Trends and developments in electric vehicle markets

More than 10 million electric cars were on the world’s roads in 2020 with battery electric models driving the expansion

Global electric passenger car stock, 2010-2020


Electric car registrations increased in major markets in 2020 despite the Covid pandemic

Global Electric car registrations and market share, 2015-2020


Electric car registrations and market share in north-western european region, 2015-2020


Electric car registrations and market share in selected countries, 2015-2020


Electric cars had a record year in 2020, with Europe overtaking China as the biggest market


After a decade of rapid growth, in 2020 the global electric car stock hit the 10 million mark, a 43% increase over 2019, and representing a 1% stock share. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) accounted for two-thirds of new electric car registrations and two-thirds of the stock in 2020. China, with 4.5 million electric cars, has the largest fleet, though in 2020 Europe had the largest annual increase to reach 3.2 million.

Overall the global market for all types of cars was significantly affected by the economic repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic. The first part of 2020 saw new car registrations drop about one-third from the preceding year. This was partially offset by stronger activity in the second-half, resulting in a 16% drop overall year-on-year. Notably, with conventional and overall new car registrations falling, global electric car sales share rose 70% to a record 4.6% in 2020.

About 3 million new electric cars were registered in 2020. For the first time, Europe led with 1.4 million new registrations. China followed with 1.2 million registrations and the United States registered 295 000 new electric cars.

Numerous factors contributed to increased electric car registrations in 2020. Notably, electric cars are gradually becoming more competitive in some countries on a total cost of ownership basis. Several governments provided or extended fiscal incentives that buffered electric car purchases from the downturn in car markets. 


Overall Europe’s car market contracted 22% in 2020. Yet, new electric car registrations more than doubled to 1.4 million representing a sales share of 10%. In the large markets, Germany registered 395 000 new electric cars and France registered 185 000.  The United Kingdom more than doubled registrations to reach 176 000. Electric cars in Norway reached a record high sales share of 75%, up about one-third from 2019. Sales shares of electric cars exceeded 50% in Iceland, 30% in Sweden and reached 25% in the Netherlands. 

This surge in electric car registrations in Europe despite the economic slump reflect two policy measures. First, 2020 was the target year for the European Union’s CO2 emissions standards that limit the average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per kilometre driven for new cars. Second, many European governments increased subsidy schemes for EVs as part of stimulus packages to counter the effects of the pandemic.

In European countries, BEV registrations accounted for 54% of electric car registrations in 2020, continuing to exceed those of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). However, the BEV registration level doubled from the previous year while the PHEV level thripled. The share of BEVs was particularly high in the Netherlands (82% of all electric car registrations), Norway (73%), United Kingdom (62%) and France (60%).


The overall car market in China was impacted by the panademic less than other regions. Total new car registrations were down about 9%.

Registration of new electric cars was lower than the overall car market in the first-half of 2020. This trend reversed in the second-half as China constrained the panademic. The result was a sales share of 5.7%, up from 4.8% in 2019. BEVs were about 80% of new electric cars registered.  

Key policy actions muted the incentives for the electric car market in China. Purchase subsidies were initially due to expire at the end of 2020, but following signals that they would be phased out more gradually prior to the pandemic, by April 2020 and in the midst of the pandemic, they were instead cut by 10% and exended through 2022. Reflecting economic concerns related to the pandemic, several cities relaxed car licence policies, allowing for more internal combustion engines vehicles to be registered to support local car industries. 

United States

The US car market declined 23% in 2020, though electric car registrations fell less than the overall market. In 2020, 295 000 new electric cars were registered, of which about 78% were BEVs, down from 327 000 in 2019. Their sales share nudged up to 2%. Federal incentives decreased in 2020 due to the federal tax credits for Tesla and General Motors, which account for the majority of electric car registrations, reaching their limit.

Other countries

Electric car markets in other countries were resilent in 2020. For example, in Canada the new car market shrunk 21% while new electric car registrations were broadly unchanged from the previous year at 51 000.

New Zealand is a notable exception. In spite of its strong pandemic response, it saw a decline of 22% in new electric car registrations in 2020, in line with a car market decline of 21%. The decline seems to be largely related to exceptionally low EV registrations in April 2020 when New Zealand was in lockdown.

Another exception is Japan, where the overall new car market contracted 11% from the 2019 level while electric car registrations declined 25% in 2020. The electric car market in Japan has fallen in absolute and relative terms every year since 2017, when it peaked at 54 000 registrations and a 1% sales share. In 2020, there were 29 000 registrations and a 0.6% sales share.

Consumer spending on EVs continues to rise, while government support stabilises

Consumer spending

Consumers spent USD 120 billion on electric car purchases in 2020, a 50% increase from 2019, which breaks down to a 41% increase in sales and a 6% rise in average prices. The rise in average prices reflects that Europe, where prices are higher on average than in Asia, accounted for a bigger proportion of new electric car registrations. In 2020, the global average BEV price was around USD 40 000 and around USD 50 000 for a PHEV.

Government spending

Governments across the world spent USD 14 billion on direct purchase incentives and tax deductions for electric cars in 2020, a 25% rise year-on-year. Despite this, the share of government incentives in total spending on EVs has been on a downward slide from roughly 20% in 2015 to 10% in 2020.

All the increase in government spending was in Europe, where many countries responded to the pandemic-induced economic downturn with incentive schemes that boosted electric car sales. In China, government spending decreased as the eligibility requirements for incentive programmes tightened.

An important novelty in subsidy schemes was the introduction of price caps in Europe and China, i.e. no subsidy given for vehicles with prices above a certain threshold. This might be responsible for average electric car price falling in Europe and China: BEV cars sold in China were 3% cheaper in 2020 than in 2019, while PHEV cars in Europe were 8% cheaper.

Consumer and government spending on electric cars, 2015-2020


More electric car models are available; ranges start to plateau

Electric car models available globally and average range, 2015-2020


Electric car models available by region, 2020


Automakers entice customers with a wide menu including electric SUV models

Worldwide about 370 electric car models were available in 2020, a 40% increase from 2019. China has the widest offering, reflecting its  less consolidated automotive sector and that it is the world’s largest EV market. But in 2020 the biggest increase in number of models was in Europe where it  more than doubled.

BEV models are offered in most vehicle segments in all regions; PHEVs are skewed towards larger vehicle segments. Sport utility vehicle (SUV) models account for half of the available electric car models in all markets. China has nearly twice as many electric car models available as the European Union, which has more than twice as many electric models as the United States. This difference can partially be explained by the comparatively lower maturity of the US EV market, reflecting its weaker regulations and incentives at the national level.

The average driving range of new BEVs has been steadily increasing. In 2020, the weighted average range for a new battery electric car was about 350 kilometres (km), up from 200 km in 2015.The weighted average range of electric cars in the United States tends to be higher than in China because of a bigger share of small urban electric cars in China.The average electric range of PHEVs has remained relatively constant about 50 km over the past few years.

The widest variety of models and the biggest expansion in 2020 was in the SUV segment. More than 55% of announced models worldwide are SUVs and pick-ups. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) may be moving to electrify this segment for the following reasons:

  • SUVs are the fastest growing market segment in Europe and China, and by far the largest market share in the United States.
  • SUVs command higher prices and generally offer higher profit margins than smaller vehicles. This means OEMs find it easier to bear the extra costs of electrification for SUVs since the powertrain accounts for a smaller share of the total cost compared with a small car.
  • Electrifying the heaviest and most fuel consuming vehicles goes further toward meeting emissions targets than electrifying a small car.
  • In Europe, the ZLEV credit scheme in the most recent CO2 emissions standards offers strong incentives for selling electric SUVs from 2025, as it relaxes emissions standards in proportion to their potential to reduce specific CO2 emissions. In fact, in Europe, the share of electric SUV models is higher than for the overall market.

China leads in electric LCV sales with Europe not far behind and Korea entering the market

Global electric light-commercial vehicle (LCV) stock numbers about 435 000 units. About a third of these are in Europe where new electric LCV registrations in 2020 were only 5% below those in China, which is the world leader.

Electric LCV registrations in China in 2020 were 3 400 units below the previous year and slightly less than half of the peak in 2018. The bulk of the electric LCV registrations are BEVs, with PHEVs accounting for less than 10%.

In Europe, electric LCV registrations jumped almost 40% in 2020 from the prior year to exceed 37 000 units. Though that was less impressive than the more than doubling of electric car registrations. New EV registrations in Europe are being driven by economic stimulus packages and by CO2 standards that limit emissions per kilometre driven. However, current standards for LCVs are not stringent enough to warrant large-scale electrification, as they do for passenger cars.

Registration of electric LCVs in 2020 in the rest of the world were about 19 000 units. Most of these were in Korea, reflecting the launch of two new BEV LCV models, but Canada also added to the stock of electric LCVs. Other markets around the world have yet to see much uptake of electric LCVs.

The explosion of home deliveries during the Covid-19 pandemic further boosted the electric LCV expansion in some countries. Increased deliveries raised concerns about air pollution, particularly in urban areas. In response, a number of companies announced plans to electrify delivery fleets.

Electric LCVs registrations by region, 2015-2020


18 of the 20 largest OEMs have committed to increase the offer and sales of EVs

Original equipment manufacturer announcements related to electric light-duty vehicles

Original equipment manufacturer announcements related to electric light-duty vehicles
Original equipment manufacturer announcements related to electric light-duty vehicles
Original equipment manufacturer announcements related to electric light-duty vehicles

Manufacturers’ electrification targets align with the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario

OEMs are expected to embrace electric mobility more widely in the 2020s. Notably 18 of the 20 largest OEMs (in terms of vehicles sold in 2020), which combined accounted for almost 90% of all worldwide new car registrations in 2020, have announced intentions to increase the number of available models and boost production of electric light-duty vehicles (LDVs).

A number of manufacturers have raised the bar to go beyond previous announcements related to EVs with an outlook beyond 2025. More than ten of the largest OEMs worldwide have declared electrification targets for 2030 and beyond.

Significantly, some OEMs plan to reconfigure their product lines to produce only electric vehicles. In the first-trimester of 2021 these announcements included: Volvo will only sell electric cars from 2030; Ford will only electric car sales in Europe from 2030; General Motors plans to offer only electric LDVs by 2035; Volkswagen aims for 70% electric car sales in Europe, and 50% in China and the United States by 2030; and Stellantis aims for 70% electric cars sales in Europe and 35% in the United States.

Overall, the announcements by the OEMs translate to estimated cumulative sales of electric LDVs of 55-72 million by 2025. In the short term (2021-2022), the estimated cumulative sales align closely with the electric LDV projections in the IEA’s Stated Policies Scenario. By 2025, the estimated cumulative sales based on the OEMs announcements are aligned with the trajectories of IEA Sustainable Development Scenario. 

OEMs’ announcements compared to electric LDVs stock projections, 2021-2025


Electric bus and truck registrations expanded in major markets in 2020

Electric bus and electric heavy-duty truck (HDT) registrations increased in 2020 in China, Europe and North America. The global electric bus stock was 600 000 in 2020 and the electric HDT stock was 31 000.

Bus registrations

China continues to dominate the electric bus market, with registration of 78 000 new vehicles in 2020, up 9% on the year to reach a sales share of 27%. Local policies to curb air pollution are the driving force.

Electric bus registrations in Europe were 2 100, an increase of around 7%, well below the doubling in registrations seen in 2019. Electric buses now make up 4% of all new bus registrations in Europe. It is too early to see the effect of the non-binding European Clean Bus Deployment Initiative and demand may be still largely driven by muncipal level policies.

In North America, there were 580 new electric bus registrations in 2020, down almost 15% from the prior year. In the United States, electric bus deployment primarly reflects polices in California, which is the location of most of the current e-bus stock. In South America, Chile leads the way registering 400 electric buses in 2020 for a total stock of more than 800. India increased electric bus registrations 34% to 600 in 2020.

Heavy-duty truck registrations

Global electric HDT registrations were 7 400 in 2020, up 10% on the previous year. The global stock of electric HDTs numbers 31 000. China continues to dominate the category, with 6 700 new registrations in 2020, up 10% though much lower than the fourfold increase in 2019. Electric HDT registrations in Europe rose 23% to about 450 vehicles and in the United States increased to 240 vehicles. Electric trucks are still below 1% of sales in both. 

Electric truck registrations by region, 2015-2020


Electric bus registrations by region, 2015-2020


Electric heavy-duty vehicle models are broadening

The availability of electric heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) models is expanding in leading global markets.1 Buses were the earliest and most successful case of electrification in the HDV market, but the growing demand for electric trucks is pushing manufacturers to broaden product lines. Nevertheless, model availability is not the only indicator of a healthy market – fewer total models may reflect the reliability and broad applicability of existing designs, whereas more diversity of models may reflect the need to tailor products for specific needs and operations.

The growth in electric model availability from 2020 to 2023 across segments – bus, medium freight truck (MFT), heavy freight truck (HFT) and others – demonstrates manufacturers’ commitments to electrification. Truck makers such as Daimler, MAN, Renault, Scania and Volvo have indicated they see an all-electric future. The broadening range of available zero-emission HDVs, particularly in the HFT segment, demonstrates the commitment to provide fleets the flexibility to meet operational needs.

The HDV segment includes a wide variety of vehicle types, e.g. from long-haul freight to garbage collection trucks. China has the most variety in available electric bus models. The availablity of MFT models is broadest in the United States. For HFTs – the segment where the EV model offer is expected to the grow the most – Europe offers the widest selection of models.

Number of electric HDVs models available by segment and year, 2020-2023


Types of zero-emission HDVs expand, and driving range lengthens

Current And Announced Zero Emission HDV Models By Segment, Release Year And Powertrain In Major Markets, 2020-2023

Current And Announced Zero Emission Hdv Models By Segment Release Year And Powertrain In Major Markets 2020 2023
Current And Announced Zero Emission HDV Models By Segment, Release Year And Powertrain In Major Markets, 2020-2023
Current And Announced Zero Emission Hdv Models By Segment Release Year And Powertrain In Major Markets 2020 2023

Private sector demand for zero-emission commercial vehicles amplifies market signals for OEMs to develop EVs


Operating area


Target / actions




Orders 100 000 BEV light-commercial vehicles from start-up company Rivian. Amazon aims to be net-zero emissions by 2040.


United States


Orders up to 800 hydrogen fuel cell Nikola heavy-duty trucks.

DHL Group



Delivery of mail and parcels by EVs in the medium term and net-zero emissions logistics by 2050.




Transition to an all zero-emission vehicle fleet and carbon neutral operations by 2040.

H2 Mobility Association



19 of Switzerland's largest retailers invest in Hyundai hydrogen trucking services that will deploy up to 1 600 heavy-duty zero-emission trucks.

Ingka Group (IKEA)



Zero-emission deliveries in leading cities by 2020 and in all cities by 2025.

Japan Post



Electrify 1 200 mail and parcel delivery vans by 2021 and net-zero emissions logistics by 2050.




Replace entire vehicle fleet (> 10 000) with New Energy Vehicles by 2022.

SF Express



Launch nearly 10 000 BEV logistics vehicles.




Independent retailer’s Qingcheng Plan will deploy 5 000 new energy logistics vehicles.


North America


Order 10 000 BEV light-commercial vehicles with potential for a second order.

Various companies



Walmart, Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch, FedEx, Sysco and other large multinational corporations
pre-order 2 000 Tesla Semi models within six months of truck's debut.


United States


Electrify the whole vehicle fleet by 2040.

Notes: Based on authors understanding of private sector announcements and may not be comprehensive. Sources: Amazon (2020); Anheuser-Busch (2019); DHL Group (2019); FedEx (2021); H2 Mobility Association (2019); Ingka Group (2018); Japan Post (2019); JD (2017); SF Express (2018); Suning (2018); UPS (2019); Various companies (2017) (2020) and Walmart (2020).

Climate Group’s EV100 Initiative update on private sector commitments

Despite a turbulent year, major companies around the world are accelerating the transition to electric mobility by shifting fleets to electric vehicles and installing charging stations.

The Climate Group’s EV100 Initiative brings together over 100 companies in 80 markets committed to making electric transport the new normal by 2030. This equates to 4.8 million vehicles switched to EVs and chargers installed in 6 500 locations by 2030.

Collectively, by 2020 EV100 members had already deployed 169 000 zero-emission vehicles, double the previous year. Even though companies identify commercial vans and heavy-duty vehicles as the most difficult EVs to find, the number of commercial electric vehicles rose 23% in 2020, including a threefold increase in electric trucks.

EV100 members are also expanding the availability of charging infrastructure for staff and customers, with 16 900 charging points installed at 2 100 locations worldwide. Over half of EV100 members are using renewables to power all their charging operations.

Significant barriers to EV adoption remain. EV100 members reported the lack of charging infrastructure as the top barrier (especially in the United States and United Kingdom). Lack of availability of appropriate vehicle types was also highlighted by the companies as a persistant obstacle. The purchase price of EVs remains an important hurdle despite many companies acknowledge the significant cost savings over the lifetime of a vehicle due to lower fuel and maintenance costs.

To help overcome these barriers, 71% of EV100 members support more favourable EV procurement tax benefits and 70% favour more supportive policies at state, regional and city government levels. Sixty percent of the member companies support government targets to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles.

Top 5 barriers to EV adoption reported by EV100 member companies


Battery demand lagged EV sales in 2020; Europe sees highest rise in demand

Automotive lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery production was 160 gigawatt-hours (GWh) in 2020, up 33% from 2019. The increase reflects a 41% increase in electric car registrations and a constant average battery capacity of 55 kilowatt-hours (kWh) for BEVs and 14 kWh for PHEVs. Battery demand for other transport modes increased 10%. Battery production continues to be dominated by China, which accounts for over 70% of global battery cell production capacity.

China accounted for the largest share of battery demand at almost 80 GWh in 2020, while Europe had the largest percentage increase at 110% to reach 52 GWh. Demand in the United States was stable at 19 GWh.

Nickel-manganese-cobalt continues to be the dominant chemistry for Li-ion batteries, with around 71% sales share and nickel-cobalt-aluminium accounting for most of the rest. Lithium-iron-phosphate battery chemistry has regained sales share but is still under 4% for the electric car market.

According to the BNEF’s yearly survey of battery prices, the weighted average cost of automotive batteries declined 13% in 2020 from 2019, reaching USD 137/kWh at a pack level. Lower prices are offered for high volume purchases, confirmed by teardown analysis of a VW ID3 showing an estimated cost of USD 100/kWh for its battery cells.

In Europe, demand for batteries in 2020 exceeded domestic production capacity. Today Europe’s main battery factories are located in Poland and Hungary. Production capacity is roughly 35 GWh per year, but announced capacity could yield up to 400 GWh by 2025. Momentum was evident in 2020 in Europe with many new battery plants announced or under construction with support from the European Investment Bank. In the United States, both Korean and domestic battery manufacturers have signalled large investments in a market currently dominated by a Tesla-Panasonic joint venture.

Battery demand by region, 2015-2020


Battery demand by mode, 2015-2020


Pandemic spreads popularity of electric micromobility

Electric micromobility surged in the second-half of 2020, one of the consumer trends that accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic, further boosted by the construction of bike lanes and other measures to promote mobility. Sales of private e-bikes in the United States more than doubled in 2020, outpacing sales of all bikes which were up an already healthy 65%.

Many shared micromobility operators reduced or suspended services during the height of the second-quarter 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns. But as confinements were eased, services rebounded strongly, with 270 cities worldwide relaunching operations. As of February 2021, around 650 cities have shared micromobility services. In Europe, e-scooter services have increased rapidly, with more than 100 cities adding operations since July 2020.

Preliminary data from operators indicate average trip distances on e-scooters have increased by around 25% relative to before the pandemic. Operators are increasingly offering more powerful e-bikes with plans to expand into electric mopeds, which could further displace longer trips currently completed by car or public transit.

Several major operators are introducing swappable batteries to improve operational efficiency and reduce emissions. Although the use of swappable batteries increases the number of total batteries needed to support a fleet, it can significantly reduce operational emissions and enable longer lifetime of vehicles.

Privately owned electric two/three-wheelers (which include motorised vehicles such as motorcycles and mopeds but exclude micromobility solutions) are concentrated in Asia, with China accounting for 99% of registrations. The global stock of electric two/three-wheelers is now around 290 million. Electric two/three-wheelers account for one-third of all two/three-wheeler sales. While current sales are dominated by Asia, the market is growing rapidly in Europe, rising by 30% in 2020, benefitting from wider model availability and continued incentives.

Availability of dockless shared micromobility services in Europe and Central Asia, 2019-2021


Korea takes a lead in deploying fuel cell electric vehicles

Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are zero-emission vehicles that convert hydrogen stored on-board using a fuel cell to power an electric motor. FCEV cars became commercially available in 2014, though registrations remain three orders of magnitude lower than EVs as hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS) are not widely available and unlike EVs cannot be charged at home. Few commercial FCEV models are available and with high fuel cost and purchase prices result in a higher total cost of ownership than EVs.

To address the chicken-and-egg problem for FCEVs a number of goverments have funded the construction of HRS and have deployed public buses and trucks, such as garbage trucks, to provide a certain level of station utilisation. Today, there are approximately 540 HRS globally that provide fuel for almost 35 000 FCEVs. Approximately three-quarters of the FCEVs are LDVs, 15% are buses and 10% are trucks.

In 2020, Korea took the lead in FCEVs, surpassing the United States and China, to reach more than 10 000 vehicles. To support these FCEVs, the number of HRS in Korea increased by 50%, with 18 new stations in 2020. FCEVs in China are almost exclusively buses and trucks, unlike most other countries where cars are dominant. China accounts for 94% of global fuel cell buses and 99% of fuel cell trucks.

In 2020, the global FCEV stock increased 40%, with Korea contributing half and doubling its total FCEV stock. Japan and China increased the number of HRS, each opening about 25 stations in 2020. Worldwide the number of HRS increased 15%. 

Fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen refueling station stock by region, 2020


Fuel cell electric vehicles stock by region and by mode, 2020

Deployment of vehicle-charging infrastructure

Publicly accessible slow and fast chargers increased to 1.3 million in 2020

Stock of slow public electric light duty vehicles chargers, 2015-2020


Stock of fast public electric light duty vehicles chargers, 2015-2020


Installation of publicly accessible chargers expanded sevenfold in the last five years; Covid-19 muted the pace in 2020 while China still leads

While most charging of EVs is done at home and work, roll-out of publicly accessible charging will be critical as countries leading in EV deployment enter a stage where simpler and improved autonomy will be demanded by EV owners. Publicly accessible chargers reached 1.3 million units in 2020, of which 30% are fast chargers. Installation of publicly accessible chargers was up 45%, a slower pace than the 85% in 2019, likely because work was interrupted in key markets due to the pandemic. China leads the world in availability of both slow and fast publicly accessible chargers.

Slow chargers

The pace of slow charger (charging power below 22 kW) installations in China in 2020 increased by 65% to about 500 000 publicly accessible slow chargers. This represents more than half of the world’s stock of slow chargers.

Europe is second with around 250 000 slow chargers, with installtions increasing one-third in 2020. The Netherlands leads in Europe with more than 63 000 slow chargers. Sweden, Finland and Iceland doubled their stock of slow chargers in 2020.

Installation of slow chargers in the United States increased 28% in 2020 from the prior year to total 82 000. The number of slow chargers installed in Korea rose 45% in 2020 to 54 000, putting it in second place.

Fast chargers

The pace of fast charger (charging power more than 22 kW) installations in China in 2020 increased by 44% to almost 310 000 fast chargers, slower than the 93% pace of annual growth in 2019. The relatively high number of publically available fast chargers in China is to compensate for a paucity of private charging options and to facilitate achievement of goals for rapid EV deployment.

In Europe, fast chargers are being rolled out at a higher rate than slow ones. There are now more than 38 000 public fast chargers, up 55% in 2020, including nearly 7 500 in Germany, 6 200 in the United Kingdom, 4 000 in France and 2 000 in the Netherlands. The United States counts 17 000 fast chargers, of which nearly 60% are Tesla superchargers. Korea has 9 800 fast chargers.

Publicly accessible fast chargers facilitate longer journeys. As they are increasingly deployed, they will enable longer trips and encourage late adopters without access to private charging to purchase an electric vehicle.

Most countries in Europe did not achieve 2020 AFID targets for publicly accessible chargers

European countries for the most part failed to meet the recommended electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) per EV 2020 targets for publicly accessible chargers set by the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Directive (AFID). However, there are wide disparities between countries.

AFID, the key policy regulating the deployment of public electric EVSE in the European Union, recommended that member states aim for 1 public charger per 10 EVs, a ratio of 0.1 in 2020.

In the European Union, the average public EVSE per EV ratio was 0.09 at the end of 2020. But that is not the whole story. The Netherlands and Italy are above the target at 0.22 and 0.13 respectively, with almost all being slow chargers, though fast chargers are 3% of the installations in the Netherlands and 9% in Italy.

Countries with the highest EV penetration tend to have the lowest EVSE per EV ratios, such as Norway (0.03), Iceland (0.03) and Denmark (0.05). In these sparsely populated countries with many detached houses and private parking spaces, most EV owners can largely use private home charging. To a lesser extent, it also refects that the Nordic countries have a higher proportion of fast chargers, with shares of 40% in Iceland, 31% in Norway and 17% in Denmark. 

Ratio of public chargers per EV stock by country, 2020


Planning needs to start now for megachargers to enable long-distance trucking

The roll-out of public charging infrastructure has so far mostly focused on serving electric light-duty vehicles. The electrification of heavy freight trucks (HFTs) is a longer term endeavour, with less than 40 electric HFTs on the road in 2020.

HFTs require batteries with high capacity to meet their needs for heavy-duty cycles and long-range operations, and consequently they require high power charging. So far charging options for HFTs have tended to be early stage demonstrations, proof-of-concept activities and efforts to faciliate standardisation.   

Megachargers of 1 megawatt (MW) or more would be capable of charging trucks operating over long distances reasonably quickly. Long-term planning for megacharger infastructure is needed now to avoid negative impacts on the electrical grid. Some impact to grids is inevitable given the high power requirements of megachargers. Significant investment may be needed for grid reinforcements, modernisation, storage and integration with power systems. Planning and co-ordination among electricity generators, distribution system operators and megacharging operations are needed.

Some efforts are underway to develop standards for megachargers. Working jointly, the CHAdeMO association and the China Electricity Council have developed an ultra-high power charging standard (up to 900 kW), called ChaoJi. A version up to 1.8 MW, called Ultra ChaoJi, is under development. In parallel, the CharIN initiative established a task force called the Megawatt Charging System Taskforce which aims to develop a new high power standard above 1 MW by 2023 for charging heavy-duty trucks, based on the combined charging system (CCS) standard. Prototype testing started in September 2020. Tesla announced in late 2020 that it is working with third-parties to develop a standard for megachargers that can be provided to Semi truck owners. Tesla is one of five to have submitted a design to CharIN.

Industry experts addressing international standardisation are evaluating avenues to harmonise megacharger standards for mutual compatibility, in order to facilitate the roll-out of electric HFTs.

There are also regional efforts to develop megacharging infrastructure. Underpinned with stimulus funding, Iberdrola, a Spanish multinational electric utility, has expressed interest in installing megacharger infrastructure in heavy-duty freight truck corridors in Spain by 2025. ElaadNL (EV knowledge centre of Dutch grid operators), along with local and national government entities, in September 2021 launched an open-access test centre for companies and academia that offers test facilities for megachargers. In the United States, the West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative aims to install charging sites capable of charging HDTs at 2 MW along key transit corridors from Mexico to the boder with Canada by 2030.

  1. Electric HDVs data are derived from the Global Drive to Zero’s Zero Emission Technology Inventory (ZETI) which is a regularly updated tool that offers a detailed glimpse of announced OEM production model timelines. ZETI data are meant to support fleet operators and policy makers and should not be construed as representative of the entire vehicle market.