International Energy Agency forecasts electric vehicle growth from 3 to 125 million by 2030

The International Energy Agency (IEA) released its annual report, Global Electric Vehicle (EV) Outlook 2018, today, which summarises the status of  EV sales, charging infrastructure and policies around the globe and also examines a series of scenario outlooks to 2030.

Today’s status:

  • The world’s fleet of EVs grew 54 percent to about 3.1 million in 2017.
  • Government policy will continue to be the linchpin for EV adoption.
  • Only a handful of countries have significant market share.
  • Private chargers continue to outnumber publicly accessible infrastructure.
  • Batteries are increasingly affordable.

“The uptake of EVs is still largely driven by the policy environment,” the IEA said in the report. “The 10 leading countries in EV adoption all have a range of policies in place to promote the uptake of electric cars.”

Policies in place today will make China and Europe the biggest adopters, in the IEA’s view. In China, credits and subsidies will help EVs grow to account for more than a quarter of the car market by 2030. Meanwhile, tightening emissions standards and high fuel taxes in Europe will boost the vehicles to 23 percent of the market.

As for the United States, the IEA sees EV deployment growing at two speeds. While it sees “rapid market penetration” in places like California and other states with zero emissions plans, relatively low taxes on fuels and the Trump administration’s intentions to scale back vehicle emissions standards could hold back growth.


  • The number of EVs on the road around the world will hit 125 million by 2030.
  • The outlook for EVs is bright, but requires ambitious targets.
  • Most people will charge their EVs at home or work.
  • The future of EVs hinges on demand for scarce materials.
  • EVs can help avoid substantial CO2 emissions.

IEA’s 22-year outlook still leaves plenty of room for fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Forecasts put the world’s total car count at roughly 2 billion somewhere in the 2035 to 2040 window.

However, the IEA also sees a pathway to 220 million EVs by 2030, provided the world takes a more aggressive approach to fighting climate change and cutting emissions than currently planned.

While battery costs are falling, the IEA acknowledges that government policy remains critical to making EVs attractive to drivers, spurring investment and helping carmakers achieve economies of scale.

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