The Worldwide Growth of Electric Vehicles

The global market for electric-powered vehicles has been booming in recent years. This year was a tremendous win for Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla, the renowned manufacturer of electric vehicles. In a stunning growth in personal wealth, Musk’s fortune quadrupled since the beginning of 2020, and he has surpassed Bill Gates to make him the second-richest person in the world. This stunning achievement is due to the huge surge of Tesla sales that have enabled Musk to earn over $80 billion in 2020.

Growth in worldwide electric vehicle sales

Looking at the overall prevalence of electric cars on the road in the last ten years, the numbers are remarkable. Worldwide, there were only about 17,000 EVs on the road in 2010. By 2019, this number exploded to over 7 million, with nearly half of them in China. There were a total of nine countries that had 100,000 electric vehicles operating on their roads last year.

Tesla is not the only company that is enjoying a rising trend in sales of electric vehicles (EVs). Even though overall car sales were sluggish in the last two years, electric plug-in car sales have continued to rise. In 2019, over two million plug-in passenger vehicles were sold worldwide by various car manufacturers. The Model 3, produced by Tesla, holds a commanding lead this year with more than 160,000 units sold. Other notable car models include the Renault Zoe, Nissan Leaf, and Hyundai Kona EV.

The sharp rise in EV sales in recent years is due to advancements in battery technology that has enabled cars to run farther on a single charge. Government regulations that are aimed at reducing carbon emissions have also played a role in the shift of sales from gas-powered to electric cars. Younger consumers gravitate toward companies that demonstrate ethical practices and green initiatives, and this sector of the market has been influential in the market trends for EVs.

Charging equipment sales rise with the number of EVs

With a surge in the numbers of EVs on the world’s roads, there is a growing demand for EV charging stations. Consequently, there has been a similar growth in sales of private chargers and public electric vehicle charging stations. Overall, the number of chargers in the worldwide EV market grew to over 7 million by 2019. Private charging equipment comprises the vast majority of this product rather than public stations. This is mainly due to cost advantages and incentives provided by manufacturers.

Public charging stations comprised 12% of global chargers in 2019, and most of these were not high-speed units. Although EV vehicle growth slowed overall in 2019 compared to the year-to-year growth in previous years, the growth of public chargers increased by an impressive 60%. China is currently leading the rest of the world in providing public charging stations. These are well-suited to the dense urban environments in many parts of the country.

Growth in vehicles other than cars

Since electric scooters began to emerge in 2017, the industry grew impressively. The same is true for electric-powered bicycles and mopeds. These “micro-mobility” vehicles are currently being sold in more than 50 countries and 600 cities across the globe. One-quarter of vehicles that are either two-wheel or three-wheel can be found in China. Many of these are light commercial vehicles for delivery companies or public authority organizations.

Another growing electric vehicle sector is buses. There are currently over half a million electric buses in service around the world. Most of these can be found in China. Some of the city bus systems in China are fully electric. The motive for this is to improve the air quality in densely populated cities. The largest electric bus fleet outside of China is in the City of Santiago de Chile.

The recent growth of electric vehicles is largely due to objectives to combat climate change and find sustainable solutions to cut down on fossil fuel usage. These vehicles are also important for addressing problems in areas where air pollution has become severe. Governments are imposing tax regulations based on CO2 emissions, and toll-road discounts are also good incentives for consumers to switch to electric vehicles. As the market transitions more toward electric-powered cars, mass production can enable car companies to sell at lower prices that will entice more consumers to buy EVs in the near future.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.