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Global EV Outlook 2016 Highlights Policy Support, Technology Progress Driving EV Growth

Electric cars worldwide pass 1 million, market share surpasses 1% in seven countries in 2015, and China overtakes the United States in top sales

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Global EV Outlook 2016 Highlights Policy Support, Technology Progress Driving EV Growth

A major milestone was reached in 2015: more than 1 million electric cars were on the road worldwide.

The Clean Energy Ministerial’s Electric Vehicles Initiative has released Global EV Outlook 2016. Developed in partnership with the International Energy Agency, the report offers a unique global perspective on the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) market, reporting on recent developments in 40 countries representing about 98% of the global electric car stock.

Global EV Outlook 2016 reports on the growth and potential of the EV market, noting a major milestone was reached in 2015: more than 1 million electric cars were on the road worldwide; rising to 1.26 million by year’s end. Sales and construction of necessary infrastructure both surged about 70% in a critical advance towards limiting carbon emissions from the transport sector.

While electric cars have just a 0.1% market share worldwide, they make up more than 1% of the fleet in seven countries, including China, where registrations tripled last year. Norway had the highest share of electric cars, at 23%, followed by the Netherlands, at 10%. The other countries are Sweden, Denmark, France, China and the United Kingdom. A decline in sales pulled the U.S. EV market share down to 0.7%.

Policy support is the main driver of electric cars’ sales success. Among other incentives, both Norway and the Netherlands reduce registration taxes for EVs and allow them access to lanes barred to other vehicles. Other policy support mechanisms detailed in Global EV Outlook 2016 include fee and toll waivers, both on the road and for parking, and tailpipe emissions standards.

In addition to electric car sales surging in 2015, infrastructure for EVs also rose sharply, with total electric vehicle supply equipment reaching 1.45 million units, compared to 820,000 in 2014 and roughly 20,000 in 2010. The number of publicly accessible chargers grew 71% last year, including 63% more fast chargers.

The Global EV Outlook 2016 also highlights rapid cost declines and performance improvements in the past decade. Since 2008, estimated battery costs fell by a factor of four, and battery energy density has increased fivefold. Technology learning and economies of scale have the potential to continue progressively reducing technology costs in the coming years.

The Global EV Outlook 2016 adds to the findings of the newly released Energy Technology Perspectives 2016's Tracking Clean Energy Progress Report, which listed EVs among the only three clean energy technologies on track to meet 2025 targets for a successful transition to a decarbonised energy system.

Increased EV adoption would help approach goals related to limiting climate change and local air pollution. EV deployment is critical to sustainable transport targets, along with greater use of public transportation and optimised urban structures to reduce trip distances. The IEA 2 Degree Scenario (2DS) in Energy Technology Perspectives requires at least 39% sustained annual average growth in EV sales to meet its interim 2025 target for limiting global temperature rise.

Even more ambitious, EVI’s “20 by 20” target calls for 20 million EVs by 2020 globally, while the Paris Declaration on Electro-Mobility and Climate Change & Call to Action global deployment target is 100 million electric cars and 400 million electric two- and three-wheelers in 2030. The 2DS calls for all two- and three-wheelers to be electrified by 2050.

In addition to electric cars, Global EV Outlook 2016 provides insights on electric two-wheelers and buses. One-fifth of the global fleet of two-wheelers is already electrified. This share grows to two-fifths of the stock in China, where anti-pollution policies banning the use of conventional motorcycles in cities have spurred sales. China is also the global leader in electric buses, with more than 170,000 on the road.