Reduced battery costs and government policy has driven the growth of electric cars
According to the latest edition of the International Energy Agency’s Global Electric Vehicles Outlook, the number of electric and plug-in hybrid cars on the world’s roads exceeded 3 million in 2017. This is a 54% increase in comparison to 2016.
The largest electric car market in the world remained China which accounted for half sold last year. In 2017, there was a 72% increase from the previous year, with nearly 580,000 electric cars sold. About 280,000 cars were sold in the United States in 2017, up from 160,000 in 2016, grabbing the second-highest position.
Remaining leaders in market share were the Nordic countries, with electric cars accounting for 39% of new car sales in Norway, making it the world leader in electric vehicle (EV) market share. New EV sales in Iceland were 12% of the total while the share reached 6% in Sweden. With sales more than doubling in both countries from their 2016 levels, Germany and Japan also saw strong growth.
Cars are not the only vehicles that electric mobility is limited to. From 345,000 in 2016, the stock of electric buses rose to 370,000 in 2017, and electric two-wheelers reached 250 million. Though registrations in Europe and India are also growing, the electrification of these modes of transport has been driven almost entirely by China, which accounts for more than 99% of both electric bus and two-wheeler stock.
Keeping pace with this is charging infrastructure. The number of private chargers at homes and workplaces, in 2017, was approximately 3 million globally. Along with this, an estimated 430,000 publicly accessible chargers existed worldwide in 2017, a quarter of which were fast chargers. In densely populated cities, fast chargers are especially important and serve an essential role in boosting the appeal of EVs by enabling long-distance travel.
Government policy has largely driven the growth of EVs, which included public procurement programs, financial incentives reducing the cost of purchase of EVs, tightened fuel-economy standards and regulations on the emission of local pollutants, among others. The progress made in recent years to improve the performance and reduce the costs of lithium-ion batteries has helped the rapid uptake of EVs. Nonetheless, in order to improve the appeal of EVs, further battery cost reductions and performance improvements are essential. A combination of improved chemistries, increased production scale and battery sizes will help make it achievable.
The adoption and enforcement of minimum standards on labor and environmental conditions is required to ensure the increased uptake of EVs while meeting social and environmental sustainability goals. The improvement of end-of-life and material recycling processes is required for the environmental sustainability of batteries. Source: IEA PWKD04062018