Over 3.5 million electric vehicles were sold in 2021, a record high sales number for this emerging industry. CATL, a world-leading battery supplier that holds roughly 32.6% global market share, has made at least 14 billion yuan in the past year. Most EV manufacturers, however, struggled to make a profit, and some even lost billions regardless of the booming EV market.
In late January, CATL reported a net profit ranging from 14 billion yuan to 16.5 billion yuan, increasing by at least 150.75% over the last year. It owed this stunning achievement to the soaring sales of electric vehicles, progress in market expansion, greater capacities, and reduced costs.
The sales explosion of EVs delivered mixed results for complete vehicle makers.
BAIC BluePark New Energy, CATL’s long-time partner, reported a loss of at least 4.8 billion yuan in 2021. It’s the second consecutive year that saw this company suffering such huge losses. In 2021, it sold 26,100 units, among which 4,993 units were delivered by ARCFOX. One thing worth taking note is that BAIC BluePark New Energy helped CATL defeat BYD and top the battery supply list in 2017. By then, it sold over 100,000 EVs. A combination of factors, including the pandemic, quality issues, and fierce competition, plunged its sales to 25,900 units in 2020.
The emerging brands in this industry, like Xpeng and NIO, have yet to make a profit even though they both sold about 100,000 electric vehicles last year. They have poured huge investments in R&D of new models and paid excessively for the rocketing prices of chips and batteries. BYD, a battery supplier and a car maker, had to announce price hikes earlier this year to deal with rising costs. Usually, companies can choose to shift the cost to consumers, but the price-sensitive ones would walk away, leaving these companies in a difficult situation.
It seems CATL is one of the few big winners as China sees more EVs on the road.