Who buys electric vehicles? We look at the data

Electric vehicles are an important solution to decarbonize transport.

Electric cars generally have a lower carbon footprint than petrol or diesel cars over their lifetime. Although more carbon is emitted during the production phase, this ‘carbon debt’ tends to pay for itself quickly once in transit.1 Carbon savings are greater in countries with a cleaner electricity mix, and these savings will also increase as countries continue to decarbonize their electricity networks.

How quickly will countries switch to electric transport? Which countries are leading the way?

In this article, we look at data from around the world on electric vehicle (EV) sales and on-road inventories.

This data comes from the International Energy Agency. It publishes its Global EV Outlook every year. We will continue to update this information each time a new release is published.2

What proportion of new cars are electric?

Electric car sales started at a low level, but are growing rapidly in many markets.

Globally, about 1 in 7 new cars were electric in 2022 (the preliminary estimate for 2023 is about 1 in 5). In Norway the share was well above 4 in 5, and in China around 1 in 3.

In the chart below you can explore these trends around the world.

This also includes ‘electric cars’ fully battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

Graph illustrating the share of electric and plug-in hybrid cars sold in Britain, the EU, China and the US between 2010 and 2022.

Graphic showing the percentage of new car sales that are electric, categorized by country or region, indicating significant variation in electric vehicle adoption rates worldwide.

Fully electric cars versus plug-in hybrids

‘Electric cars’ include battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The difference is that fully battery electric cars Do not have a combustion engine, while plug-in hybrids have a rechargeable battery and electric motor And a combustion engine that runs on gasoline.

This means that a plug-in hybrid can be driven like a standard petrol car if the owner has not charged the battery. The battery in plug-in hybrids is smaller and has a shorter range than battery-electric cars, meaning the car will run on petrol for longer distances once the battery is empty.

Because plug-in hybrids often run on gasoline, they generally emit more CO2 than battery-electric cars. However, they generally have lower emissions than petrol or diesel cars.3

The first graph below shows electric car sales broken down by these two technologies. This is shown as the share of new cars sold annually.

In the second part you will find the share of new electric cars sold completely battery-electric.

Comparative chart of electric and plug-in hybrid car market share from 2010 to 2022 in the world, China and the European Union.

Line graph showing the percentage share of new electric cars from 2016 to 2022 in China, Norway, the United Kingdom, Sweden and the United States.

How many new electric cars are sold annually?

The graph below shows the total number of new electric cars sold. Again, this includes fully battery electric and plug-in hybrids.

Clicking on a country will show you how sales have changed over time.

World map illustrating the number of new electric cars per country in 2022, with different shades indicating the quantity sold, ranging from no data to more than 10 million vehicles.

How many new combustion engine cars and electric cars are sold annually?

Based on the data published by the IEA on the number of electric cars sold and the sales of electric cars as a percentage of all new cars, we can calculate the absolute number of new cars of each type sold annually.

These figures suggest that global sales of non-electric cars peaked in 2018. This is consistent with other estimates published elsewhere; For example, Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that sales peaked in 2017.

You can also see this data for other countries in the chart below.

What proportion of cars on the road are electric?

The cars on the road today represent more than a decade of sales data.

This can be captured in a metric called “shares.” It is an estimate of the number of cars in use and represents the balance of cars being added and those being retired.

Because people use their cars for a long time, it takes some time before new sales have a visible impact on car stocks. This means that the share of electric cars on the road is much lower than the share of new sales.

Smarter faster: the Big Think newsletter

Sign up to receive counterintuitive, surprising, and impactful stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday

The share of electric cars used is shown in the graph below.

Bar chart showing the annual number of electric and non-electric cars sold worldwide between 2010 and 2022, with electric car sales increasing over time.

How many electric cars are on the road?

The number of electric cars on the road is the cumulative total of sales over the years (minus the cars taken off the road).

The total number of electric car inventories is shown in the graph below. There are now more than 25 million electric cars in use worldwide, and this number is growing rapidly.

Electric vehicle adoption trends from 2010 to 2022 show significant growth worldwide, with notable increases in China, the European Union and the United States.

Republished under a Creative Commons BY license from Our World In Data. Read the original article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *