Ev Tall

Why are electric vehicles important?

Few areas in the world of clean energy are as dynamic as the electric car market. Recent years have seen healthy growth in sales together with improved range, wider model availability and increased performance. We estimate that more than one in five new cars sold in 2024 will be electric.

What is the role of electric vehicles in clean energy transitions?

Electric vehicles are the key technology to decarbonise road transport, a sector that accounts for around one-sixth of global emissions. Ambitious policies continue to be critical to growth in electric vehicle markets worldwide.

Where do we need to go?

If the EV sales growth experienced in recent years is sustained, CO2 emissions from cars can be put on a path in line with the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario. However, despite huge growth in China, some European countries and some U.S. states, electric vehicles are not yet a global phenomenon. Sales in some countries, especially developing and emerging countries, have been slow due to typically higher purchase costs compared to conventional vehicles and a lack of charging infrastructure.

Few areas in the world of clean energy are as dynamic as the electric car market. Recent years have seen healthy growth in sales together with improved range, wider model availability and increased performance. We estimate that more than one in five new cars sold in 2024 will be electric.

Electric vehicles are the key technology to decarbonise road transport, a sector that accounts for around one-sixth of global emissions. Ambitious policies continue to be critical to growth in electric vehicle markets worldwide.

If the EV sales growth experienced in recent years is sustained, CO2 emissions from cars can be put on a path in line with the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario. However, despite huge growth in China, some European countries and some U.S. states, electric vehicles are not yet a global phenomenon. Sales in some countries, especially developing and emerging countries, have been slow due to typically higher purchase costs compared to conventional vehicles and a lack of charging infrastructure.

Latest findings

Electric car sales break new records with momentum expected to continue through 2024

Electric car markets are seeing robust growth as sales neared 14 million in 2023. The share of electric cars in total sales has increased from around 4% in 2020 to 18% in 2023.

EV sales are expected to continue strongly through 2024. Over 3 million electric cars were sold in the first quarter, about 25% more than in the same period last year. We currently expect to see around 17 million in sales by the end of 2024, representing a more than 20% year-on-year increase with new purchases accelerating in the second half of this year. As a result, electric cars could account for over one in five cars sold across the full calendar year. National policies and incentives, along with increasing price competition, will help bolster sales.

Based on current policies and trends, the rollout of electric vehicles is set to avoid the need for nearly 6 million barrels of oil a day by 2030.

Electric car sales, 2012-2024

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The pace of the transition to electric vehicles hinges on their affordability

Electric cars are getting cheaper as competition intensifies, particularly in China, but they remain more expensive than cars with internal combustion engines in other markets. A rapid transition to EVs will require bringing to market more affordable models.

In China, we estimate that more than 60% of electric cars sold in 2023 were already cheaper than their average combustion engine equivalent. However, electric cars remain 10% to 50% more expensive than combustion engine equivalents in Europe and the United States, depending on the country and car segment. In 2023, two-thirds of available electric models globally were large cars, pick-up trucks or sports utility vehicles, pushing up average prices. When exactly price parity is reached is subject to a range of market variables, but current trends suggest that it could be reached by 2030 in major EV markets outside China for most models.

Price gap between the sales-weighted average price of conventional and electric cars in selected countries, before subsidy, by size, in 2018 and 2022

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Three major markets dominated global EV sales in 2023

Electric vehicles are the key technology to decarbonise road transport, a sector that accounts for over 15% of global energy-related emissions.

In 2023, three markets dominated global sales.

China was the frontrunner once again, accounting for around 60% of global electric car sales. In Europe, electric car sales increased almost 20% in 2023, reaching a sales share over 20%. Electric car sales in the United States increased over 40% in 2023, reaching a sales share of around 10%.

Electric car registrations and sales share in China, United States and Europe, 2018-2023

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Tracking Electric Vehicles

On track

Electric vehicles are the key technology to decarbonise road transport, a sector that accounts for over 15% of global energy-related emissions. Recent years have seen strong growth in the sale of electric vehicles together with improved range, wider model availability and increased performance. Passenger electric cars are surging in popularity – we estimate that 18% of new cars sold in 2023 will be electric.

If the growth experienced in the past two years is sustained, CO2 emissions from cars can by 2030 be put on a pathway aligned with the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 (NZE) Scenario. However, electric vehicles are not yet a global phenomenon. Sales in some countries, especially developing and emerging countries, have been slow due to typically higher purchase costs compared to conventional vehicles and a lack of charging infrastructure.

China, Europe and the United States remain the leading electric vehicle markets

Countries and regions making notable progress to advance electric cars include: 

  • Norway continues to lead in rates of electric vehicle (EV) deployment, with the share of electric car sales reaching 93% in 2023.
  • China accounted for nearly 60% of all new electric car registrations globally in 2023. The share of electric cars in total domestic car sales reached over 35% in China in 2023, up from 29% in 2022, thereby achieving the 2025 national target of a 20% sales share for so-called new energy vehicles (NEVs)1well in advance.
  • In December 2023, Canada amended its GHG regulations to include new requirements to increase the availability of zero-emission passenger cars and light trucks, targeting at least 20% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2026, at least 60% by 2030 and 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035.
  • Both the United States and the European Union recently adopted emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles, which will support electric truck and bus adoption in the coming years.


1 NEVs (China) include BEVs, PHEVs and fuel-cell electric vehicles.  

Global electric car sales exceeded 14 million in 2023

Electric car sales and sales share in the Net Zero Scenario, 2015-2030

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Electric car sales in 2023 were 3.5 million higher than in 2022, a 35% year-on-year increase. This is more than six times higher than in 2018, just 5 years earlier. In 2023, there were over 250 000 new registrations per week, which is more than the annual total in 2013, ten years earlier. Electric cars accounted for around 18% of all cars sold in 2023, up from 14% in 2022 and only 2% 5 years earlier, in 2018.

In the NZE Scenario, electric car sales reach around 65% of total car sales in 2030. To get on track with this scenario, electric car sales must increase by an average of 23% per year from 2024 to 2030. For comparison, electric car sales increased by almost 35% in 2023 compared to 2022.

Electrification is also happening in other vehicle segments, though in 2023 the electric sales share of buses and trucks was only around 3% and 1%, respectively.

For further data on historical and projected EV sales and stock, see the IEA Global EV Data Explorer.

Electric vehicles avoid oil consumption

The global EV fleet consumed about 130 TWh of electricity in 2023, which accounted for about 0.5% of current total final electricity consumption worldwide. The use of EVs displaced around 0.9 Mb/d (2 EJ) of oil in 2023.

EVs would need to displace around 8.2 Mb/d (18 EJ) of oil in 2030 to be in step with the NZE Scenario. 

Electricity demand resulting from the use of electric vehicles, 2023

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Oil displacement resulting from the use of electric vehicles, 2023

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Announced battery manufacturing capacity for 2030 would more than fulfil demand for electric vehicle batteries in the NZE Scenario, with existing and committed projects covering over 90% of the deployment needs

Announced electric vehicle battery manufacturing capacity by region and manufacturing capacity needed in the Net Zero Scenario, 2021-2030

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Battery production has been ramping up quickly in the past few years to keep pace with increasing demand. In 2023, battery manufacturing reached 2.5 TWh, adding 780 GWh of capacity relative to 2022. The capacity added in 2023 was over 25% higher than in 2022.

Global battery manufacturing capacity by 2030, if announcements are completed in full and on time, could exceed 9 TWh by 2030, of which about 70% is already operational or otherwise committed. When assuming a maximum utilisation rate of 85%, this translates to the potential for almost 8 TWh of batteries to be produced in 2030, of which over 5.5 TWh is from plants already operational today and those with committed announcements. This level of production would be sufficient to meet global deployment needs in the APS and over 90% of the deployment needs in the NZE Scenario by 2030. 

Alternative battery chemistries are gaining prominence, helping ease pressure on critical mineral supply

Critical mineral price volatility and supply chain constraints pose a possible obstacle in achieving the EV deployment levels needed to get on a pathway aligned with the NZE Scenario. Today, lithium-ion batteries account for almost the entire EV battery market, and most of the common chemistries rely on the critical minerals lithium, cobalt and nickel. In 2023, lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries – the only lithium-ion battery chemistry which does not use nickel or cobalt – reached their highest market share of the past decade, at over 40%. This was in part due to price volatility of battery metals, making LFP batteries more attractive despite their lower energy density.

Supply chains for sodium-ion batteries – currently the only viable lithium-free battery alternative – are also being established. If manufactured at scale, sodium-ion batteries could cost up to 20% less than lithium-ion batteries, however, the current energy density of these batteries is lower.

The number of public charging points is increasing, but deployment must accelerate

Publicly accessible light-duty vehicle charging points in the Net Zero Scenario, 2015-2030

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While most charging demand is currently met by home charging, publicly accessible chargers are increasingly needed in order to provide the same level of convenience and accessibility as for refuelling conventional vehicles. At the end of 2023, there were 3.9 million public charging points worldwide, more than 1.1 million of which were installed in 2023, an increase of more 40% compared to 2022 stock. At the end of 2023 China was home to about 70% of the global stock of public chargers. Europe ranks second, with around 725 000 total public chargers in 2023, a 35% increase from the previous year.

By 2030, the NZE Scenario requires a stock of 17 million publicly available charging points, which would entail a year-on-year increase of around 23% per year. 

More ambitious policy making sets the course for zero-emission driving

Newly adopted and proposed GHG standards and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandates will ensure increased adoption of EVs in the future. Recent examples include:

  • In 2023, the United Kingdom passed the Vehicle Emissions Trading Schemes Order 2023, which mandates certain sales shares of zero-emission cars and vans, setting a target for annual ZEV sales shares for cars to increase from 22% in 2024 to 80% in 2030.
  • In December 2023, Canada amended its GHG regulations to include new requirements to increase the availability of zero-emission passenger cars and light trucks, targeting at least 20% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2026, at least 60% by 2030 and 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035.
  • In 2024, the EU formally adopted stricter CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles, which increases targets for CO2 emissions reductions to 45% by 2030 relative to 2019, 65% by 2035, and 90% by 2040.
  • In March 2024, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final rulemaking for Multi-Pollutant Emissions Standards for Model Years 2027 and Later Light-Duty and Medium-Duty Vehicles, which it estimates could bring electric car sales to around 70% of total sales in 2032. In the same month, the US EPA also finalised GHG standards for HDVs for model years 2028-2032, which aims to reduce emissions from trucks and heavy buses by 25-60% in 2032 compared to 2026.  

Global spending on electric cars continues to increase

Battery and EV manufacturers have faced new challenges and opportunities as major markets including the United States and the European Union introduced new industrial policies. Domestic content requirements introduced by these policies have supported the expansion plans of major battery and EV manufacturers, with billions in investments already committed as of early 2024. Worldwide, reported investment announcements from 2022 and 2023 alone exceed USD 275 billion in EVs and USD 195 billion in batteries, with around USD 190 billion of the total already committed. The level of investments observed in the past 2 years boosts confidence in the electrification of road transport.

While investments that are already committed today tend to be more heavily geared towards battery than to EV manufacturing, it is important to note that battery manufacturing and EV expansion plans typically go hand in hand, often being situated close to demand centres to create integrated supply chains. This close collaboration is important in order to deliver on targets, avoid bottlenecks and decrease costs. In addition, if committed EV battery manufacturing capacity outpaces demand from EV manufacturers, it is unlikely that it would find alternative outlets, as other key battery markets such as consumer electronics are already well supplied and have different technical specifications. Failure to deliver on EV manufacturing capacity and sales therefore creates a risk of massive sunk investment in battery manufacturing, if manufacturers are unable to export significant quantities.

A multiplying number of international initiatives and pledges aim to accelerate electric vehicle adoption

The number of multilateral initiatives and pledges focusing on electromobility has increased rapidly in the last decade. This reflects government support around the world for accelerating the transition to zero-emission transport and is an encouraging sign that international collaboration has a strong role to play in decarbonisation. To increase the impact of such initiatives, member countries should ensure that such schemes complement each other, and identify where in the EV value chain they should focus.

Major initiatives include:

  • The Accelerating to Zero (A2Z) coalition, officially launched in November 2022, aims for all sales of new cars and vans globally to be ZEVs by 2040, and by no later than 2035 in leading markets. To date, the declaration has been signed by 40 national governments spanning six continents.
  • The Zero-Emission Government Fleet Declaration, signed in September 2022, aims to reach 100% zero-emission cars and vans in government fleets, with an additional aspiration of 100% zero-emission trucks and buses acquisitions, by no later than 2035.
  • The Zero-Emission Vehicle Emerging Markets Initiative, launched in November 2022, aims to enhance co-operation between public and private actors in EMDEs to accelerate the transition to zero-emission road transport.
  • The Global Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles was launched in 2021, with signatories committing to work together to achieve 100% ZEV bus and truck sales by 2040, with an interim goal of 30% by 2030. In 2023, an additional six countries and territories signed the MoU, bringing the total number of signatories to 33, which combined represent almost 25% of the global medium- and heavy-duty truck market. 

Automakers are increasingly setting voluntary electric vehicle targets

In total, more than 20 OEMs, together representing over 90% of car sales in 2023, have set some sort of target for future EV deployment. The global electric car sales envisaged in announcements by manufacturers have increased by several percentage points based on developments over the past year. If all manufacturers’ targets on vehicle electrification are combined, between 42% and 58% of car sales in 2030 could be electric. This range encompasses the sales share for cars in the STEPS (almost 45%) and the share implied by government ambitions in the APS (almost 50%).

Newly announced and updated electrification targets for light-duty vehicles

Automaker

Target

Region

Group / Brand

Volkswagen

Increased BEV delivery target from 50% to 55% in 2030

United States

Brand

Volkswagen

Increased BEV delivery target from 70% to 80% in 2030

Europe

Brand

Ampere

Announced target of 300 000 BEV sales in 2025 and 1 million in 2031

Europe

Brand

Togg

Targets delivery of 1 million electric cars by 2030

Europe

Brand

Toyota

Accelerated production target to 20% EV by 2026

Europe

Brand

Nissan

Announced 100% BEV sales from 2030

Europe

Group

Suzuki

Presented strategy to reach 80% BEV sales share in 2030

Europe

Group

Suzuki

Presented strategy to reach 15% BEV sales share in 2030

India

Group

Suzuki

Presented strategy to reach 20% BEV sales share in 2030

Japan

Group

Subaru

Announced more ambitious target of 50% BEV sales in 2030

Global

Group

Hyundai

Raised ambition to sell 2 million EVs annually by 2030

Global

Brand

Kia

Increased 2030 EV sales target to 1.6 million

Global

Brand

Tata

Announced plan to sell 50% EVs by 2030

Global

Brand

SAIC

Increased ambition from 40% to 50% ZEV sales by 2025

Global

Group

Geely

Increased ambition from 40% to 50% ZEV sales by 2025

Global

Group

For more information on OEM announcements, please see the Global EV Outlook 2024.

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