Global EV sales are ‘robust’ – more than 1 in 5 cars sold in 2024 will be electric

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More than 1 in 5 cars sold globally this year is expected to be electric, with surging demand projected over the next decade, says a new International Energy Agency (IEA) report.

Rising EV sales are set to remake the global auto industry and significantly reduce oil consumption for road transport, according to the new edition of the IEA’s annual Global EV Outlook, released today. 

The latest IEA Outlook report asserts that global EV sales are set to remain “robust” in 2024, reaching around 17 million by the end of the year. In Q1, sales grew by about 25% year-over-year – similar to the growth rate seen in the same period a year earlier but from a larger base. The number of EVs sold globally in Q1 2024 is roughly equivalent to that in all of 2020. 

In 2024, electric car sales in China are projected to jump to about 10 million, accounting for about  45% of all car sales in the country. In the US, roughly 1 in 9 cars sold are projected to be electric. In Europe, despite a generally weak outlook for passenger car sales and the phase-out of EV subsidies in some countries, EVs are still set to represent about 1 in 4 cars sold.

This growth builds on a record-breaking 2023. Last year, global electric car sales soared by 35% to  almost 14 million. While demand remained largely concentrated in China, Europe, and the US, growth also picked up in some emerging markets such as Vietnam and Thailand, where electric cars accounted for 15% and 10%, respectively, of all cars sold.

IEA executive director Fatih Birol said:

The continued momentum behind electric cars is clear in our data, although it is stronger in some markets than others. Rather than tapering off, the global EV revolution appears to be gearing up for a new phase of growth.

The wave of investment in battery manufacturing suggests the EV supply chain is advancing to meet automakers’ ambitious plans for expansion. As a result, the share of EVs on the roads is expected to continue to climb rapidly. Based on today’s policy settings alone, almost 1 in 3 cars on the roads in China by 2030 is set to be electric, and almost 1 in 5 in both the United States and European Union.

This shift will have major ramifications for both the auto industry and the energy sector.

In China, more than 60% of electric cars sold in 2023 were already less expensive to buy than gas cars. In the US and Europe, the gas cars’ prices remained cheaper on average, though intensifying market competition and improving battery technologies are expected to reduce prices in the coming years. Growing electric car exports from Chinese automakers, which accounted for more than half of all electric car sales in 2023, could add to downward pressure on purchase prices.

According to the IEA’s report, ensuring that the availability of public charging keeps pace with EV sales is crucial for continued growth. The number of public charging points installed globally was up 40% in 2023 relative to 2022, and DC fast charger growth outpaced that of Level 1 and 2 chargers.

However, to meet a level of EV deployment in line with the pledges made by governments, the IEA says charging networks need to grow sixfold by 2035. At the same time, policy support and careful planning are essential to make sure greater demand for electricity from charging doesn’t overstretch grids.

Read more: These are the best-selling used EVs – and what’s being traded in for them


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