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Volkswagen's Battery Electric Car Production Slowly Catching Up With Tesla

Volkswagen Group has detailed its 2021 sales totals in a recent report, based on its battery electric car production; and although still far behind from Tesla, it does show significant progress.

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At the end of 2021 Tesla remains the most relevant brand in terms of battery electric cars based on its sales figures. However, as the BEV of different OEM manufacturers become available, the distance between Tesla and the all the rest is gradually decreasing. This is the case of the Volkswagen Group and its battery electric car production which, although closing 2021 with way lower figures as compared to Tesla – and again, depending on each particular model – shows a significant way forward, if all its sales are added up and put in correct context.

As the Volkswagen Group has detailed in its latest report regarding the sales figures of its electric cars in 2021, among all the firms of the German consortium they have managed to market a total of 452,900 electric cars (not including plug-in hybrids), as compared to the 936,172 units registered globally by Tesla, out of which 911,208 correspond to sales relative to the Model 3 and Model Y (with a higher proportion of the Model 3).

Tesla Model 3, Courtesy of Tesla Inc.

The data already available show a still large difference (more than double in favor of Tesla, in fact), but again, the truth is that Volkswagen Group has managed to also double its figures in 2021, improving by 96% the 2020 numbers.

At first sight comparing the sales of multiple car brands with those of a single brand may seem unfair in some way, but taking into account that Tesla is a global firm that sells all its models in all markets in which it operates at a worldwide level, and as Volkswagen Group divides its markets by makes and models, then the inequality is partly compensated or balanced.

Tesla Model Y, Courtesy of Tesla Inc.

The Volkswagen Group has broken down the sales of its electric cars by model, and the most successful in commercial terms has been the flagship electric SUV of the brand, the Volkswagen ID.4, with 119,600 units sold. The ID.3, also from Volkswagen, is the brand's second best-selling electric car with 75,500 units.

The results of the Škoda Enyaq is also striking, because together with the Volkswagen e-up! (with which it differs greatly in terms of price) it is the only model whose commercialization is exclusively focused on the European market, and even so it has managed to deliver almost 45,000 units. The Porsche Taycan, on the other hand, being the most exclusive electric car of the Volkswagen Group, also helped achieve - with its more than 41,000 units delivered - the record that Porsche showed at the end of last year.

As we mentioned in articles before, in 2021 Tesla ended the year with more than 2,335,000 units of cars sold throughout its history, which is a more than remarkable figure for a manufacturer that was barely known just a decade ago. The sales figures make up more than half a million Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X, while 1.8 million of that total belongs to Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y, the true kings of their particular segments. Considering the production capacity figures that Tesla achieved in the last quarter of 2021 (308,600 units) and seeing the levels that will reach in 2022, for the first quarter they expect to have a total of 2.5 million cars rolling on the streets worldwide.

Tesla Model Y, courtesy of Tesla Inc.

Again, although everything looks good and promising so far, the electric car market will still have to achieve important improvements and milestones, especially regarding pricing and charging infrastructure capacity; mainly regarding range, availability and technology of its internal devices such as the battery system itself, which still has significant room for improvement.

You can check Volkswagen´s full report on this link.

All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.

Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.

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John Goreham    January 12, 2022 - 4:08PM

Great overview. I was surprised to see the VW ID.4 global number was so high in its first year. The U.S. only got about one in nine of those total units. If VW had sent all of them to the U.S. it may have had the top selling BEV crossover in the U.S. market overall.

Robin Demey (not verified)    January 19, 2022 - 2:52PM

Closing in?
Tesla grew with almost the total sales number of the complete VW group...