The number of electric cars currently on roads is about to pass 20 million. This latest million mark in global EV adoption will come and go by the summer of 2022, in June, as Bloomberg reports. And then, by the end of the year, analysts claim the number of EVs in use will be over 26 million vehicles globally.
That includes gasoline hybrid cars and plug-in hybrids, but fully-electric cars still account for the majority of those in use — something like 14.7 million.
OK. That’s a lot of electrics cars! Or, at the very least, it’s a lot more EVs than previous estimates claimed for this same time period. In fact, as recently as 2016, the number of EVs in operation was barely one million, per Bloomberg.
Meaning that in six short years, the world’s EV fleet added 19 million cars amid a global pandemic, plus every other shitty thing that happened in the mid-to-late teens. High prices or not, the EV train ain’t stopping. From Bloomberg:
In the second half of 2022, almost a million EVs a month will be added to the global fleet, according to BNEF estimates. That’s about one every 3 seconds. [...] By the end of 2022, BNEF is expecting over 26 million plug-in vehicles on the road.
The speed of growth is much faster than many incumbents in the automotive and oil industries were expecting just a few years ago. In BP’s 2016 outlook for example, the company expected a fleet of 71 million plug-in vehicles on the road by 2035. Based on the latest sales data, BNEF now expects that to be achieved by 2025, a full 10 years ahead of schedule.
Bloomberg’s report reveals a booming market in China, which accounts for 46 percent of global EV sales. Europe comes in with slightly less plug-in pep, at 34 percent. While North America seems to be the most reticent, with 15 percent of total sales. The final 5 percent goes to countries excluded in the regions above.
Perhaps most importantly, the models available in China’s EV market show how electric mobility can be very compelling for lower-middle class consumers in emerging markets. The best-selling EV in China so far this year is the Hongguang Mini, which retails for just $4,700.
Models like that, combined with a big push on electric kei cars from Japanese automakers, and more electric motorcycles and scooters, will help the rest of the world make the jump to electric mobility. There are other benefits, too. The Hongguang Mini weighs just 560 kilograms (1,235 pounds), compared to more than 4,000 kg for the recently launched electric GMC Hummer, which has a battery pack almost 20 times the size. With battery raw material costs soaring, scaled-down EVs look much more like the sustainable mobility solution the world needs.
Now that battery metals are hot and prices are soaring, a new answer has come up.
Who knew the EV breakthrough could have simply been small cars? It may be too early to tell, but EV fans have wondered for years. While we held our breath waiting for Tesla to usher in the true EV age, the electric cars to actually get us here will be more like the Changli and the Wuling Mini EV.