Growth in electric car sales remains robust as major markets progress and emerging economies ramp up

Electric car sales keep rising and could reach around 17 million in 2024, accounting for more than one in five cars sold worldwide. Electric cars continue to make progress towards becoming a mass-market product in a larger number of countries. Tight margins, volatile battery metal prices, high inflation, and the phase-out of purchase incentives in some countries have sparked concerns about the industry’s pace of growth, but global sales data remain strong. In the first quarter of 2024, electric car sales grew by around 25% compared with the first quarter of 2023, similar to the year-on-year growth seen in the same period in 2022. In 2024, the market share of electric cars could reach up to 45% in China, 25% in Europe and over 11% in the United States, underpinned by competition among manufacturers, falling battery and car prices, and ongoing policy support.

Quarterly electric car sales by region, 2021-2024


Growth expectations for 2024 build on a record year: in 2023, global sales of electric cars neared 14 million, reaching 18% of all cars sold. This is up from 14% in 2022. Electric car sales in 2023 were 3.5 million higher than in 2022, a 35% year-on-year increase. This indicates robust growth even as many major markets enter a new phase, with uptake shifting from early adopters to the mass market. Over 250 000 electric cars were sold every week last year, more than the number sold in a year just a decade ago. Chinese carmakers produced more than half of all electric cars sold worldwide in 2023, despite accounting for just 10% of global sales of cars with internal combustion engines.

The pace at which electric car sales pick up in emerging and developing economies outside China will determine their global success. The vast majority of electric car sales in 2023 were in China (60%), Europe (25%) and the United States (10%). By comparison, these regions accounted for around 65% of total car sales worldwide, showing that sales of electric models remain more geographically concentrated than those of conventional ones. While electric car sales in emerging economies have been lagging those in the three big markets, growth picked up in 2023 in countries such as Viet Nam (around 15% of all cars sold) and Thailand (10%). In emerging economies with large car markets, shares are still relatively low, but several factors point to further growth. Policy measures such as purchase subsidies and incentives for electric vehicle (EV) and battery manufacturing are playing a key role. In India (where electric cars have a 2% market share), the Production Linked Incentives (PLI) Scheme is supporting domestic manufacturing. In Brazil (3% share), Indonesia, Malaysia (2% share each), and Thailand, cheaper models, mainly from Chinese brands, are underpinning uptake. In Mexico, EV supply chains are rapidly developing, stimulated by access to subsidies from the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Policy support is boosting industry investment, building confidence that rapid electrification will continue

Every other car sold globally in 2035 is set to be electric based on today’s energy, climate and industrial policy settings, as reflected in the IEA’s Stated Policies Scenario. This has significant impacts on the car fleet. As soon as 2030, almost one in three cars on the roads in China is electric in this scenario, and almost one in five in both the United States and European Union. The rapid uptake of EVs of all types – cars, vans, trucks, buses and two/three-wheelers – avoids 6 million barrels per day (mb/d) of oil demand in the Stated Policies Scenario in 2030, and over 10 mb/d in 2035. This is equivalent to the amount of oil used for road transport in the United States today. Recent policy developments continue to reinforce expectations for swift electrification, such as new emissions standards adopted in Canada, the European Union and the United States over the past year. Industrial incentives – such as those in the US IRA, the EU Net Zero Industry Act, China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, and India’s PLI scheme – also encourage adding value and creating jobs across EV supply chains in those economies. If all the national energy and climate targets made by governments are met in full and on time, as in the Announced Pledges Scenario, two-thirds of all vehicles sold in 2035 could be electric, avoiding around 12 mb/d of oil.

Expectations of strong growth are bolstering investment in the EV supply chain. Recent reporting shows that from 2022 to 2023, investment announcements in EV and battery manufacturing totalled almost USD 500 billion, of which around 40% has been committed. Over 20 major car manufacturers, representing more than 90% of global car sales in 2023, have set electrification targets. Taking the targets of all the largest automakers together, more than 40 million electric cars could be sold in 2030, which would meet the level of deployment projected under today’s policy settings.

Enough battery manufacturing capacity has reached a final investment decision to deliver on announced pledges from automakers and governments globally. Thanks to high levels of investment in the past 5 years, global EV battery manufacturing capacity far exceeded demand in 2023, at around 2.2 terawatt-hours and 750 gigawatt-hours, respectively. Demand is likely to grow quickly: up seven times by 2035 compared with 2023 in the Stated Policies Scenario, nine times in the Announced Pledges Scenario, and 12 times in the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, which lays out a pathway to reach net zero energy sector emissions by mid-century. Manufacturing capacity appears capable of keeping pace with demand: committed and existing battery manufacturing capacity alone are practically aligned with the needs in a net zero pathway in 2030. Such prospects are opening significant opportunities across the supply chain for battery and mining companies, including in emerging markets outside China, although surplus capacity has been hurting margins and may lead to further market consolidation.

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


The pricing strategies of car manufacturers will be crucial for improving affordability, as will the pace of EV battery price decline. Turmoil in battery metal markets in 2022 led to the first price increase for lithium-ion packs, which became 7% more expensive than in 2021. In 2023, however, the prices of the key metals used to make batteries dropped, leading to a near-14% fall in pack prices year-on-year. China still supplies the cheapest batteries, but prices across regions are converging as batteries become a globalised commodity. Lithium-iron-phosphate batteries – which are significantly cheaper than those based on lithium, nickel, manganese and cobalt oxide – accounted for over 40% of global EV sales by capacity in 2023, more than double their share in 2020. Looking ahead, technological innovation will remain important for scaling up novel designs and chemistries such as sodium-ion batteries, which could cost as much as 20% less than lithium-based batteries without requiring any lithium.

In developing economies outside China, more affordable electric car models are arriving, and the future of electric two- and three-wheelers already looks bright. In 2023, 55% to 95% of the electric car sales across major emerging and developing economies were large models that are unaffordable for the average consumer, hindering mass-market uptake. However, smaller and much more affordable models launched in 2022 and 2023 have quickly become bestsellers, especially those by Chinese carmakers expanding overseas. Affordable electric two- and three-wheelers are also already available, helping deliver immediate benefits such as improved air quality and emissions reductions. Around 1.3 million electric two-wheelers were sold in India and Southeast Asia in 2023, accounting for 5% and 3% of total sales, respectively. One in five three-wheelers sold globally in 2023 was electric, and nearly 60% of those sold in India, boosted by the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME II) subsidy scheme.

As electric vehicle markets mature, second-hand electric cars will become more widely available. In 2023, the market size for used electric cars was around 800 000 in China, 400 000 in the United States, and over 450 000 across France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The prices of used electric cars are falling quickly and becoming competitive with combustion engine equivalents. Looking ahead, international trade of used electric cars is also expected to increase, including to emerging and developing economies outside of China.

The battery recycling industry is getting ready for the 2030s. Recycling and reuse are needed for supply chain sustainability and security. Many technology developers are seeking to position themselves in EV end-of-life markets, but planned locations do not always align with where EV retirement may occur. Global battery recycling capacity reached 300 gigawatt-hours in 2023. If all announced projects materialise, it could exceed 1 500 gigawatt-hours in 2030, of which 70% would be in China. Globally, announced recycling capacity is more than three times the supply of batteries that could potentially be recycled in 2030, as EVs reach their end of life in the Announced Pledges Scenario. However, EV battery retirement is expected to grow rapidly from the second half of the 2030s.

The roll-out of public charging needs to keep pace with EV sales

The global number of installed public charging points was up 40% in 2023 relative to 2022, and growth for fast chargers outpaced that of slower ones. In major EV markets, the deployment of charging points is continuing apace thanks to targeted policies. Broad, affordable access to public charging infrastructure will be needed for a mass-market switch to electric transport and to enable longer journeys – even if most charging continues to take place privately in residential and workplace settings. To reach EV deployment levels in the Announced Policies Scenario, public charging needs to increase sixfold by 2035.

As more electric heavy-duty vehicles such as trucks and large buses hit the road, dedicated and flexible charging is needed. In 2023, electric buses accounted for 3% of total bus sales. Electric truck sales jumped 35% compared with 2022, accounting for about 3% of truck sales in China and 1.5% in Europe. Under today’s policy settings, the stock of electric buses increases sevenfold by 2035 and that of electric trucks around thirtyfold, supported by tougher emissions standards in the United States and European Union. This level of deployment could require a twentyfold jump in charging capacity by 2035 – not only in depots, but also along main transit routes to enable long-distance trucking. Increasing heavy-duty charging has important implications for expanding and operating electrical grids, with opportunities for greater flexibility and renewables integration. Policy support, careful planning and co-ordination will be essential to ensure a secure, affordable and low-emissions supply of electricity with limited strain on local grids.