(Graphic by CnEVPost)

After shaking off the effects of last year's Covid-19, deliveries by China's major new car makers have all come to normal levels, putting them close to last year's full-year deliveries for the first five months.

Nio delivered 6,711 vehicles in May, up 95.3 percent year-on-year and down 5.5 percent from April.

The company had said that deliveries in May were briefly affected by supply chain fluctuations due to delivery chain adjustments and chip shortages.

Under the latest production and delivery plan, the company will accelerate deliveries in June, and its delivery guidance for the second quarter remains unchanged, said earlier this month.

Xpeng Motors deliveries followed Nio's lead, with 5,686 units delivered in May, up 483 percent year-on-year. Of those, 3,797 P7s were delivered, a single-month high.

Neta Automobile, backed by Qihoo 360, China's largest cybersecurity company, became a "dark horse" with 4,508 units delivered in May, up 551% year-on-year.

This was mainly due to the launch of the new model U pro in April, which offers owners 3 years of free charging with valet charging benefits of up to 24 times/year, creating a strong appeal to consumers.

The result pushed out , which had previously been in the top three of China's new car makers, which delivered 4,323 units in May, down 22 percent from April.

However, Li Auto unveiled the 2021 Li ONE on May 25, which is expected to see its deliveries rebound strongly as deliveries kick off in June.

An interesting change: Li Auto's May deliveries surpassed by Neta

Overall, these four major Chinese new car makers have delivered close to all of last year in the first five months of the year.

In 2020, Nio delivered 43,728 vehicles, 27,041, Li Auto 32,624 and Neta 15,091. Together, they delivered 118,484 vehicles in 2020.

From January to May of this year, Nio delivered 33,873 vehicles, Xpeng 24,173, Li Auto 22,441 and Neta 15,966.

Together, these four companies delivered 96,453 vehicles in the first five months of the year, a gap of only about 19% from the full year of 2020.

Looking at China's new energy vehicle market as a whole, from January to May this year, pure electric vehicle sales were 794,000 units, up 2.5 times year-on-year, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).

Based on this year's high growth, the CPCA raised its forecast for full-year 2021 new energy vehicle sales again earlier this month, from 2.2 million to 2.4 million, saying this is the combined result of strength across all segments plus incremental exports.

"In particular, the recent new energy vehicle performance of traditional car companies is very good, such as , SAIC's stronger performance, showing the new energy market continues to grow endogenous momentum," the CPCA said.

In February, the CPCA predicted that wholesale sales of new energy vehicles in China would reach 2 million units this year. In April, it raised that forecast to 2.2 million units.

NIO's William Li expects China's smart EV penetration rate to exceed 90% by 2030