To look at the current electric vehicle (EV) market is to be stunned. In 2021 130,000 EVs were sold a week, the same number sold in whole of 2012. The 3.4 million EVs sold in China in 2021 is more than were sold worldwide in 2020. The 16 million EVs on the road require as much electricity each year as is generated in Ireland.
Rapidly declining costs of batteries, favourable tax regimes and changing consumer desires have all contributed to the trend. The 8.6 per cent EV market share recorded by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2021 — which includes both hybrid and pure electric vehicles — may well represent a critical tipping point in the decarbonisation of transport.
Exponential growth means that EV market share is likely to exceed 25 per cent in 2025, according to New Statesman analysis. That is the point that the IEA says must be reached for the world to be on track for net-zero emissions by 2050.
Some 15.5 per cent of cars sold in China 2021 were electric, while in the UK, the figure was 45.5 per cent. In Norway, which has long been an EV leader, it was 93 per cent. Norwegian EV policies -- which include VAT exemptions, differentiated parking fees and exemptions from road tolls -- have been so successful that the country’s government has estimated there is a NKr19.2bn (£1.6bn) hole in its annual tax revenue.
However, the impact of high EV sales will take some time to trickle down to the overall car fleet. Only around 1 per cent of cars on the road worldwide were EVs in 2020. In Norway, in 2021, the share was 22 per cent.