Electric Vehicle Statistics : 2 millions & counting

“Electric Vehicle Statistics : 2 millions & counting “  article provides in depth analysis of  electric car and Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) data for the 39 countries . It is an effort to summarize the publication prepared by the Energy Technology Policy division of the Directorate of Sustainability, Technology and Outlooks (STO) of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Let’s start with interesting facts and figures to know more about Electric Vehicle Global Outlook. Expecting your comments or discussion @ end of this article.


New registrations of electric cars hit a new record in 2016, with over 750 thousand sales
worldwide. With a 29% market share, Norway has incontestably achieved the most successful deployment of electric cars in terms of market share, globally. It is followed by the Netherlands, with a 6.4% electric car market share, and Sweden with 3.4%. China, France and the United Kingdom all have electric car market shares close to

Graph 1

Source :  IEA analysis based on EVI country submissions

In 2016, China was by far the largest electric car market, accounting for more than 40% of the electric cars sold in the world and more than double the amount sold in the United States.The global electric car stock surpassed 2 million vehicles in 2016 after crossing the 1 million threshold in 2015 (Figure 1).

Key point: The electric car stock has been growing since 2010 and surpassed the 2 million-vehicle threshold in 2016. So far, battery electric vehicle (BEV) uptake has been consistently ahead of the uptake of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

Until 2015, the United States accounted for the largest portion of the global electric car stock. In 2016, China became the country with the largest electric car stock, with about a third of the global total. With more than 200 million electric two-wheelers,
3 3 to 4 million low-speed electric vehicles (LSEVs) and more than 300 thousand electric buses, China is also by far the global leader in the electrification of other transport modes.

Electric car stock (BEV and PHEV) by country, 2005-16 (thousands)EV Car Stock

Battery Stock

Plug in stock

As the number of electric cars on the road has continued to increase, private and publicly accessible charging infrastructure has also continued to grow. In 2016, the annual growth rate of publicly available charging (72%) was higher, but of a similar magnitude, than the electric car stock growth rate in the same year (60%).


Figure 2 :

Graph 2

Key point: The two main electric car markets are China and the United States. Six countries reached EV market shares of more than 1% in 2016: Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, the United Kingdom and China.


Registrations of electric cars hit a new record in 2016, with over 750 thousand sales worldwide. However, sales for 2016 showed a slowdown in the market growth rate compared with previous years to 40%, making 2016 the first year since 2010 that year-on-year electric car sales growth fell below 50%. Despite the decline, maintaining the 2016 rate of growth over the following years will still allow for meeting the sales and stock objectives of the 2DS for 2025.

China was by far the largest electric car market in 2016, with 336 thousand new electric cars registered. Electric car sales in China were more than double the amount in the United States, where 2016 electric car registrations rebounded to 160 thousand units after a slight drop in the previous year (Figure 2). European countries accounted for 215 thousand electric car sales.

Both globally and in the European Union, the electric car market is still concentrated in a limited number of countries. In Europe, most of the electric cars sold in 2016 were registered in just six countries: Norway, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Globally, 95% of electric car sales are taking place in just ten countries: China, the United States, Japan, Canada and the six leading European countries.

Registration 1

Resistration 2

Registration 3

In 2016, six countries achieved an electric car market share above 1% of their total PLDV sales. Among these, Norway was the incontestable global leader, with a 29% market share, the result of a favourable policy environment in recent years comprising a large range of incentives, from tax breaks and exemptions to waivers on road tolls and ferry fees. Norway was followed by the Netherlands, with a 6.4% electric car market share, and Sweden with a 3.4% share. China, France and the United Kingdom all had electric car market shares close to 1.5%. China and France also have BEV-oriented markets, and roughly three-quarters of their 2016 electric car sales were BEVs, and only one-quarter were PHEVs. In contrast, in the Ntherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom, the majority of electric cars registered in 2016 were PHEVs.

Market Research Data

In Japan, Norway and the rest of the world, on average, electric car sales were more equally split between BEVs and PHEVs (Figure 2).


The year 2016 also recorded important announcements on electric car deployment targets from major global OEMs. These included announcements by Tesla, aiming to deploy at least 1 million sales by 2020, or Volkswagen, which unveiled a plan for a significant shift towards the production of electric powertrains and announced no less than 30 electric models to enter the market by 2025 (Volkswagen, 2016). Between 2015 and early 2017, nine global OEMs publicly announced their willingness to create or significantly widen their electric model offer over the next five to ten years. In China, which accounts for one-third of the global electric car stock by 2025 , several Chinese OEMs also announced significant electric car production capacity scale-up plans. A summary of all the announcements that were tracked in
this assessment is provided in Table 1.

Tabke 1 : List of OEMs announcements on electric car ambitions, as of April 2017

Figure 3

Overall, accounting for the global OEM announcements and targets listed in Table 1, the electric car stock stemming from the OEM targets could range between 9 million and 20 million by 2020.
Considering announcements to 2025 and applying growth rates based on the RTS to targets announced to 2020, the OEM announcements listed in Table 1 could lead to 40-70 million electric cars on the road by 2025.




Charging electric vehicles requires the use of cables, connectors and communication protocols between the vehicles and the EVSE, as well as the EVSE-grid communication, i.e. the communication between the EVSE and the distribution system operator (DSO). The EVSE suitable for electric cars has three main characteristics:
level, describing the power output of an EVSE outlet
type, referring to the socket and connector being used for charging
mode, which describes the communication protocol between the vehicle and the

International standardisation bodies and other associations define these characteristics through standards. Standards may focus on just one of the characteristics or a combination of them. Key standardisation entities involved in the development of these standards include the International Organization for Standardization (ISO); the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC); the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) of the United States; and the Standardization Administration of China (SAC), which issues Chinese national standards (GuoBiao, GB).

In addition to these standard-setting bodies and associations, Tesla has been using its own standard to support all levels and modes of charging through the same connector type. The exception is now Europe, where Tesla needs to comply with the mandate regarding interoperability objectives to use specific standards for sockets and connectors for normal (Level 2) and high-power (Level 3) recharging points.

Table 2 : Overview of the level (power output) and type (socket and connector) of EVSE used in China, Europe, Japan and the United StatesFigure 4

Key point: Various sockets and connectors are in use across the main global regions. Two main combined charging systems (CCSs) were recently developed to standardise the connections. They are the current standards adopted in Europe and the United States.

Overall, it is important to highlight connectors for two main CCSs, which have been recently developed to minimise differences and are gaining relevance. They are currently suitable for the Level 2 and 3 standards adopted in Europe and the United States. These standards, coupled with the HomePlug PHY communication protocol and the global standard for communication between charging stations and electric cars,
are emerging as the most interesting recent developments towards a global charging solution.
To date, there are few standardised protocols for EVSE-grid communication, but efforts to develop them have started.


Electric cars still outnumber public charging stations by more than six to one, indicating that most drivers rely primarily on private charging stations

Figure 3 : Global EVSE outlets, 2010-16

Figure 5

The growth of publicly accessible chargers accompanies the increase in the number of electric cars on the road: the growth rate in the number of publicly accessible chargers in 2016 (72%) was higher, but of similar magnitude, to that of the electric car stock growth in the same year (60%).
The higher rate of growth for chargers than electric cars is consistent with the need to deploy chargers as a prerequisite for EV adoption and the nascent nature of most of the electric car markets

Slow charger.jpg

Fast charger.jpg

Publicly accessible EVSE growth was primarily driven by the rapid increase in the number of fast chargers, largely attributable to China, where fast chargers grew sevenfold to nearly 90 thousand units.31 Even when China is not considered, the growth rate for publicly accessible fast chargers in 2016 was still greater than publicly available slow chargers.

Figure 4 : Electric car stock and publicly available EVSE outlets, by country and type of charger, 2016

Figure 6

Figure 4 shows the regional distribution of electric cars (left-hand chart), publicly accessible slow chargers (centre chart) and fast chargers (right-hand chart).

Figure 4 indicates that the shares of publicly available EVSE are not evenly distributed across markets, reflecting large variations in EV/EVSE ratios across counties. This is consistent with the early stage of EV deployment in most markets. In the case of fast chargers, the large global share for China could be the result of the rapid growth of electric buses (significantly larger than in any global region so far) and significant
uncertainty about the share of fast chargers actually dedicated to bus services.

Japan, where 50-kW fast chargers were deployed early in order to address range anxiety (i.e. the fear that a vehicle has insufficient energy stored on board to reach the next available recharging point or its destination), but where EV sales have not experienced recent, significant year-on-year growth,also has high shares of fast chargers per EV compared with other countries.


China continued to dominate both new registrations and the global stock of electric two wheelers in 2016, with estimates of sales that are in line with those reported in EVI (2016a) (roughly 26 million, according to the EVI data submission from China). Given the development of  two-wheeler sales over time and scrappage ages that should be reasonably close to eight to ten years, the vehicle stock should also be in the same magnitude of the values estimated for 2015, in the 200-230 million range.

While data quality and collection remain an issue, it is evident that
China is by far the global leader. The high growth rate in electric two-wheelers is partially due to the country’s policies to limit air pollution hazards, such as its ban on gasoline-powered motorcycles, limits on the issuing of licences, and the division of lanes (Yang et al., 2014).
Additionally, two-wheelers have reached cost parity with ICE models, making them affordable and attractive to consumers. Further data collection is necessary to validate and compare more countries and rationalise information for international comparison. The few data points available suggest that the United Kingdom experienced a positive growth in the number of two-wheelers from 2015 to 2016.

Three-wheelers, widespread in Asian countries and mainly known as tuk-tuks, are also attracting the attention of policy makers and are bound to become increasingly electrified. For example, the Thai government is planning to start electrifying its vehicle fleet by tackling tuk-tuks through a subsidy programme aimed at supporting the introduction of 100 of them by 2018. The policy goal is to fully replace the 22,000 tuk-tuks currently on the roads within five years (Thai Rath,2016).


Low-speed electric vehicles (LSEVs) are gaining relevance primarily in China, where they have emerged as a competitor to both electric vehicles and two-wheelers. LSEVs generally have a maximum speed of between 40 km/h and 70 km/h, have short ranges and, in some cases, use lead-acid batteries and basic motor technology. Estimates for LSEV sales in 2016 were between 1.2 million and 1.5 million, and the year-on-year growth rate since 2014 was close to 50% for thethird consecutive year
. Since LSEVs started to develop after 2011 (EVI, 2016a), their current stock is
likely to be close to 3-4 million units.
The main attractions of LSEVs are their low cost, small size, and the lack of regulations (for instance, they do not require a driving licence or insurance to operate).

This is especially advantageous for low-income consumers who live in small or medium-sized cities, the elderly, and those in cities where the number of new licence plates is restricted. In China’s Shandong province, the growing LSEV industry has also contributed significantly to job creation.

The growing use of LSEVs has not materialised without concerns. The use of lead-acid batteries has had negative environmental effects, and the lack of regulations for LSEV manufacturers has led to poor safety performance. Traffic safety is also at stake. LSEVs struggle in large cities due to their poor acceleration and low top speeds. They are often used in bike lanes, and, since both the drivers and the LSEVs themselves do not require specific documentation to operate, are difficult to control. Lastly, LSEVs could jeopardise the market for electric cars, one of China’s priorities for industrial policy development.
Legislation to regulate and standardise LSEVs is currently being discussed by the Chinese
government (MIIT, 2016). According to the China Electrical Car Network (CNEV), some of the issues that will be addressed by regulations include battery types (lead-acid versus lithium-ion batteries), mandatory safety tests and vehicle dimensions (Yang, 2016). The high-level objectiveis to upgrade the LSEV fleet in circulation, regulate and standardise the vehicles and eliminate the LSEVs that do not comply with these standards.


With record-high new electric car registrations in 2016 (over 750 thousand sales worldwide), the transition to electric road transport technologies that began only a decade ago is gaining momentum and holds promise for a low-emission future, provided that such dynamism can be sustained over the coming decades. As the global stock of electric cars surpasses 2 million units, a number of countries are coming forward as global leaders. Norway had the highest electric car market share globally (29%) in 2016. China experienced an extremely rapid market growth, from 100 thousand units in circulation in 2014 to 650 thousand units two years later.

The provision of private and publicly accessible charging infrastructure has accompanied the growth of the electric car stock. In 2016, the number of publicly accessible charging points reached 320 000 units globally, representing a 72% growth since 2015. These successes are driven by the multiple benefits EVs can bring to governments and citizens: energy security (thanks to the energy efficient nature of electric mobility and reduced dependence to oil), urban air quality, noise
mitigation and greenhouse gas reductions.
Governments and local authorities are implementing policies aimed at reaping the benefits of EVs. The tools currently available for policy makers include, among others, purchase subsidies, measures supporting EVSE deployment, fuel economy standards, ZEV mandates and access restrictions. RD&D and mass production are also delivering rapid cost declines and increases in energy density. Signs of continuing improvements in technologies currently being researched confirm that these trends will continue and that they will further improve performance andnarrow the cost competitiveness gap between electric and ICE vehicles.
In the next 10 to 20 years the electric car market will likely transition from early deployment to mass market adoption. Assessments of country targets, OEM announcements and scenarios on electric car deployment seem to confirm these positive signals; indicating that the electric car stock may range between 9 million and 20 million by 2020 and between 40 million and 70 million by 2025.
As the number of EVs increases, charging could have a sizeable impact on the capacity required by the grid at certain times and locations, with consequences for the adequacy and quality of the power supply, risks of cost increases for consumers and the potential for negative feedback on transport electrification prospects. EVSE deployment needs to be conceived in a way that manages these risks while taking advantage of the options available for mitigating these impacts.

Source : International Energy Agency,  Website: http://www.iea.org

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