The number of electric cars rises to two million in 2016

Source: Peter Tertzakian

Two million electric vehicles (EVs) were on the world’s roads in 2016, according to the latest edition of the International Energy Agency’s Global EV Outlook.

China remained the largest EV market in 2016, accounting for more than 40 per cent of the electric cars sold in the world. More than 200 million electric two-wheelers and more than 300,000 electric buses made China by far the global leader in the electrification of transport, according to the IEA report.

China, the U.S. and Europe made up the three main markets, totalling over 90 per cent of all EVs sold around the world.

In Canada, the electric car stock (battery electric cars and plug-in hybrid electric cars) rose to 29,270 last year from 17,690 in 2015. However, the EV market share in Canada last year was at only 0.59 per cent, up from 0.39 per cent in 2015. Worldwide, EV’s market share lifted to 1.1 per cent in 2016 from 0.85 per cent the prior year.

Electric car deployment in some markets is swift. In Norway, electric cars had a 29 per cent market share last year, the highest globally, followed by the Netherlands with 6.4 per cent, and Sweden with 3.4 per cent.

“The electric car market is set to transition from early deployment to mass market adoption over the next decade or so,” the IEA says.

Carmakers estimate that between nine million and 20 million electric cars could be deployed by 2020 and between 40 million and 70 million by 2025. Still, in 2016, electric vehicles only represented 0.2 per cent of total passenger light-duty vehicles in circulation.

“[So EVs] have a long way to go before reaching numbers capable of making a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emission reduction targets,” the IEA says.

In order to limit temperature increases to below 2 C by the end of the century, the number of electric cars will need to reach 600 million by 2040, according to the IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives.

“Strong policy support will be necessary to keep EVs on track,” the report says.

Cities are in the best position to encourage EV adoption, the agency says.

  • Paris has mandated that any electric car is allowed to re-charge at the re-charge stations of its car-sharing program, called Autolib.
  • Amsterdam offers the installation of charging points on public parking spaces to people who make a request.
  • London encourages EV adoption by waiving its congestion charge.
  • Four major U.S. cities – Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco and Portland – are leading a partnership of over 30 cities to mass-purchase EVs for their public fleets, including police cruisers, street sweepers and trash haulers. The group is currently seeking to purchase over 110,000 EVs, which is a significant number compared to the 160,000 total EVs sold in the United States in 2016.

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