Sale of Electric Cars Likely to Touch 10 Million Mark in 2020: IEA Report

The report, however, warned that the second wave of COVID-19 could lead to different outcomes


The number of electric cars plying on the road is expected to touch almost 10 million in 2020, with sales growing despite the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report issued by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The report states that this year, electric car sales are expected to do better than other car markets. It also noted that the EV sales might be close to the 2.1 million mark this year as well. According to the IEA’s Global EV Outlook report, sales of electric cars topped 2.1 million globally in 2019.

The report also stated that, based on the data from January to April this year, total global passenger car sales in 2020 are set to decline by 15%. “The COVID-19 pandemic will affect global vehicle markets, and how governments respond to the pandemic will influence the pace of the transition to electric vehicles,” the report added.

The infrastructure for electric vehicle charging continues to expand as well, the report noted. In 2019, there were about 7.3 million chargers worldwide, of which about 6.5 million were private, light-duty vehicle slow chargers in homes, multi-dwelling buildings, and workplaces. Convenience, cost-effectiveness, and a variety of support policies (such as preferential rates, equipment purchase incentives, and rebates) are the main drivers for the prevalence of private charging.

The IEA’s report also stated that the global electric car sales grew by at least 30% every year over the past decade except in 2019 when the growth slowed down to 6% as the regulatory environment changed in China.

In 2019, China remained the largest car market in the world. Over one million electric cars were sold in China last year, a 2% decrease from the previous year.

In May, Mercom had reported that the Ministry of Finance of the People’s Republic of China had issued a notice on ways to promote financial subsidies for new electric vehicles. It had stated that the order was to support the new electric vehicle industry. The ministry also noted that the current subsidies for fuel cell-based vehicles must also be adjusted and that the industry must strive to establish hydrogen energy and fuel vehicle industry chain in about four years.

Europe was the second-largest market, with 561,000 cars sold in 2019, while the United States sold 327,000 cars in the same year, the report added.

Electric cars are expected to account for nearly 1% of the global car stock with this year’s sales. However, the report stated that the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and slow economic recovery could lead to different outcomes.

“Ultimately, government responses to the pandemic and how consumers emerge from the crisis will determine what happens to electric car markets in 2020 and beyond,” it noted.

The International Energy Agency also pointed out that last year, all-electric vehicles combined avoided the consumption of almost 0.6 million barrels of oil products per day globally.

In India, the sale of electric vehicles increased by 20% in 2019-20.  According to the Society of Manufacturers of Electric vehicles, the EV industry sold 156,000 electric vehicles in the financial year (FY) 2019-20. This rising uptake in the country has been mostly on account of two-wheelers.


Image credit: UMB / Attribution