Electric vehicles are on a roll. In the third quarter of this year passenger EV sales (including plug-in hybrids) passed 1.5m. This is about a tenth of global car sales, double what the proportion was a year ago, reports The Economist.
About three-quarters of those EVs rely just on battery power, rather than being plug-in hybrids. And most of the sales occurred in Asia. EVs are surging in China in particular. There, tiny, low-costs EVs are all the rage. And it's not just cars that are going electric in China. In a world first, the Chinese city of Shenzhen, with a population of 12 million people, has already converted all its 16,000 buses to be fully electric.
In addition to our new understanding of the damage to people and planet caused by using fossil fuels to power our cars, there's also been an enormous regulatory push to persuade us to switch to EVs. From New Zealand to Norway, countries and regions are setting targets to phase out the internal combustion engine, often by 2040 but in certain cases even sooner. Norway is the global leader, and will ban the sale of gas guzzling cars in 2025.
A couple of weeks ago, Joe Biden signed into law an executive order which forces federal agencies to buy only zero-emissions vehicles by 2035. At the moment, America’s government buys 50,000 traditional vehicles each year. According to BNEF, a research firm, about a fifth of the global car market is now covered by national commitments to end sales of fossil fuel-powered vehicles. And roughly a third of the market is covered by automakers which have made a similar promise.
Other factors abound. The price of batteries has been plummeting in recent years. EVs are often more pleasant to drive than cars with internal combustion engines, at least according to fans. Analysts think these kinds of qualities could drive EVs to even greater heights. BNEF reckons that EVs’ share of new car sales may more than double to 20-30 percent in the next five years in China, the EU and America.
Now governments and corporations have just got to build the EV charging infrastructure at the same pace!
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