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.
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.
EV-volumes.com 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.
EV-volumes.com 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.
EV-volumes.com 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.
EV-volumes.com 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:
- battery enabled: Tesla Model 3 & S & X, Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Bolt,
- hybrid: Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt, BMW i, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion.
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:
- Tesla Model 3 production grows fast and broke into America’s top 10 best-selling sedans in Q3/2018, but still has about 420.000 reservations in the backlog. In order to help ramp up production, Tesla is building several Gigafactories, which are the largest battery factories in the world. In addition to the two in the USA, Tesla is investing $2Bn to build one in China, and another possibly in Europe. Tesla has said it wants to become the best manufacturer in the world so at least I’m having my popcorn ready waiting to see what happens when the major players from Germany now finally join the game.
- Volkswagen announced already in September 2017 a massive $84Bn investment in order to bring 300 electric vehicle models to market by 2030. Majority of this investment goes into battery production with Tesla. The group already started with their Audi brand, but it’s also launched the I.D. series including VW I.D. Neo, which is said to be the group’s first mass-market “affordable” electric car, as well as VW I.D. Buzz minivan.
- Audi finally launched its first all electric vehicle e-Tron Quattro in San Francisco in September 2018 and it should be available in Europe still this year and in the USA in H1/2019. Like “all the other” luxury car manufacturers it decided to compete with Tesla’s Model X in the SUV-category.
- BMW started taking orders for electric iX3 SUV in September 2018.
- Mercedes unveiled EQC electric SUV in September 2018.
- Jaguar is a smaller player also coming up with a luxury SUV I-Pace. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens now that the deliveries started in the USA in October 2018. For example, in Norway it outsells Tesla Model X and S combined by 40%.
- Chevrolet Bolt was launched in 2016 and is the second best selling electric car in the USA after Tesla. So, it was a pity to see the deliveries drop 22% in Q2/2018. However, it’s going to be interesting to see if the reason is losing ground to Tesla or just ramping up international deliveries. On the other hand, we have to wait for the next generation Bolt until 2025 so anything can happen before that.
- Ford has been lagging behind in electric cars, but announced in January 2018 that it has shifted 1/3 of vehicle investments to electric and promised to launch 16 new models by 2022. It’s interesting to see what is going to happen with F-150 pickup and Mustang as well as the many SUVs when the plans become concrete.
- Nissan Leaf has sold over 300.000 units globally since the launch in 2010. It already had over 40.000 orders in January 2018 for the next generation Leaf so it’s fascinating to see how it’s going to compare with Tesla’s and Bolt’s numbers in the future.
- Toyota has for a long time focused mainly on Prius hybrids, but announced major investments in electrification in December 2017. There should be 10 zero emission vehicles available by 2020 — starting from China before entering other markets.
- NIO is one of the most interesting car manufacturers coming from China. It says its SUVs are faster and cheaper than Tesla’s and it has the home market advantage by first focusing strictly to China. NIO raised $1Bn in IPO in New York in September 2018 for global expansion and self-driving car development.
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.
The references are included as links in the text above. In addition, I’ve (among others) utilised these great articles and books:
- The great race: the global quest for the car of the future / Tilleman (2015)
- The powerhouse: America, China, and the great battery war / Levine (2016)