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559 million electric cars in 2040?

The latest forecasts estimate that there will be 125 million electric cars in 2030 and as many as 559 million in 2040. Indeed, the sales of electric cars have been increasing fast since Tesla started delivering Model S in 2012 and the global amount of electric vehicles exceeded 4 million in June 2018. There are many expected benefits since they can reduce emissions, save you money, and make it easier to implement self-driving cars.

Electric car charging in Sunnyvale, CA

2018 actuals and forecast: +60% annual growth

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, there are now over 4 million electric vehicles in the world. The annual sales growth rate has been rapidly increasing since the first million milestone was crossed in 2015. In H1/2018 the car dealers delivered 0,78 million cars equaling 66% growth from H1/2017. China is still the biggest market with 51% of the global sales volume while the share is 25% in Europe and 16% in the USA.

Global monthly plug-in vehicle sales (source: predicts that the total deliveries in 2018 will amount to 2,1 million vehicles equal to 64% annual growth. Therefore, it looks like there will be over 5 million passenger electric vehicles in the world already in H1/2019.

Cumulative global passenger EV sales, current and forecast (source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance)

China expects the passenger electric vehicles sales in China to amount to 1,1 million in 2018. This would mean impressive 83% annual growth. The best selling brands are BYD (29%), JAC (27%), SAIC (21%), BAIC (15%), and Tesla (6%). There are dozens of other car manufacturers in China, but they don’t all produce electric vehicles.

Europe expects the passenger electric vehicles sales in Europe to amount to 0,43 million in 2018. This would mean a nice 45% annual growth. Curiously, about 20% of these are sold in Norway. The best selling battery-enabled models are: Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe, BMW i3, Volkswagen e-Golf, Tesla Model S, Hyundai Ioniq, Kia Soul, Smart EQ Fortwo, Renault Kangoo ZE, and StreetScooter Work.

USA expects the passenger electric vehicles sales in the USA to amount to 0,35 million in 2018. This would mean impressive 75% annual growth. Curiously, over 50% of these are sold in California. The best selling models are:

Major brands investing heavily

All the major car manufacturers have announced heavy investments in electric cars and there are dozens of new models expected to come out before 2025. Some of the most interesting ones in my opinion are:

2020–2050: What to expect?

So, the statistics clearly show that the electric car sales are rapidly growing, but how it compares with the total car market? There are over 1 billion cars in the world and the combined annual production is over 70 million. Therefore, despite the impressive sales growth, electric cars still represent just 0,4% of the total car fleet and less than 3% of the total annual sales volume.

However, the tipping point seems to be getting closer and closer. International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that the amount of electric cars will be 13 million in 2020 and 125 million in 2030. Moreover, Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that there will be 559 million electric cars in 2040. Finally, the IEA expects that in 2050 the sales of the conventional diesel and gasoline cars have ceased completely.

Annual light-duty vehicle sales (source: International Energy Agency)


The references are included as links in the text above. In addition, I’ve (among others) utilised these great articles and books:



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Erkka Niemi, PhD

Erkka Niemi, PhD

Technology enthusiast CTO with a lifelong addiction to skateboarding in Helsinki & Palo Alto @Unikieinc @AaltoUniversity #SelfDrivingCars #DeepTech