Quantcast

Electric Vehicle Sales More Than Doubled in 2017

Business

A record number of electric vehicles (EVs) were sold in 2017, more than doubling the number of EVs on the road, a report released Wednesday by the International Energy Agency (IEA) found.

The report, Global EV Outlook 2018, gave a summary of the state of EVs today and estimated their progress through 2030.


It found that more than one million EVs were sold in 2017, raising the total number of hybrid or electric cars on the road to more than three million. That's a 54 percent increase compared to 2016's sales, an IEA press release reported.

Half of those cars were sold in China, the largest EV market in the world. Electric car sales in China rose 72 percent in 2017 to nearly 580,000 cars. The U.S. saw the second largest number of total EV sales in 2017, at around 280,000 cars sold. German and Japan both made important progress, doubling EV sales from 2016.

When it comes to market share of EV sales, however, the nordic countries took the lead. Thirty-nine percent of new car sales in Norway were electric cars in 2017, the highest percentage of any country. Iceland followed at 12 percent with Sweden coming in third at six.

The report found that government policies supporting EV vehicles had been essential for the boost in sales.

"The main markets by volume (China) and sales share (Norway) have the strongest policy push," the IEA said, according to AFP.

Helpful policies included public procurement programs, financial incentives for purchasing EVs and tougher air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions standards.

The report also found that the lowered cost and improved efficiency of lithium-ion batteries helped drive growth, though more work needs to be done on both fronts to increase the appeal of EVs.

When it comes to the future growth of the EV market, the report found that government policies could continue to make a big difference.

The report ran two scenarios: the IEA New Policies Scenario, based on current government policies and countries' commitments under the Paris agreement, and the EV30@30 Scenario, based on an estimation of what would happen if governments worldwide adopted the EV 30@30 campaign launched by the Clean Energy Ministerial calling on member countries to make EVs account for 30 percent of vehicles sold by 2030.

Under the New Policies Scenario, the number of EVs would reach 125 million by 2030, but under the EV30@30 Scenario, that number could rise to 220 million.

The EV30@30 Scenario was also better for the global fight against climate change, nearly doubling the amount of greenhouse gas emissions avoided compared to the New Policies Scenario if the electric grid does not also switch to renewable energy sources. If the grid did "decarbonize," the emissions avoided under the EV30@30 would be four times the emissions avoided under the New Policies Scenario.

However, the report found one humanitarian and environmental challenge with the growth of EVs: the use of cobalt and other rare metals for batteries. As the press release notes, 60 percent of cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Humans rights groups have raised concerns over the working conditions for miners in the conflict-heavy country, AFP reported. But the EV30@30 Scenario could increase the demand for cobalt 25 times by 2030, the report found.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Individual standing in Hurricane Harvey flooding and damage. Jill Carlson / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Allegra Kirkland, Jeremy Deaton, Molly Taft, Mina Lee and Josh Landis

Climate change is already here. It's not something that can simply be ignored by cable news or dismissed by sitting U.S. senators in a Twitter joke. Nor is it a fantastical scenario like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 that starts with a single crack in the Arctic ice shelf or earthquake tearing through Los Angeles, and results, a few weeks or years later, in the end of life on Earth as we know it.

Read More Show Less
A pregnant woman works out in front of the skyline of London. SHansche / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Air pollution particles that a pregnant woman inhales have the potential to travel through the lungs and breach the fetal side of the placenta, indicating that unborn babies are exposed to black carbon from motor vehicles and fuel burning, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Teen activist Greta Thunberg delivered a talking-to to members of Congress Tuesday during a meeting of the Senate Climate Change Task Force after politicians praised her and other youth activists for their efforts and asked their advice on how to fight climate change.

Read More Show Less
Ten feet of water flooded 20 percent of this Minot, North Dakota neighborhood in June 2011. DVIDSHUB / CC BY 2.0

By Jared Brey

When Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida panhandle last October, it killed at least 43 people, caused an estimated $25 billion in damage and destroyed thousands of homes.

Read More Show Less
A protestor holds up her hand covered with fake oil during a demonstration on the U.C. Berkeley campus in May 2010. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The University of California system will dump all of its investments from fossil fuels, as the Associated Press reported. The university system controls over $84 billion between its pension fund and its endowment. However, the announcement about its investments is not aimed to please activists.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Forest fire continues to blaze in Indonesesia on Sept. 18. WAHYUDI / AFP / Getty Images

Nearly 200 people have been arrested in Indonesia over their possible connections to the massive wildfires raging in the nation's forest, officials said this week.

Read More Show Less

By Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

World leaders have a formidable task: setting a course to save our future. The extreme weather made more frequent and severe by climate change is here. This spring, devastating cyclones impacted 3 million people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Record heatwaves are hitting Europe and other regions — this July was the hottest month in modern record globally. Much of India is again suffering severe drought.

Read More Show Less
Covering Climate Now / YouTube screenshot

By Mark Hertsgaard

The United Nations Secretary General says that he is counting on public pressure to compel governments to take much stronger action against what he calls the climate change "emergency."

Read More Show Less