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BW Businessworld

Global EV Sales To Rocket Post-Covid

EV sales will keep growing through the decade. Canalys forecasts that EVs will represent 48 per cent of all new cars sold in 2030

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When Elon Musk floated Tesla in 2003, many auto industry pundits were sceptical about the potentialities of its product lines that would be run on batteries. Today, GM, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Renault and Volkswagen have a combined valuation that is less than that of Tesla because mobility’s future is all about electric vehicles. Developed nations such as the US, Germany, France, Japan and the UK are actively promoting the use of electric vehicles to reduce emissions leading to the burgeoning growth of zero emission vehicles. Factors such as increase in demand for fuel-efficient, high-performance, and low-emission vehicles along with stringent government rules and regulations on emissions supplement the growth of the electric vehicle market.

The latest research report by Canalys shows that global sales of electric vehicles in 2020 increased 39 per cent year on year to 3.1 million units, that the number of EVs sold will rise to 30 million units in 2028 and that EVs will represent nearly half of all passenger cars sold globally by 2030. In 2020, electric vehicles represented almost 5 per cent of all new car sales, and are forecast to reach more than 7 per cent of new car sales worldwide in 2021.

“In a tough 2020 for the automotive industry, the strong demand for EVs has been a real bright spot. This will continue around the world in 2021 and beyond, despite the economically adverse conditions,” says Chris Jones, Chief Analyst -Automotive at Canalys, adding, “EV sales in the US represented just 2.4 per cent of new cars sold there, despite it being home to Tesla, the world’s leading EV manufacturer. Even policies from a more supportive US government won’t change things overnight.”

The electric vehicle market is dominated by globally established players such as Tesla (US), BYD (China), BMW (Germany), Volkswagen (Germany), and Nissan (Japan). Rising investments in electric vehicles is also considered a major driver for the market. Companies such as Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company, and Groupe Renault are investing heavily in their plan to manufacture EVs.

Global cumulative sales of highway-legal light-duty plug-in vehicles reached the 1-million-units mark in September 2015, and 5 million in December 2018. By the end of 2020 there were more than 10 million light-duty plug-in vehicles on the world’s roads. Sales of plug-in passenger cars achieved a 4.2 per cent global market share of new car sales in 2020, up from 2.5 per cent in 2019, and 1.3 per cent in 2017. The PEV market has been shifting towards fully electric battery vehicles. The global ratio between BEVs and PHEVs went from 56:44 in 2012, to 60:40 in 2015, and rose to 74:26 in 2019. The ratio declined to 69:31 in 2020.

As of December 2020, China had the largest stock of highway legal plug-in passenger cars with about 4.6 million units, or 42 per cent of the global fleet in use. The fastest growing auto market also dominates the plug-in light commercial vehicle and electric bus deployment, with its stock reaching over 500,000 buses in 2019, 98 per cent of the global stock, and 247,500 electric light commercial vehicles, 65 per cent of the global fleet.

Europe had about 3 million plug-in passenger cars at the end of 2020, accounting for 30 per cent of the global stock. This continent also has the second largest electric light commercial vehicle stock, with over 115,000 units, or 31 per cent of the global stock in 2019. As of December 2020, cumulative sales in the US totalled 1.74 million plug-in cars, with California listed as the largest US plug-in regional market with over 800,000 plug-in cars sold, or 46 per cent of national sales.

As of December 2020, Germany is the leading European country with around 700,000 plug-ins registered since 2010. Norway has the highest market penetration per capita in the world, it also has the world’s largest plug-in segment market share of new car sales at 74.7 per cent in 2020. Over 10 per cent of all passenger cars on Norwegian roads were plug-ins in October 2018, and crossed 15 per cent in 2020. The Netherlands has the highest density of EV charging stations in the world by 2019.

Canalys says EV sales will continue to grow throughout the decade, while EVs will represent 48 per cent of all new cars sold in 2030. “Rapid growth will continue as more electric vehicles launch and governments set and maintain policies to stimulate EV production and sales. Reducing ‘range anxiety’ with increases in performance and charging infrastructure will be vital to entice more buyers,” says Sandy Fitzpatrick, VP at Canalys, adding, “The automotive industry is currently facing crippling semiconductor shortages, so managing future supply chains and production systems to cope with the growth will be make or break for any electric vehicle strategies.”