and the fact that EVs are easily competitive with ICE in every domain. The only issue is production capacity that may be holding this back and supply line issues for specific components.

27 Aug 21 – Comment: The challenge is finding data on global light vehicle sales that is consistent with the source for this question. So I back-calculated it from the EV Volumes data for 2020 share (4.2%) and number of BEVs and PHEVs (3.24mn). From there, I estimate the 2021 share based on the expected % growth in EVs and in total vehicle sales. Setting the % assumptions aside, this approach should be relatively robust unless the source retroactively changes its 2020 numbers or changes its methodology for calculating the 2021 share. Recent forecasts for global vehicle sales point toward roughly a 10% increase. Fitch has it at 12%. To be over 7.0%, EV growth would have to be 87% or more. The average so far this year (all of H1) is 170% growth. Additionally, last year the YoY growth was higher in H2. However, my update is somewhat cautious for now, due to possible policy-induced effects toward the end of the year.

19 Aug 21 – Comment: If is right in estimating 6.4mn sales for 2021, the percentage will blow by 7%.

17 Aug 21 – Comment: The forecast for the year increased again, to 6.4mn (back in April was 5.7mn).

10 Aug 21 – Comment: There’s a historical tendency for highest sales at end of year.

07 Aug 21 – Comment: EV sales have been robust; oil prices may push for even more in second half of year.

22 Jul 21 – Comment: June’s share was 8.4%. I am still putting more weight on the May YTD of 5.9% but keeping in mind that plug-in sales tend to be back-loaded later in the year.

04 Jul 21 – Comment: NZ is not one of the larger markets, but their numbers doubled.

02 Jul 21 – Comment: Final updated numbers for sales in May at EV-volumes give global BEV, PHEV, and FCEV sales share of 5.9% in global light vehicle sales. May came in at 6.9%.

29 Jun 21 – Comment: It is by no means a sure thing, but if a potential Clean Energy Bill is passed, suggested tax breaks may get car buyers thinking electric.

22 Jun 21 – Comment: Preliminary numbers for May – EV market share of 6.8%. Expecting 5.7mn EV and PHEV deliveries during 2021.

14 Jun 21 – Global plug-in electric vehicle market share reaches 5.8% in 2021. Comment: says for the global top-15 EV markets, the share was 8.3%.

11 Jun 21 – Comment: The May numbers are impressive for our question–23% of the new vehicle market. China’s figures, on the other hand, appear to be questionable thus far for May.

06 Jun 21 – Comment: What the Ford F-150 Lightning could do, within the timeframe of this question, is speed up the deployment of charging infrastructure (especially in suburbs) which has always been the sticking point for EVs. It will be interesting to see what happens if Europe, which has particularly high EV market share and has a more concentrated economic boom this summer than the US has been having over the last ~6 months.

01 Jun 21 – Comment: BEVs and PHEVs reached a combined 6.1% of April light vehicle sales. 5.7% for this article on electric cars.

01 Jun 21 – Comment: The BBC discusses why electric cars will take over “sooner than you think,” but I think the underlying reason is that EVs are simpler to manufacture and maintain. US EV sales were up in April compared to last year. Global EV sales were up substantially in April vs previous years, though down from March, and EV battery sales more than doubled in first 4 months of the year. We’ll have to see if any supply problems limit the growth.

31 May 21 – Comment: As long as Europe and China are experiencing double-digit growth in market share, as long as the US shows a modest increase, this is leaning toward a 6% share or more.

25 May 21 – Comment: Tesla seems to be doing great in the US, and VW is running away in Europe. China was at 10% in April (and that was the second month for double digits). Ford F-150 Lightning EV truck is pretty interesting – it could cannibalize US EV light vehicle sales. It doesn’t go on sale until next year – it’s possible some people might put off an EV purchase and plan on that instead.
Response: If Congress passes an EV stimulus bill this year, the start date of the rebates could move demand in or out depending on when it starts. I think the main constraint will be supply, however. Tesla sold its Q2 supply by May, with a delivery date due June or later.

25 May 21 – Comment: CAAM data show a strong growth for new energy vehicles in April. Caveat is that this includes hydrogen, but that should not impact the numbers materially.

20 May 21 – Comment: In addition to China, India’s EV sales took a month-over-month dip. I don’t know if this is an inflection point or a blip, but will continue to watch sales.

18 May 21 – Comment: Based on April data, it’s unclear if China EV market is growing. Chinese data on Tesla sales remain contradictory.

18 May 21 – Comment: China and Europe will be stronger than US. China postponed the end of its subsidy to 2022, so that will continue to be in play this year. American Jobs plan would boost EV market in US, though not sure how quickly this would be seen in marketplace. EV sales were 9% of car sales in CA so far this year. In 2020, they were just under 7.8% and in 2019, they were 6.84%. CA has accounted for about half of EV sales in the US.

11 May 21 – Comment: The latest round of analyses are slightly less optimistic than last year’s projections for several reasons, including weakening US policy and slightly slower projections of battery cost declines.

09 May 21 – Comment: Data from the first several months of the year points toward 6% or higher: Global BEV+PHEV sales have more than doubled. If EV sales double in 2021, then total car sales will have to go up by more than 20% for us to be at 7% or lower. This seems rather unlikely.

06 May 21 – Comment: Although this may not be a general trend, signs of a slowing in Britain are something to watch.

06 May 21 – Comment: Sales are booming.

03 May 21 – Comment: Total market share for BEVs and PHEVs in Europe for the first quarter is 13.7% The chip shortage could still have a negative effect on market share, but current indications are many manufacturers are shifting chips toward electric.

01 May 21 – Comment: On one hand, a lot of consumer demand with YoY growth exploding. On the other hand, chip constraints on production seem likely for this year.

29 Apr 21 – Comment: According to estimates from industry tracker EV-Volumes, plug-in electric vehicles accounted for 4.2% of global light vehicle sales last year, up from 2.5% in 2019. In Q1 2021, hybrid electric vehicles made up 18.4% of total passenger car sales in the EU, almost doubling their market share in a year.

24 Apr 21 – Comment: Two examples of manufacturers triaging scarce microchips away from internal combustion and toward electric are Daimler’s Mercedes and Volkswagen. Response: EVs are more profitable, at least under some government policies. This article gets into that aspect.

23 Apr 21 – Comment: This is starting to look like an inflection year for this topic. EVs grew to 7.8% of the US market in Q1. In France, passenger plug-ins “account for about 16.2% of the total new car market, which is one of the best results ever.”

21 Apr 21 – Comment: Global sales from 2020 were 4.2%. Predictions are for more than 7% in 2021. Big gains are expected in Europe and more modest gains in China.

16 Apr 21 – Comment: BEV and PHEV market share in China was 10% for Q1.

14 Apr 21 – Comment: Australia has been one of the electric car holdouts (along with the US), but electric car sales doubled there in Q1.

06 Apr 21 – Biden’s infrastructure plan calls for more EV chargers and incentives for buyers. Comment: News of increased sales (the global share of EVs in February rose to 7.5% from 5.5% a year earlier), with European markets currently holding the highest penetration rates of 12.9%, compared to China with 8.7% and the US with 3.2%. The big question is whether $174bn to support EVs, the single largest item in Biden’s infrastructure plan’s transportation section, will be included in the final infrastructure bill.

05 Apr 21 – Comment: In February, the European new car market contracted by 20%, while electric cars continued to gain market share.

04 Apr 21 – Comment: Current level is 4.2%. Increase in charging stations is single digits. Electrical distribution network global growth was 2.5% in 2020.

27 Mar 21 – Comment: Averaging 8.7% for the first two months of 2021 in China. In the US, in January, sales were 7.1% for electric vehicles. According to this, global EV sales in 2021 were roughly 5% of the market in Jan 2021. But they don’t provide numbers, so hard to exactly tell.

22 Mar 21 – China: Plug-in car sales up 600%. Comment: Moving higher after reading that Volkswagen has a target of 1mn electric vehicles this year, combined with the uptick in plug-in cars sold in China in Feb.

21 Mar 21 – Comment: Europe’s EV sales are expected to surge this year due to emissions standards and China’s EV market share in February was 8.2%. US market share will probably change little from 2020 and will serve to dilute the gains expected in Europe and China. Concerned about chip shortage, which is not easily solved.

17 Mar 21 – Comment: With 2020 at 4.2% already and the topic being top priority in Europe and China, I’m ruling out anything below 5%.

17 Mar 21 – Chinese Tesla rival Nio says global chip shortage will hit its electric car production. Comment: My guess is because automakers pull their profits from larger SUVs and light trucks, they will prioritize that segment, which reduces market share.

14 Mar 21 – Comment: This forecast is over 7%, but there is risk from component shortages.

10 Mar 21 – Comment: China’s emerging electric vehicle brands have reported strong sales last year. It is a significant part of the global market.

04 Mar 21 – Comment: With a post-COVID surge in demand worldwide, I wonder if there is enough supply of EVs. Low oil prices also dampen my optimism.

04 Mar 21 – Comment: 2017 – 1.3%; 2018 – 2.2%; 2019 – 2.5%; 2020 – 4.2%. Compounded growth of 48% annually, thus 6.2% in 2021. But trends are accelerating. On the other hand, I could see the urban consumers in Europe and US who would likely buy an electric car are the same people who would likely drop out of the marketplace and just telework.

02 Mar 21 – Comment: Using the year-on-year growth base rate of 5.88, it may be higher in 2021 because of the Democrat’s push for energy infrastructure.

02 Mar 21 – Comment: January 2021 sales of EV vehicles doubled from January 2020 and were roughly 5% of total market, with the lion’s share from China. Parts of China were already in heavy lockdown in January 2020, so that might be reason for the significant increase YoY.

01 Mar 21 – Comment: If 2020 saw 4.2% of the global market, and the base rate has been a steady several years of 40% YoY growth, that would give us 5.88% for 2021. Pent-up demand could push this above 6%, as a greater proportion of car sales could be from the EV market.

27 Feb 21 – Comment: Sales of BEVs and PHEVs have been growing by an average of 112% since 2005 and an average of 45% since 2016. Forecasts see growth between 30% and 70%. I think a doubling is not out of the picture either. Risks: (1) Biden administration policy could swing this either way. The administration will likely have a strong focus on EV policy and may extend the 200k limit on the federal tax credit for EVs. If that happens, we can expect a bump in sales of brands that are no longer eligible (Tesla and GM). On the other hand, if an extension is expected but doesn’t happen soon enough, we would see sales being deferred. (2) Current semiconductor shortage is causing production to ramp down. (3) Range and recharging remain issues. (4) Changes in Chinese subsidies will have a material impact as China is the largest market for EVs.

26 Feb 21 – Comment: In 2020, BEV and PHEV light vehicles were 4.2% of the global market, with increased sales despite an overall decrease in global sales in that market segment. EV sales are forecast to grow again in 2021. IHS Markit expects a 70% rise and Morgan Stanley expects a 50% rise. Some thoughts: (1) Post-pandemic, people returning to commuting in the US may prefer to do so by car. (2) People who ditch public transportation for a car may be more likely to buy an EV. (3) In the US, instead of headwinds, there will start to be more incentives for EVs again.

Copyright 2021 by Good Judgment Inc. This presentation is solely for informational purposes. The information contained herein are not to be construed as legal, business, investment or tax advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is provided with respect to the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of this presentation. The future is inherently uncertain, and investors should exercise prudence and their own judgment in making investment decisions. Neither Good Judgment nor any of its directors, employees, or agents accept any liability for any loss (direct or indirect), including investment loss, or damage arising out of the use of the information herein. Any opinions expressed in this document may change without prior notice.


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