12 June 2017

Number of electric cars worldwide increased 60% in 2016

Globally, the number of electric vehicles (EVs) surpassed 2 million units in 2016, an increase of 60 per cent compared to 2015, according to the latest report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

In 2005, the number of electric cars owned worldwide was in the hundreds.

A decade later, EV sales surpassed the 1 million milestone and in 2016 increased by 60 per cent, thanks to a combination of falling prices, increased choice and stricter emission regulations.  

The number of electric car stock – primarily composed of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) – worldwide now stands at more than 2 million, however, electric cars still only account for 0.2 per cent of all the cars in the world. 

This is set to change, Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects that 35 per cent of global car sales – 41 million per year – will be EVs in 2040.

Furthermore, the global EV charging stations market is on track to reach approximately $28.2 billion by 2025.

According to the latest IEA report, China led the global EV market in 2016, accounting for over 40 per cent of all electric cars sold, more than double the amount sold in the U.S. 

More than 200 million electric two-wheelers and more than 300,000 electric buses were sold in China last year, making the nation the current global leader in the electrification of transport, the IEA said.

China, the U.S. and Europe made up the three main markets, totalling over 90 per cent of all EVs sold around the world.

In Norway, electric cars had a 29 per cent market share last year, the highest globally, followed by the Netherlands with 6.4 per cent, and Sweden with 3.4 per cent.

According to IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives, in order to limit temperature increases to below 2°C by the end of the century, the number of electric cars will need to reach 600 million by 2040.

To achieve this transition, strong policy support will be required, the IEA said.

Cities are playing a key role in encouraging EV adoption, often due to concerns about air quality in city centres.

In 2015, a third of global EV sales took place in 14 cities across the world.

Transport for London (TfL) is dedicating £18 million towards the upgrading of the capital’s power grids, which will enable energy companies to install 300 EV fast-charging stations by 2020.

Countries are also beginning to address the importance of increasing EV uptake.

Austria is set to connect a series of EV charging points in a bid to boost EV ownership in the country.

In Australia, businesses and policymakers have come together to stimulate the nation’s EV market, including the launch of a new national body, research grants, and private sector investment.

In India, all cars sold will be EVs by 2030 in a bid to curb air pollution, according to plans set out by the country’s Energy Minister.

Check out our recent infographic on decarbonising the transport sector here.

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