The global fleet of electric vehicles is expanding at a rapid rate. According to International Energy Agency (IEA) report on the global electric vehicle trade, 3 million passenger electric cars were running on the roads in 2017.
It is a steep rise of 56 percent compared to the 2 million mark in 2016 and 1 million in 2015. Out of 3 million electric cars on roads, 1.26 million were seen in China, followed by 0.76 million on the US roads.
If the pattern continues, IEA projects to reach the milestone of 125 million electric car sales by 2030. The leading contributing nations to this growth rate are – China, European Union, India and the US.
Electric Cars Market Share
Likewise, over 1 million new electric cars were sold globally in the previous year. It is a landmark sales volume, wherein the world witnessed a sharp 54 percent growth in new electric car sales.
Nordic nations dominate the electric car sales market share. Norway continues to be the world’s most advanced market of electric cars, with respect to sales share. The nation accounted for over 39% of new electric car sales of the total in 2017. Iceland is following Norway by a huge gap, with 11.7% new electric car sales in 2017 and Sweden accumulated 6.3% in the same category. Notably, Germany and Japan observed a 100 percent growth in electric car sales when compared to 2016.
China Dominates Electric Vehicle Market
China is dominating at all frontiers of the electric vehicle market. In fact, it is leading in all initiatives based on the clean energy philosophy. First of all, it accounts for half of the global electric vehicle market. Nearly 580,000 electric cars were sold in the country in 2017 that establishes it as the largest electric market in the world.
China accounted for 2.2 percent share in new electric car sales. This makes it stand right behind Sweden at the fourth position in the market share chart.
Besides electric cars, all the two-wheelers and buses in China are 100 percent electrified. The count of electric two-wheelers reaches to 250 million units whereas the annual sale of these two-wheelers was 30 million in 2017. Moreover, the nation also owned an estimated 50 million electric three-wheelers in the last year. China has also confirmed a ban on the production and sales of cars running on conventional fuels such as gasoline and diesel. However, the deadline for this ban is unknown.
Market Drivers of Surge in EV Sales
The government has played the key role in increasing electric car sales globally. Starting from the public awareness programs, initiating projects like EV30@30, to providing subsidies on manufacturing as well as purchasing EV, regulations over pollution emission, and other such practices, the governments worldwide have taken the responsibility of creating a sustainable environment. The automakers are taking a lead role in transforming the entire automobile industry, right from banning the production of diesel vehicles to offering an array of EV to choose from.
Along with the government, the automobile companies are working on developing an efficient infrastructure for electric vehicles. Both the bodies are focusing on expanding charging stations to enable long-distance journey via electric vehicles. Additionally, there is a high demand to invent advanced devices for faster charging.
In 2017, there were about 430,000 publicly accessible chargers across the world. On the other hand, there were almost 3 million private chargers at homes and workplaces. The private chargers ratio turns four times greater than the public chargers ones.
Other Key Points of Global EV Outlook 2018 From International Energy Agency Report
The EV30@30 Scenario sees 228 million EVs (excluding two- and three-wheelers), mostly LDVs, by 2030; around 100 million more than in the New Policies Scenario.
Private sector stakeholders – including car manufacturers, oil companies and utility companies – are planning to deploy fast charging points on highways.
Private chargers outnumber publicly accessible ones.
Today’s battery factories have capacities of up to 8 GWh/year while factories announced to come online by 2030 will have capacities of up to 35 GWh/year.
A growing number of electric heavy freight truck models will soon hit the market, offering larger sizes and wider ranges.
Low Prices of Batteries
Since the automobile companies have started showing a greater interest in electric cars, it has led to a reduction in prices of lithium-ion batteries. Being the core component of the largely sold EV, a lot of technological developments have taken place to enhance batteries’ efficiency. In turn, this has increased the output of electric vehicles along with making them suitable for long journeys.
Future Demands to Sustain EV Growth Rate
The demand of cobalt, the core component of the lithium-ion battery for EVs is projected to be between 10 and 25 times higher than present levels by 2030. Hence, there lies a huge scope of innovations in manufacturing batteries.
But before that, there is an immediate need to discover an alternative to nickel, lithium and cobalt. Presently, 60 percent of the total cobalt production is located at the Democratic Republic of Congo. And this seems risky to be dependent on a single source for cobalt in future.
Similarly, China individually handles 90 percent of the global capacity of refining and processing raw cobalt.
IEA report highlights that with the support of proper regulatory framework, the next step is to maximize the recycling value of batteries at the end of their useful life.