Global sales of EVs look set to break new records in 2023, with a new report claiming that the market will grow by 35% and that electric cars will account for almost a fifth of total car sales by the end of the year.
The International Energy Agency reckons around 14 million vehicles will find homes, with China (which accounted for 60% of global EV sales in 2022) continuing to lead the charge, followed by Europe and the US.
It’s a similar picture when it comes to the global production of EVs, with China in pole position.
In 2022, more than 10 million EVs were manufactured for the first time ever, with Tesla still leading the way (1.31 million vehicles). However, Chinese car giant BYD is catching up fast. It built 1.85 million vehicles (pure electric and plug-in hybrids) – making it the world’s largest producer of rechargeable cars.
If you’ve ever wondered where some of the most popular electric vehicles are produced, we’ve taken a look at 10 key countries manufacturing EVs…
Not only is China the world’s biggest producer of electric vehicles, it’s also the largest market. As well as making some familiar models such as the MG range, Polestar 2, Citroen C5 X and BMW iX3, there are also Chinese newcomers to the UK market including the ORA Funky Cat and BYD (Build Your Dreams) Atto 3. Additionally, many familiar brands, such as Tesla, Volvo, Nissan and Smart, have plants in China or have set up joint ventures. Scores of other EV models are made in China by companies few in the UK have heard of, such as Lynk and Co, Nio, Omoda, HiPhi and Zeekr.
Electric mobility is booming in India, but unlike most major countries, the market is dominated by two and three-wheel vehicles instead of passenger cars. That said, Indian car giants, Mahindra and Tata are both producing small EVs. In fact, it’s worth remembering that Tata produced one of the world’s first mass-produced electric cars way back in 2001. Known as the G-Wiz in the UK, this weird microcar was once a familiar sight in central London. Fast forward to 20233, and homegrown Indian EVs include the XUV400 and E Verito from Mahindra, and Tata’s Nexon, Tigor and Tiago.
Currently, EV production in France is largely concentrated around four plants – Poissy (Stellantis) and Renault’s factories at Douai, Maubeuge and Flins-sur-Seine. Home-produced electric cars include the Renault Zoe, DS 3 E-Tense, Renault Megane E-Tech, Renault Kangoo and Opel (Vauxhall) Mokka. Within the next few years, the new all-electric Renault 4, 5 and Scenic will also go into production in France, along with more models from Stellantis.
The UK car industry was once the second biggest in the world. It’s declined since then, but more than 775,000 vehicles still rolled off production lines in 2022 and an increasing amount are zero emissions. Nissan produces the Leaf in Sunderland, BMW manufactures the MINI Electric in Oxford, while the Chinese-owned London Electric Vehicle Company (it makes the EV version of the iconic black TX electric taxi, as well as the VN5 van) made its 10,000th vehicle at its plant in Coventry in March 2023. In the future, there are high hopes that Jaguar, Land Rover, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin and Lotus will produce their next-generation electric models in the UK.
Europe’s biggest car market is naturally also home to production bases for BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche and Opel. Popular EVs made in Germany include the Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.Buzz, BMW i4, Mercedes-Benz EQA, Porsche Taycan and Opel (Vauxhall) Astra Electric. In the future, Ford’s all-electric Explorer and MINI’s next-gen zero emissions SUV will both be built in Germany, too.
Think America and most people would name Tesla as the most important homegrown EV brand. And that’s correct – in the first quarter of 2023 alone, Tesla produced more than 440,000 vehicles. Other big-selling American EVs include the Ford F-150 Lightning, Chevrolet Bolt and Mustang Mach-E, though interestingly, the latter is made in Mexico. Lesser-known US electric vehicle makers include Lucid, Rivian and Hummer. Additionally, companies from Europe and Asia use the US as a production base. For instance, South Korea’s Hyundai has started production of the battery-powered version of its upmarket Genesis GV70 SUV model in Montgomery, Alabama, Volkswagen makes its ID.4 at a plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Nissan produces the Leaf in Smyrna, Tennessee.
Not a lot of people know that the Jaguar I-Pace is built in Austria, which has become a hub for other manufacturers. For instance, American EV company Fisker is making its Ocean SUV at a carbon-neutral facility in Graz, while UK company INEOS Automotive (which already makes the old-school Grenadier off-roader in Austria) is planning to build an electric SUV there, too.
It may be one of the world’s biggest car-producing nations, but relatively few EVs are currently manufactured in Japan. In a joint venture, the Toyota bZ4X, Lexus RZ and Subaru Solterra are all manufactured in the same plant at Motomachi. Elsewhere, the Honda e is made in Saitama and the Mazda MX-30 is produced in Hiroshima. As well as production bases in the UK and the US, Nissan produces the Leaf at its plant in Yokosuka, Kanagawa, while the bigger Ariya SUV is manufactured in Japan and China.
Spain has long been an important automotive production hub. Stellantis produces 100% electric cars at each of its three Spanish plants. For instance, the Peugeot e-2008 (Vigo), Citroen e-C4/e-C4 X (Madrid) and the Vauxhall Corsa Electric (Zaragoza). Significantly, the Volkswagen Group has big plans for Spain. In addition to building a ‘gigafactory’ in Valencia, it’s planning to build a total of four new small electric cars for the VW, Skoda, Seat and Cupra brands at two plants in Spain.
Volvo’s plant in Ghent currently manufactures the pure electric XC40 and C40, while Audi’s factory in Brussels produces the Audi Q8 e-tron.