IEA’s Global Electric Vehicle Outlook 2021 found that although the global auto industry suffered a punishing year in 2020 the electric car market bucked the wider trend and is on track for a decade of strong expansion.
According to the study, a record 3 million new electric cars were registered in 2020, a 41 per cent increase from the previous year. By comparison, the global automobile market contracted 16 per cent in 2020.
Last year’s increase brought the number of electric cars on the world’s roads to more than 10 million, with another roughly 1 million electric vans, heavy trucks and buses. For the first time last year, Europe overtook China as the centre of the global electric car market. Electric car registrations in Europe more than doubled to 1.4 million, while in China they increased to 1.2 million.
“Current sales trends are very encouraging, but our shared climate and energy goals call for even faster market uptake,” said Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA adding that governments should now be doing the essential groundwork to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles by using economic recovery packages to invest in battery manufacturing and the development of widespread and reliable charging infrastructure.
The near-term outlook for EV sales is bright as their strong momentum has continued into this year, with sales in the first quarter of 2021 reaching nearly two and half times their level in the same period a year earlier.
According to IEA’s projections the number of electric cars, vans, heavy trucks and buses on the road worldwide to reach 145 million by 2030. But the global fleet could reach 230 million if governments accelerate efforts to reach international climate and energy goals, as outlined in the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario.
IEA’s analysis emphasised that even if advances in battery technology and mass manufacturing will continue to drive down the cost of EVs policies need to leverage momentum to further accelerate electrification.
Besides the mass adoption of electric light-duty vehicles governments will also need to put in place policies to promote the roll-out of zero-emission vehicles in the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle segments and the corresponding fast-charging infrastructure, according to IEA.
IEA also recommends enforcing and tightening measures such as CO2 and fuel economy standards and EV mandates as well as taxing gasoline and diesel at rates that reflect their environmental and human health impacts which can provide government revenue and hasten the transition to electric mobility at the same time.
Finally, IEA also highlights that critical progress is required to decarbonise electricity generation underlining the importance of thinking about global clean energy transitions holistically across sectors to ensure that progress in one area is not being undermined by shortcomings in another.