The Real EV Sales Numbers

Buckle up, the transition to electric cars is accelerating at a pace that was not predicted even 6 months ago, reports Forbes.

Slightly blurred image of an electric car accelerating in a tunnel

In December 2021, for the first time ever, sales of fully electric cars in Europe were higher than those of diesel cars. Tesla broke another record, delivering 309,000 electric cars in Q4 2021, a 71 percent increase as compared to Q4 2020.

In Norway, the world leader, 2 out of every 3 cars sold were electric in 2021 and that ratio is expected to reach 4 out of 5 in 2022. Europe has reached the tipping point and 7 Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) brands have already committed to 100 percent electric car sales by 2030.

Meanwhile, EV sales in China jumped 160 percent to a record 2.91 million units last year. In fact, China now makes 50 percent of all the world's EVs (when you add in Chinese owned subsidiaries like Volvo Polestar and Daimler Smart).

In the US, the car market is still focused on gasoline-powered cars. Electric cars made up just 4 percent of American sales in 2021, compared with 9 percent in China and 14 percent in Europe. But the tides are shifting. Electric cars were front and centre with positive product placement during the recent Superbowl. A record 7 electric car advertisements were shown, versus 2 from gasoline-powered. The US OEMs have declared a ban on gasoline powered cars by 2035. This move will affect the re-sale value and could further accelerate electric car adoption.

This surge in take-up of electric vehicles creates an equally growing need for new charging infrastructure. Bloomberg reported that more than 6.6m electric cars were sold in total in 2021 and anticipates that number to jump to 10.5m in 2022. Estimates based on automaker commitments are 40m electric cars sold per year by 2030. That's the good news.

Not so good is that, to support this transition, it's estimated that 15,000 chargers need to be installed every week by 2030 in Europe and nearly the same in the US! A massive undertaking that will not happen overnight.

The benefits of electric cars are clear. They can reduce average lifetime emissions, as compared to gasoline/petrol cars, by 65 percent if most of the electricity generation is from the average energy mix, and by up to 83 percent when charging with entirely green electricity. Meanwhile electric cars continue to become even more efficient, and electricity generation will become less carbon intensive, creating even more of a positive impact. And most important of all, people want them.

The world just needs charging facilities to ramp up at the same pace.