The electric vehicle market has literally exploded globally over the last few decades but it's still a miniscule percentage of total vehicle stock on the roads today. However, things are changing rapidly.
EV and plug-in hybrid sales in the UK will rise from 3.4 percent of all vehicles sold in 2019 to 5.5 percent in 2020 - or from 80,000 this year to 131,000 in 2020. Even though Boris Johnson has announced that the sale of new diesel and petrol cars will be banned from 2030, EV sales are unlikely to accelerate significantly in the UK - or elsewhere - until prices match, at the very least, prices of traditional vehicles. The good news is that this is forecast to happen in 2024.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, however, there's a clear outright winner when it comes to the sheer volume of EVs in one particular country: China. Most recent estimates show that China has somewhere in the region 1.8 million EVs in total. However, when it comes to EVs per capita, Norway stands out as the country with the most EVs per person. Norway has around 65 electric cars per 1000 inhabitants.
To put that into perspective, if China had the same percentage ownership per 1,000 inhabitants as Norway does, 93.5 million Chinese people would now be driving an EV.
The high per capita rate of EV ownership in Norway is due to its push to move away from from traditional combustion engines by 2025. In order to promote this policy, Norway has made battery-powered cars exempt from the country's normally very high rates of import tax and VAT. Not only that, but Norway has also made EVs exempt from the need to pay tolls and parking fees. Many of the country's ferry boats also offer special low rates for EV car owners. Norwegian EV car owners can also use certain bus lanes.
What about hybrid cars? Japan has long been one of the shining lights of hybrid car construction and has shown the most development in the sector. For this reason, it should come as no surprise that Japan is now home to the largest volume of hybrid vehicles in the world. There somewhere in the region of 8 million in total or about 20 percent of all cars in Japan.
However, wherever you have EVs you also need to have a well-developed charging network to make them viable. As it turns out, there's a clear winner on this front too: South Korea (by coverage per miles/km of road). While China has the most by number with somewhere in the region of 111,000 fast-charging stations, it's a very large country. South Korea has a more modest 3,910 and that works out at around one every 17.5 miles. No need for 'range anxiety' in South Korea!
Looking to the future, most analysts believe that France is the country with the biggest potential for EV market development. In a recent study, 77 percent of French people were considering switching to EV or hybrid for their next vehicle.
However, whilst the switch to EVs is never out of the news, there's still an enormous way to go. According to sources like the International Energy Agency, EV sales worldwide topped out at 2.1 million globally in 2019, boosting the global pool of EVs to about 7.2 million (about 1 percent of global car stock).
However, looking on the bright side, approximately 1 in 10 cars sold in Europe this year will be EV or plug-in hybrid. This is a marked increase on previous years. But, things are set to look greener in the next few years, especially in Europe. Some estimates show that the EV market is set to triple in order to meet many European nations' drive to reduce their carbon footprints. Most European nations are planning to phase out or ban sales of new fossil fuel-powered vehicles in the next 10 to 15 years.
Some estimates show that EV market share should reach 15 percent by 2021. These estimates come from the green policy group Transport & Environment. “Electric car sales are booming thanks to EU emissions standards,” said Clean Vehicle Director Julia Poliscanova.
“Next year, one in every seven cars sold in Europe will be a plug-in.”
Norway's A-ha Moment: Paving the way for the world's highest per capita electric vehicle ownership. Largely thanks to Morten Harket (the lead singer of the 1980s band A-ha)....
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