EV Headlines from 2020

EVs sales up 40% in 2020; Europe more than doubles

  • The IEA reports that new EV sales increased 40% in 2020 over 2019. There are over 10 million EVs on the road. If car sales continue to increase by 40% annually, then essentially all light vehicle sales will be EVs by 2030.
  • Total vehicle sales dropped 14%. The pandemic strongly impacted EV sales in 2020, but not nearly as much as ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle sales.
  • EV sales grew in Europe by 137%, in China by 12% and in the US by a meager 4%. Incentives in Europe drove higher adoptions. CleanTechnica forecasts a 70% growth in US EV sales in 2021.

The second half of 2020 saw significant new strength in EV sales. September global plug-in electric car sales achieved a major record at 345,000 total sales, 91% over September 2019 and nearly 5% of global vehicle sales. One in twenty of all vehicles sold in September were battery electric vehicles (BEVs) or pluggable hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

Inside Climate News: “Was 2020 The Year That EVs Hit it Big? Almost, But Not Quite”. Europe may reach 10% EV sales in 2020 vs 2% in the US, mainly due to differences in federal administration. And 2021 is looking like a big year for EVs.

Here are some EV articles from CleanTechnica, especially noting EV % of sales in Europe during December 2020:

  • Norway: 87%
  • Netherlands: 72%
  • Sweden: 50%
  • Germany 27%
  • UK 23%
  • France 19%

Investments in battery factories keep doubling, and Tesla plans to build 20 million vehicles annually by 2030.

This year Consumer Reports did an objective survey of EV costs, “EVs Offer Big Savings Over Traditional Gas-Powered Cars” and polled 3,392 Americans on EVs “Consumer Reports Survey Shows Strong Interest in Electric Cars” “Although only 30 percent of survey respondents report knowing much about EVs, almost all had at least heard of them. More significant is the level of interest in EVs—71 percent of U.S. drivers say they would consider buying one at some point in the future, with nearly a third indicating interest in an EV for their next vehicle purchase.” Their ranking of sales objections:

  1. Vehicle range. 
  2. Enough chargers. 
  3. Purchase price. 
  4. Insufficient knowledge of EVs  
  5. Lack of a means to charge at home. 

On the climate crisis and the gap with EV sales: A little arithmetic illustrates a need to reach 100% EV sales by about 2025 (Norway’s ramp) to achieve the IPCC recommendation of 45% reduction of GHG emissions by 2030 with vehicles. Such a ramp is feasible for US automakers.

Various companies are piloting recycling of EV batteries, some claiming very clean processes with high material reclamation.

And best of all, BP forecasted that we’re already past peak oil demand!

Published Jan. 2 2021, updated with EIA information Jan. 31, 2021.