Electric vehicles

Tracking Clean Energy Progress

🕐 Last updated Wednesday, 6 July 2018

What's changed?

On track

2017 witnessed record global sales of electric cars (1.1 million), leading to a global stock of over 3 million. Global sales increased 54% in 2017, helping EVs remain on track to reach the SDS target. China accounted for nearly half of electric car sales, with Norway having the highest per capita ownership.

Electric car share in the SDS

Strong momentum in EV sales puts this technology on track to meet the SDS goals.

	Electric share of global passenger car stock
2000	0
2001	0
2002	0
2003	0
2004	0
2005	0
2006	0
2007	0
2008	0
2009	0
2010	0
2011	0
2012	0
2013	0
2014	0
2015	0.1
2016	0.2
2017	0.3
2020	0.9
2025	5.0
2030	14.0
"chart": {
"type": "spline",
"height": "55%"
"title": {
"text": ""
"colors": [
"plotOptions": {
"series": {
"zoneAxis": "x",
"zones": [{
  "value": 2017
  "dashStyle": "Dot"
"marker": {
  "enabled": false
"tooltip": {
  "valueSuffix": "%"
"showInLegend": false
"yAxis": {
"title": {
"text": "Share of global passenger car stock (%)"
"min": 0,
"labels": {
"format": "{value}%"
"xAxis": {
"plotBands": [
    "from": 2000,
    "to": 2017,
    "color": "#fafafa",
    "label": {
      "text": "Historical"
    "from": 2017,
    "to": 2040,
    "label": {
        "text": "SDS Targets"

2017 was marked by important policy announcements in major global regions, and global electric car sales accelerated, furthering the uptake of electric vehicles.

The global stock of electric cars surpassed the 3 million mark in 2017. In 2017, 40% of the world’s electric cars on the road were located in China, up from just over 10% in 2013.

Evolution of the global electric car stock

The global stock of electric cars passed 3 million in 2017.

	China	United States	Europe	Others
2013	0.032219332	0.171444	0.097217622	0.080419
2014	0.105390865	0.290224	0.186681622	0.121353
2015	0.312772865	0.404093	0.362416622	0.160165
2016	0.648772865	0.563709	0.563386982	0.206175
2017	1.227772865	0.762058	0.818809632	0.300407781
"yAxis":{"reversedStacks":false,"title":{"text":"Million electric vehicles"}},
"tooltip":{"valueSuffix":"m vehicles","valueDecimals": 2},

Electric vehicles include both Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs). The share of BEVs in the overall electric car stock continued to grow at moderate rates, rising from 58% in 2013 to 62% in 2017. However, PHEV sales shares have increased in the same time frame in the European and Chinese markets.

Electric car market share in the top eight Electric Vehicle Initiative countries

Norway has by far the largest market share of EVs.

Norway	39.24
Sweden	6.28
China	2.23
UK	1.72
France	1.69
Germany	1.60
United States	1.19
Japan	1.00
"plotOptions":{"bar":{"borderWidth":0,"colorByPoint":true,"showInLegend": false}},
"yAxis":{"reversedStacks":false,"title":{"text":"EV market share"},"labels":{"format":"{value}%"},"max": 40,"tickAmount": 9},
"tooltip":{"valueSuffix":"%","valueDecimals": 1},

The stock of electric buses and two-wheelers has also grown, reaching 370 thousand and 250 million respectively in 2017. While the electrification of these modes has been mostly driven by developments in China, which accounts for more than 99% of both electric bus and two-wheeler stocks, registrations in Europe and India are growing quickly as well.

In 2017, the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI) launched the EV 30@30 campaign, defining the EVI ambition by setting a collective goal of an average 30% market share for electric vehicles by 2030, including cars, buses and trucks to help meet the Paris Agreement. The campaign includes several implementing actions to help achieve the goal in accordance with the priorities and programmes of each EVI country. These actions include:

  • Supporting the deployment of EV chargers and tracking progress.
  • Galvanising public and private sector commitments for EV uptake in company and supplier fleets.
  • Scaling up policy research, including policy efficacy analysis, information and experience sharing and capacity building.
  • Supporting governments in need of policy and technical assistance through training and capacity building.
  • Establishing the Global EV Pilot City Programme, a global co-operative programme that aims to facilitate the exchange of experiences and the replication of best practices for the promotion of EVs in cities.

Global EV Outlook 2018

Released: 30 May 2018

The IEA Global Electric Vehicle Outlook 2018 provides a comprehensive look at the state of EVs, charging infrastructure and policies around the globe today as well as a series of scenario outlooks to 2030.

The Global EV Outlook annual series is developed with the support of the members of the Electric Vehicles Initiative.

Explore the findings Download the full report

Tracking progress

Despite rapid growth over the past decade of electric car sales, the penetration of electric cars is still limited to less than 1% of the global car fleet today. In order to be on track with the SDS, the global passenger car stock should consist of at least 14% electric cars by 2030, which requires an annual growth rate of about 40% between 2017 and 2030.

The global electric car stock grew by 57% in 2017, which is higher than the annual average growth required to 2030, but sustaining such a high growth rate will become increasingly difficult as absolute stock numbers increase. Consistent and widespread policy support is therefore essential to maintain this growth.

So far, EV deployment has mostly been driven by policy. The main markets by volume (China) and sales share (Norway) have the strongest policy push. This is true for light-duty vehicles (LDVs) as well as for buses and two-wheelers.

Policies also support the development of both private and publicly accessible charging outlets. As more energy companies, automakers, utilities and grid service providers form alliances to develop EV support infrastructure, public funding could be gradually withdrawn from the build-out of public charging, moving towards self-sustaining and business-driven solutions.


The early development of batteries for consumer electronics provided invaluable experience for the production of Li-ion cells, now commonly used in electric cars. Production for consumer electronics led to high production volumes, which consolidated supply chains, enabled scale economies to emerge and drove significant investments in research and development. This had the combined effect of improving the performance of batteries while also decreasing costs per unit of energy stored.

The shift to EVs will increase demand for some materials. In particular, a rapid ramp-up in the demand of cobalt and lithium may pose some risks.

The supply of cobalt is especially critical due to the concentration of mining and refining facilities in a handful of countries. Ongoing developments in battery chemistry aim to reduce their cobalt content; battery chemistry with less cobalt can achieve higher energy and power densities, but also tend to have lower thermal stability.

Enabling a smooth transition to electric mobility requires ensuring a stable supply of cobalt at moderate prices. By reducing uncertainties on EV uptake, policy makers can facilitate investment in extraction capacity and facilitate the emergence of contractual arrangements spanning longer periods of time.

Key cost and performance drivers identified for the further improvement of Li-ion batteries include battery chemistry, energy storage capacity, manufacturing scale and charging speeds.

These solutions suggest that Li-ion batteries are likely to remain the technology of choice for EVs in the next decade. Several post Li-ion technologies are also showing potential for improved performance and further cost reductions, but their current technology readiness level is still low.

Expected battery technology commercialisation timeline

Li-ion is expected to remain the technology of choice for the next decade.

Timeline of battery technology commercialisation

Note: HVS = high voltage spinel. The diagram shows the likely beginning of commercialisation of a given technology.

Figure sources: Meeus (2018); Nationale Plattform Elektromobiliat (2016); NEDO (2018); Howell (2016); Pillot (2017)

Announced investment in larger scale manufacturing facilities signals confidence in the future of electric mobility and is set to catalyse further battery cost reductions. Together with improvement in battery technology (such as energy density and cycle life), these anticipated cost reductions will need to realised to make electric vehicles more competitive with conventional models, and to maintain high growth rates of electric car adoption.

Updates to this page

  • 6 July, 2018: Added battery technology commercialisation timeline to innovation section.
  • 30 May, 2018: Recent trends, tracking progress, innovation, and figures updated to reflect the Global EV Outlook 2018. Added figures for evolution of global electric car stock and market share in selected countries.


  1. Meeus, M. (2018), Review of status of the main chemistries for the EV market. Retrieved from www.iea.org/media/Workshops/2018/Session1MeeusSustesco.pdf.
  2. Nationale Plattform Elektromobiliat (2016) Roadmap integrierte Zell- und Batterieproduktion Deutschland. Retrieved from: http://nationale-plattform-elektromobilitaet.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Redaktion/NPE_AG2_Roadmap_Zellfertigung_final_bf.pdf
  3. NEDO (2018), The Roadmap of Battery Technology Development. New Energy Industrial Technology Development Organization.
  4. Howell (2016) ‘Overview of the DOE VTO, Advanced Battery R&D Program’ [PowerPoint presentation]. US Department of Energy. Retrieved from: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2016/06/f32/es000_howell_2016_o_web.pdf
  5. Pillot (2017) ‘Lithium ion battery material Supply & demand 2016-2025’ [PowerPoint presentation]. Avienne energy. Retrieved from: http://cii-resource.com/cet/AABE-03-17/Presentations/BRMT/Pillot_Christophe.pdf