The International Energy Agency has released its Global EV Outlook which says there were more than three million electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road in 2017.
This is a 54% increase from 2016 when there only about two million electrified models worldwide. China is responsible for a large portion of this growth as the report says nearly 580,000 electric cars were sold in the country last year. The United States also saw a significant increase in electric vehicle sales as around 280,000 where sold in America last year – an increase of nearly 120,000 units.
While electric vehicles are becoming more popular in China and the United States, they’re responsible for a significant amount of market share in Europe. In 2017, 39% of new vehicles sold in Norway where electric while that figure reached 12% percent in Iceland.
China isn’t just a leader in sales of electric cars as the country is also responsible for a significant jump in the number of electric buses and “electric two-wheelers.” In fact, 99% of the world’s supply of these types of vehicles are located in China.
Given the growth in demand for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, it comes as little surprise that there has also been growing demand for charging stations. In 2017, there were approximately 3 million private chargers at homes and businesses as well as around 430,000 public chargers. This is good news for owners of electric vehicles but the reports notes only around 25% percent of those public chargers were fast chargers.
Demand for electrified models is expected to increase in the future but the report says innovations are needed. In particular, the International Energy Agency says demand for cobalt is expected to grow by 10-25 times its current level by 2030 and this is a problem as production and refining of the material are heavily concentrated.
According to the agency’s predictions, there could be 125 million plug-in hybrid and vehicle vehicles on the road by 2030 if current trends and planned policies take effect. If countries take a more aggressive approach to combat climate change – such as banning sales of new vehicles with internal combustion engines – then the number of electric models could hit 220 million units.