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The global auto industry has suffered a tough year in 2020 due to the major shock of Covid-19, but the electric car market has weathered the general trend with growth of over 40% and is on track for a decade of strong expansion, according to a new report released today by the International Energy Agency.
the From the IEA Global Electric Vehicle Outlook 2021 notes that despite the pandemic triggering a cascade of economic recessions, a record 3 million new electric cars were registered in 2020, an increase of 41% over the previous year. By comparison, the global automotive market contracted by 16% in 2020. The strong momentum of electric cars continued this year, with sales in the first quarter of 2021 reaching nearly two and a half times their level of the same period. one year earlier.
Last year’s increase brought the number of electric cars on the world’s roads to more than 10 million, with around 1 million more electric vans, heavy trucks and buses. For the first time last year, Europe overtook China as the center of the global electric car market. Electric car registrations in Europe more than doubled to 1.4 million, while in China they increased 9% to 1.2 million.
“Although they cannot do the job on their own, electric vehicles have an indispensable role to play in achieving net zero emissions worldwide,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA. “Current sales trends are very encouraging, but our shared climate and energy goals demand even faster market adoption. Governments should now do the groundwork essential to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles by using economic stimulus programs to invest in battery manufacturing and the development of an extensive and reliable charging infrastructure. “
Electric vehicles are expected to experience significant growth over the next decade, according to the new IEA report. Based on current trends and policies, he projects that the number of electric cars, vans, heavy trucks and buses on the world’s roads will reach 145 million by 2030. But the global fleet could reach 230 million if governments step up. efforts to achieve international climate and energy. objectives, as stated in the IEA sustainable development scenario.
And if governments around the world unite to pursue the even more ambitious goal of achieving net zero emissions globally by 2050, the global fleet of electric vehicles would grow even further. More details on the implications of this path for electric vehicles and the wider transport sector will be provided in the IEA special report, Net Zero in 2050: a roadmap for the global energy system, which will be released on May 18.
Consumer spending on electric cars rose another 50% last year to $ 120 billion. At the same time, government support measures amounted to USD 14 billion, the fifth consecutive year in which they have declined as a share of total spending. Even though government subsidies remain important in boosting the adoption of electric vehicles, it suggests that sales are increasingly driven by consumer choice.
Automakers offered 370 electric car models in 2020, a 40% year-over-year increase. Eighteen of the 20 largest automakers have announced plans to further increase the number of models available and boost production of light electric vehicles. These automakers account for 90% of all global auto sales.
the Global Electric Vehicle Outlook 2021 notes that governments have helped protect electric cars from the 2020 recession by expanding existing political and budget support, and increasing them with stimulus measures in response to the Covid-19 crisis. Leading countries have also promoted the competitive position of electric vehicles by strengthening fuel and emissions savings standards, and stepped up their support for the development of battery technology and the deployment of charging station infrastructure.
The report emphasizes that the transition of the road transport sector to electric vehicles goes well beyond cars. The most electrified mode of road transport today is two- and three-wheeled vehicles – like motorcycles and mopeds – with more than 25 million units sold, most of them in Asia. Urban buses also became electrified quickly. And heavy-duty trucks are a segment where electric models and sales have only recently started to grow strongly, as battery performance has improved and range has been extended.
Electric vehicles have a key role to play in reducing emissions. On a well-to-wheel basis, their net contribution to reducing emissions, already evident today, will increase in line with the rate of decarbonisation of electricity production. This highlights the need for policymakers to think about global clean energy transitions comprehensively across all sectors to ensure that progress in one area is not compromised by gaps in another.