The Race to Lead the Electric Mobility Revolution

If you‘re curious about the companies powering the electric vehicle revolution, this insider‘s guide will bring you up to speed on the 10 automakers leading the charge right now based on 2022 worldwide EV sales.

Global EV adoption is accelerating, with plugin vehicles hitting 10 million units last year. As climate change concerns and gas prices drive consumer demand, traditional automakers are now joining new players in betting big on an all-electric future.

According to EV Volumes data, the EV market leaders among auto manufacturers are:

  1. Tesla
  2. BYD
  3. Volkswagen Group
  4. Stellantis
  5. SAIC-GM-Wuling
  6. BMW Group
  7. Mercedes-Benz
  8. Hyundai Motor Group
  9. GAC Group
  10. Chery

This mix of legacy car companies and tech-centric startups gives a glimpse into the powerful yet agile players poised to shape the future of mobility.

Tesla Still Leads in All-Electric Vehicles

Pioneer EV maker Tesla delivered 989,262 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) worldwide in 2022 – nearly double its closet rival BYD. Flagship models like the Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover dominate North American and Chinese markets.

However, Tesla‘s over 60% share of the global BEV market is declining year over year as new competitors scale production.

Company2022 BEV SalesMarket Share

To beat back its challengers, Tesla is expanding manufacturing capacity in Shanghai, Berlin, Austin, and Nevada while reportedly scouting a new factory location in Mexico.

China‘s BYD Accelerating as a Strong Contender

Shenzhen-based BYD (Build Your Dreams) sold over 1.4 million plugin EVs globally last year – mostly in its home market of China – shooting it to second place overall.

Fueled by Chinese government EV incentives and sprawling urbanization, BYD leverages vertical integration as an advantage. It manufactures its own EV batteries, semiconductors, and other components.

BYD‘s top-selling Han EV luxury sedan combines sports car acceleration with a 355 mile range. The brand plans European expansion soon via factories in Hungary and potentially Germany.

ModelRangeAccelerationBase Price
BYD Han EV355 miles0-60 mph in 3.9s$32,800

Volkswagen Bets Big on EVs Post-Emissions Scandal

Germany‘s largest automaker Volkswagen Group bounced back from its 2015 diesel emissions violation to sell over 319,000 plugin EVs worldwide last year.

Poised legacy models like the electric ID. Buzz microbus and sporty ID.4 crossover tap into VW brand loyalty. The company is investing $20 billion in EV manufacturing infrastructure across global production hubs over 5 years.

Volkswagen‘s recent partnerships with battery makers like China‘s Envision AESC strengthen its supply chain resilience.

Stellantis Focuses Jeep, Ram and Dodge Brands on EVs

Fresh off its 2021 merger creating the world‘s 4th largest automaker by volume, Amsterdam-based Stellantis delivered over 293,000 plugin EVs globally last year.

Jeep‘s trail-rated Wrangler 4xe takes the iconic off-roader into electric territory while the 2024 Ram 1500 Revolution BEV pickup promises to electrify America‘s bestselling vehicle.

Dodge meanwhile teases a future electric muscle car that can "eat Hellcats" in acceleration wars.

Stellantis backs up its swagger with an investment of over $35 billion through 2025 on vehicle electrification development and software.

Tiny Chinese City Cars Charge Up Global Sales

China-based SAIC-GM-Wuling sold over 400,000 plugin EVs globally in 2022, grabbing 5% market share. How did this little known joint venture top major manufacturers?

The answer is pint-sized, ultra-affordable EV "city cars" designed for crowded Chinese cities. Despite limitations like 2 seats and 110 mile range, zippy performance and purchase prices around $5,000 draw eager buyers.

ModelTop SpeedRange Per ChargeBase Price
Wuling Hongguang Mini EV60 mph110 miles$4,200

Luxury EV Market: BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Newcomers

Prestigious German luxury automakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz find themselves chasing newer entrants catering to high net worth consumers and corporate fleets.

BMW delivered over 268,000 plugin vehicles globally last year, including sporty offerings like the 536 hp i7 Sedan and off-road capable iX. However, startup Lucid Motors‘ $169,000 Air Pure rivals BMW‘s range.

By acquiring companies like UK supercar maker McLaren, BMW aims to regain the innovation lead.

Mercedes-Benz boosted global plugin EV sales to 225,159 units in 2022. The brand promises an EV option across all models by 2025, backed by a €40 billion budget.

New Kids: Embraer-backed GAC, Chery

Chinese state-owned automaker GAC Group delivered over 212,000 plugin EVs globally last year, finding footholds in Latin America and Russia beyond its domestic stronghold.

A 2022 joint venture with Brazilian aerospace titan Embraer S.A. signals more technological prowess ahead.

Fellow domestic peer Chery sold over 200,000 plugins in 2022 globally. Focusing on affordable city runabouts today, Chery hints at larger SUVs soon.

With most major automakers now fully invested in vehicle electrification, 2023 may be the tipping point year where EVs begin seriously challenging the internal combustion regime.

Here are the top drivers to watch that could accelerate global EV adoption:

Surging Raw Material Supply
New battery gigafactories coming online across Asia, Europe, and North America ease chronic shortages.

Expanding Charging Infrastructure
Government grants and private capital prioritize convenient charging station access.

Purchase Incentives and Rebate Programs
Price parity with gas cars draws hesitant consumers. Tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act keep US sales humming.

Luxury Brands Normalizing EVs
Wealthy consumers and status-conscious emerging middle class follow trendsetters.

Fleet Electrification
Corporations, government agencies, taxis, and ride-sharing services opt for EVs.

Company2022 Sales GrowthKey Launches
BYDOver 200%Luxury sedan and SUV models
Great Wall Motors ‘ORA‘ sub-brandOver 300%ORA GOOD CAT micro EV
VinFast (Vietnam)From 0 vehicles to 15,000+All-electric VF 8 & VF 9 SUVs

By 2025, analysts predict China and Europe both exceeding 60% plugin EV share of new car sales, with North America lagging around one-third.

EV innovation leaders today like Tesla, BYD, and Volkswagen seem poised to dominate the next generation of zero-emissions mobility. However, as new entrants like India‘s Tata Motors surprise with budget models tailored for their markets, fortune may yet favor the nimble Insurgent over the Behemoth.

One certainty that‘s electric – withPlugins projected to comprise over 25% of all vehicles globally within a decade, EV makers racing today are laying the road to our shared mobility future.

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