Even though the Covid-19 pandemic hit the global automobile industry hard, causing it to contract 16%, electric vehicle sales grew strongly over the past year.
The findings come from a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) which states that the number of electric cars, vans, trucks and buses on roads is forecast to grow from 11 million this year to 145 million by the end of the decade. If governments accelerate efforts to reach climate goals, that figure could grow to as high as 230 million by 2030.
The IEA found that a record three million electric cars were registered across the world last year, 41% higher than in 2019. That trend has remained resolute into 2021 with 2.5 times as many registrations recorded in the first quarter of the year as during the same period last year. That has been driven by strong sales in Europe and China of approximately 450,000 and 500,000 vehicles, respectively. The U.S. has also seen its sales double compared to the first quarter of 2020.
Consumers spent $120 billion on electric car purchases last year with governments providing $14 billion in subsidies to support sales, up 25% from 2019, primarily due to strong incentives in Europe. Those incentives have made a difference and 2020 was especially notable for the electric vehicle industry in that it saw Europe overtake China to become the world’s largest EV market for the first time.
The surging EV market is expected to wipe out demand for millions of barrels of oil. By 2030, existing policies could result in some two million barrels of petrol and diesel fewer per day with the equivalent of up to 120 million tonnes of carbon dioxide saved. If governments raise their goals in line with global climate targets, 3.5 million barrels per day could be removed from circulation with carbon savings nearly doubling.
Read more: Forbes