China, US and Europe accounted for more than 90% of electric vehicle sales last year with decreasing costs driving demand
The number of electric cars in the world accelerated past the 2m barrier last year, as prices fell and manufacturers launched new models.
The number of battery-powered vehicles numbered just hundreds globally in 2005 and passed the 1m milestone in 2015, but sales jumped 60% in 2016.
China, the US and Europe accounted for more than 90% of electric vehicle sales last year, with China the single biggest market, according to research by the International Energy Agency.
In some European countries, growth has been so fast that electric cars are taking significant market share from petrol and diesel cars.
Nearly a third of new cars sold in Norway are electric, the highest proportion worldwide, followed by 6.4% in the Netherlands and 3.4% in Sweden.
While the UK lags behind on annual registrations, industry figures this week showed that a record 4.4% of new cars sold in May were hybrid or pure electric models. More than 100,000 electric cars have been sold in the UK under a grant scheme launched in 2011.
The growth globally indicated a “rapid market evolution” in electric cars, the IEA said, but it cautioned that they made up only 0.2% of all passenger cars.
Greg Archer, clean vehicles director at the Brussels-based Transport and Environment group, said:
“The rapid rise in electric vehicle sales is a consumer-driven phenomenon rather than being down to the efforts of suppliers.”
The number of electric cars on the road globally hit 2m in 2016
Decreasing costs, longer battery ranges and an increasing number of charging points were driving demand, he said.
Read more: The Guardian