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More than one in five cars sold worldwide this year will be electric — IEA

An electric vehicle at a charging station.
Photo: Su Wei/Dreamstime

More than one in five cars sold worldwide this year will be electric, according to the International Energy Agency, which says that surging demand over the next decade will significantly reduce oil consumption for road transport.

In its annual Global EV Outlook report, the IEA projects that 17 million EVs will be sold in 2024, up from 14 million last year.

In the first quarter, sales were up 25% from the same period in 2023 – similar to the growth rate seen a year ago, but from a larger base. The number of electric cars sold globally in the first three months of the year is roughly the same as the number sold in all of 2020.

Electric cars sales in China are projected to reach 10 million this year, accounting for about 45% of all car sales in the world’s largest automotive market. This is why oil giant Sinopec recently said gasoline demand in the country likely peaked in 2023.

The US, meanwhile, remains a laggard, with one in nine cars sold expected to be electric. In Europe, electric models will account for one in four cars sold.

Some developing countries are seeing strong growth too, including Vietnam, where EVs are expected to comprise 15% of total car sales in 2024.

Graphic: IEA

A hit to oil: Substantial investment in the electric vehicle supply chain, ongoing policy support, and declines in the prices of EVs and their batteries are expected to yield even more significant changes in the years to come, the IEA says, noting that most electric cars sold in China are already cheaper than combustion-engine alternatives.

Under today’s policy settings, one in two cars sold globally will be electric by 2035. Together with the gradual electrification of buses, trucks and other vehicles, this’ll avoid the need for more than 10 million barrels of oil per day in 2035. That’s equivalent to all the oil demand from road transport in the US today.

If countries meet their energy and climate pledges, however, two in three cars sold would be electric by then.

“Rather than tapering off, the global EV revolution appears to be gearing up for a new phase of growth,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol said in a statement.

“Based on today’s policy settings alone, almost one in three cars on the roads in China by 2030 is set to be electric, and almost one in five in both the US and European Union. This shift will have major ramifications for both the auto industry and the energy sector.”

Ensuring that the availability of public charging keeps pace with electric vehicle sales is crucial for continued growth, the agency says, adding that utilities will also need to plan for rising power demand.

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