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Here Are the 10 Best EV Companies in the World

The Top 10 Electric Vehicle Companies Leading the Charge

The electric vehicle (EV) revolution is transforming the auto industry at lightning speed. Driven by advances in battery and motor technology, EVs have gone from short-range novelties to viable alternatives to gas-powered vehicles in the span of just a decade. Global sales of plug-in vehicles more than doubled in 2021 to 6.6 million, representing close to 9% of the total auto market.

The remarkable rise of EVs is a testament to the scientists and engineers who have drastically improved their performance, range and reliability. Batteries are the heart of any EV, and innovations like new electrode materials and solid-state electrolytes are enabling cheaper, higher-capacity battery packs. More efficient and powerful electric motors also allow today‘s EVs to rival the performance of the best gas vehicles. Meanwhile, faster charging technology is making EVs more convenient than ever.

As the technology has improved, dozens of new EV models have hit the market across all vehicle segments. You can now buy electric sedans, SUVs, minivans, pickup trucks and even high-performance sports cars. The variety of offerings shows that EVs aren‘t just environmental cars anymore, but are becoming a major part of the mainstream auto industry.

To determine the best EV companies in the world, we analyzed automakers‘ plug-in vehicle sales numbers, market share, growth rate, technology, model range and more. While there are many smaller EV startups aiming to be the next Tesla, this ranking focuses on the companies that are delivering the most plug-in vehicles to customers today. It includes both pure electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), which have both an electric motor and gas engine.

So which companies are winning the EV race? Here are the top 10 based on global plug-in vehicle sales in the first three quarters of 2022:

  1. Tesla: 989,262 EVs
    No company has done more to spur the modern EV boom than Tesla. Led by controversial CEO Elon Musk, the California-based automaker launched its first car, the Roadster, in 2008. With its lithium-ion battery pack and sleek design, the Roadster showed that EVs could be cool, kicking off an EV arms race among major automakers.

Tesla now sells four EV models – the Model 3 sedan, Model Y crossover, Model S luxury sedan and Model X SUV. The Model 3 and Model Y are the brand‘s most affordable vehicles and account for the majority of its sales. Deliveries of the futuristic Cybertruck pickup are expected to begin in 2023.

Part of Tesla‘s success is its investment in its own EV ecosystem. The company operates an extensive network of Supercharger stations and builds its vehicles in massive Gigafactories to control the manufacturing process. Its cutting-edge autonomous driving technology is also seen as a major competitive advantage.

Despite rising competition, Tesla maintains a dominant lead in the EV market. It has around 65% market share in the U.S. and its cars are consistently rated as the best EVs available by the likes of Consumer Reports. With a high rate of innovation and brand recognition, expect Tesla to remain the EV king for the foreseeable future.

  1. BYD: 584,285 EVs (1.4 million plug-in vehicles)
    You may not be familiar with BYD if you live outside of China, but the Shenzhen-based conglomerate is quickly becoming an EV powerhouse. It sold nearly 600,000 pure EVs through the first three quarters of 2022, along with over 800,000 plug-in hybrids. In fact, if you include PHEVs, BYD surpassed Tesla as the world‘s biggest seller of plug-in vehicles this year.

BYD (which stands for "Build Your Dreams") started as a battery manufacturer and now produces a wide range of electrified vehicles including cars, buses, and trucks. Some of its most popular models are the compact Dolphin and Seal sedans and the Song and Yuan plus crossovers. The company is notable for its use of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which offer lower range than other chemistries but are cheaper and safer.

BYD‘s rise has been fueled by the explosive growth in China‘s EV market, now the largest in the world. The Chinese government has heavily promoted EVs through subsidies and regulations in an effort to reduce air pollution and establish China as a leader in the strategic EV industry. BYD is well positioned to capitalize with its strong brand and extensive manufacturing capacity.

But BYD isn‘t content to stay within China‘s borders. The automaker recently announced plans to expand to Japan and Europe as it aims to capture a bigger slice of the global EV pie. With its fast growth and diversified lineup, BYD is shaping up to be Tesla‘s biggest challenger.

  1. SAIC-GM-Wuling: 400,953 plug-in vehicles
    In third place is another Chinese joint venture, this one between state-owned automaker SAIC, America‘s General Motors, and local manufacturer Wuling. The partnership has found success selling tiny, low-cost electric vehicles ideally suited for China‘s crowded megacities.

The company‘s flagship model is the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV, which starts at just $4,500. The two-door hatchback is less than 10 feet long and seats up to four people, with a range of around 100 miles. It was China‘s bestselling EV in 2021 as droves of first-time car buyers and urban commuters snapped up the pint-sized runabout.

SAIC-GM-Wuling has introduced a few more mini EVs this year to build on that momentum, including the Nano, Macaron, and Air. The joint venture benefits from the huge manufacturing scale and local market knowledge of SAIC and Wuling along with GM‘s technical expertise. Together the three automakers have tapped into a booming segment of the Chinese market.

  1. Hyundai-Kia: 363,547 plug-in vehicles
    South Korea‘s Hyundai and its affiliate Kia have been making steady progress in the EV transition. The two companies have close ties and share many vehicle platforms and components, but operate separately. Counted together they make up one of the largest EV producers outside of China.

At the forefront of Hyundai‘s electrification push is the IONIQ subbrand, which now consists of the IONIQ 5 crossover and IONIQ 6 sedan. Both offer distinctive styling, rapid charging, and over 300 miles of range, putting them at the leading edge of the EV market. Another popular Hyundai model is the Kona Electric subcompact SUV.

Meanwhile, Kia recently launched the well-reviewed EV6 crossover on the same platform as the IONIQ 5. It‘s also found success with the Niro EV, with a redesigned 2023 model on the way. The Korean automaker plans to have 14 EV models by 2027 as it aims for an ambitious 1.2 million in annual EV sales by 2030.

A key advantage for Hyundai and Kia is their advanced battery technology, thanks to close partnerships with major Korean battery makers LG and SK. The automakers are also investing heavily in EV production, including a $5.5 billion EV factory in the U.S. state of Georgia. Their combined scale and know-how makes them a rising force in the EV race.

  1. Volkswagen: 319,373 plug-in vehicles
    The German auto giant is going all-in on EVs as it looks to move past the "Dieselgate" emissions scandal and compete with the likes of Tesla. VW Group, which includes brands like Audi, Porsche and SEAT, is spending over €52 billion to develop dozens of new EV models that will account for 25% of its sales by 2025.

The tip of the spear is the VW ID lineup, a family of electric-only vehicles built on the company‘s modular MEB platform. It launched with the ID.3 compact hatchback and has expanded to include the popular ID.4 crossover SUV and ID.Buzz electric minivan. By standardizing core components, the MEB platform allows VW to rapidly scale up production and reduce EV costs.

VW has also made significant investments in batteries, the most expensive part of an EV. It plans to build six massive battery factories in Europe by 2030 to secure its supply, and is researching cutting-edge solid-state batteries to stay on the leading edge. The ID models have been well-received so far and should help VW reach its goal of selling 3 million EVs per year by middecade.

  1. Stellantis: 293,000+ plug-in vehicles
    Formed from the merger of Fiat-Chrysler and PSA Group last year, Stellantis is now the fourth-largest automaker in the world. The group‘s 14 brands like Jeep, Peugeot, Dodge and Maserati currently have 21 plug-in vehicle models that accounted for around 8% of its global sales in 2022.

Some of the company‘s most notable EVs include the Fiat 500e city car, Peugeot e-208 compact, and plug-in hybrid versions of the Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. Stellantis is also targeting the commercial EV market with the electric Peugeot e-Partner and Opel Vivaro-e vans, which compete with Ford‘s e-Transit.

Looking ahead, Stellantis is preparing to launch an onslaught of new EV models in the coming years. It will use four dedicated EV platforms that offer a range up to 500 miles. The company is investing over €30 billion in electrification and software and expects EVs to represent 100% of its European sales and 50% of its U.S. sales by 2030.

  1. BMW: 268,198 plug-in vehicles
    BMW was an early mover in electrification with the launch of the "i" EV subbrand back in 2011. But like other legacy luxury automakers, the company has been somewhat slow to expand its plug-in lineup as it balances the transition with its traditional gas vehicles.

Today, BMW sells plug-in versions of many of its most popular nameplates, including the 3-Series, X5, and 7-Series. But its most advanced EV is the iX, a midsize SUV built on a dedicated EV architecture. With two motors producing up to 610 horsepower and an estimated range over 300 miles, the iX is designed to compete with Tesla‘s Model X and other luxury electric SUVs.

To support its growing fleet of plug-ins, BMW is working to develop its own batteries and EV components. It has opened a battery research center and pilot battery plant in Germany to study new cell designs and manufacturing techniques. The company aims for EVs to represent half of its global sales by 2030.

  1. Mercedes: 225,159 plug-in vehicles
    BMW‘s archrival Mercedes has also been ramping up its EV efforts under the new Mercedes-EQ subbrand. It currently has nine plug-in models, ranging from the compact EQA crossover to a plug-in hybrid version of its flagship S-Class sedan.

The automaker‘s first purpose-built EV, the EQS, is billed as an electric counterpart to the S-Class. The sleek hatchback is packed with Mercedes‘ latest technology, including a 56-inch "Hyperscreen" that spans the entire dashboard. With a large 108 kWh battery pack, the EQS boasts a range over 400 miles, making it well suited for long road trips.

Mercedes plans to go all-electric by 2030, with plug-ins accounting for 50% of its sales by middecade. To get there, it will launch three new EV architectures in 2025 that will form the basis of its future lineup. The company is spending over $47 billion on electrification and digitalization by 2030 and is building eight battery factories with partners around the globe.

  1. GAC: 212,741 plug-in vehicles
    One of the dark horse candidates in the EV race is GAC, or Guangzhou Automotive Corporation. The Chinese state-owned automaker has seen its EV sales soar in its home market, thanks to strong government support and a lineup of affordable models like the Aion Y and Aion LX crossovers.

GAC sold over 200,000 plug-in vehicles in the first half of 2022, a 135% increase from a year earlier. Almost all of those vehicles were pure battery electrics. The company has invested heavily in R&D to develop its own batteries and electric powertrains as it looks to differentiate itself from rivals and foreign competitors.

While GAC‘s sales are almost entirely in China for now, the automaker has bold ambitions to go global. It has opened an R&D center in Silicon Valley and shown its vehicles at major international auto shows. Entering the U.S. market remains a challenge, but GAC is quietly building the scale and technology to make it a serious EV player down the road.

  1. Chery: 202,678 plug-in vehicles
    Rounding out the top 10 is another state-owned Chinese automaker, Chery. The company has sold cars under its own brand since 1997 but has faced allegations of copying designs from other automakers. Its small, inexpensive plug-in vehicles are popular with Chinese consumers making the switch to electric.

Chery‘s main EV is the QQ Ice Cream, a minicar that can travel around 120 miles on a charge. It also sells the eQ, a subcompact hatchback aimed at young, first-time car buyers. With their cute, colorful designs, the two models stand out in China‘s crowded EV market.

Like BYD and GAC, Chery is investing in its own battery and EV technology to gain more control over the supply chain. It recently announced plans to launch a new premium EV brand called Jetour in 2023 to move upmarket. While a small player on the global stage, Chery‘s growth reflects the breakneck pace of EV adoption in China.

The Future of Electric Vehicles

The rankings above show that the EV industry is evolving rapidly, with a mix of established automakers and upstarts battling for position. Tesla remains the clear leader in battery electrics, but is losing market share as competitors flood the market with new models. Chinese companies are leveraging their huge domestic market and lower costs to gain ground quickly. Meanwhile, legacy automakers are pouring billions into EVs to protect their market position and meet stricter emissions regulations.

So who will come out on top? It‘s still early in the EV transition, but a few key trends are emerging. First, scale will be critical to bringing down costs and achieving profitability. Tesla‘s early investment in Gigafactories and vertical integration is helping it maintain a lead even as its rivals catch up in technology. The major global automakers will also have an advantage with their vast manufacturing networks and R&D resources.

Second, battery technology will continue to make or break EV makers. Range and cost remain the biggest barriers to adoption for many consumers. Companies that can develop cheaper, higher-capacity batteries and secure sufficient supply of raw materials will have a leg up. Many automakers are now building their own battery plants and forming joint ventures to gain more control over this key piece of the supply chain.

Finally, software and autonomous driving technology are becoming key differentiators as EVs move into the mainstream. Tesla‘s sleek interface and Autopilot system have set a new standard that others are racing to match. The next generation of EVs will be more like rolling computers, defined as much by their brains as their battery. Companies that can seamlessly integrate EVs into consumers‘ digital lives will have an advantage.

The transition to electric vehicles represents both a great challenge and opportunity for the auto industry. While there will surely be speed bumps along the way, the future of transportation is undoubtedly electric. Whichever companies can innovate fastest while bringing costs down will be the biggest winners in the EV race.