Global EV Outlook 2018

3 million and counting

About this report

The Global EV Outlook is an annual report that identifies and discusses recent developments in electric mobility across the globe. Combining historical analysis with projections to 2030, the report examines key areas of interest such as electric vehicle and charging infrastructure deployment, ownership costs, energy use, CO2 emissions and battery materials demand. The report includes policy recommendations, learning from frontrunner markets to inform policy makers and stakeholders who aim to encourage electric vehicle adoption. The Global EV Outlook annual series is developed with the support of the members of the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI).

The IEA Global Electric Vehicle (EV) 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.

It is a leading global resource, promoting efforts to accelerate the deployment of EVs within countries and cities, with the aim of increasing energy security, improving air quality, reducing noise pollution, and tackling the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Global Electric Vehicle Outlook 2018


EVs see record sales again in 2017

Over 1 million electric cars were sold in 2017 – a new record – with more than half of global sales in China. The total number of electric cars on the road surpassed 3 million worldwide, an expansion of over 50% from 2016.

Number of electric cars in circulation in selected countries, 2013-2017


Only a handful of countries have significant market share

In terms of share, Norway remains the world’s most advanced market for electric car sales, with over 39% of new sales in 2017. Iceland follows at 11.7%, then Sweden at 6.3%.

Electric car market share for selected countries, 2017


Private chargers continue to outnumber publicly accessible infrastructure

Private chargers at homes and workplaces were estimated to number almost 3 million worldwide in 2017. In addition, there were about 430 000 publicly accessible chargers worldwide in 2017, on one quarter of which were fast chargers. Fast chargers are especially important in densely populated cities and are also essential to increase the appeal of EVs by enabling long distance travel.

Charging outlets taxonomy, 2010-2017


Batteries are increasingly affordable

There have been significant cost reductions and improved performance of batteries, mostly thanks to increased production and investment with the rapid spread of consumer electronics.

Price and installed capacity of Li-ion batteries, 2010-2017

The future of EVs

What outlook scenarios are used in GEVO 2018?

The IEA New Policies Scenario incorporates both the policies and measures that governments around the world have already put in place, and the likely effects of announced policies, including the Nationally Determined Contributions made for the Paris Agreement.

The EV30@30 Scenario reflects a policy case characterised by a wider adoption of EVs, in line with the EV30@30 campaign if it were to be applied at a global scale. The EV30@30 campaign, launched at the Eighth Clean Energy Ministerial in 2017, set the collective aspirational goal for all EVI members of a 30% market share for electric vehicles in the total of all vehicles (except two-wheelers) by 2030.

Different types of EVs - resized

  • Battery electric vehicles (BEV) use electric motors powered by a battery that needs to be plugged in to a charger
  • Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) use an internal combustion engine supported by electric motors and a battery, but don't need to be charged
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) are similar to HEVs, but the battery can be charged when the vehicle isn't in use
  • Fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV) use a fuel, such as compressed hydrogen, to generate electricity that then powers the motors

The outlook for EVs is bright, but requires ambitious targets

The number of electric cars on the road reaches 125 million by 2030 under the IEA’s New Policies Scenario. With rising ambitions to meet climate goals and other sustainability targets, as in the EV30@30 Scenario, the number of electric cars on the road could be as high as 220 million in 2030.

Global EV deployment in the New Policies Scenario, 2017-2030


Global EV deployment to 2030 in the EV30@30 Scenario, 2017-2030


Most people will charge their EVs at home or work

Private chargers are expected to outnumber electric cars by 10% in 2030. This takes into account relatively fewer opportunities for households to install chargers – as more people without access to a parking space purchase electric cars – but at the same time increased availability of chargers at workplaces.

Global EV chargers in the EV30@30 Scenario, 2017-2030


Global EV chargers in the EV30@30 Scenario, 2017-2030


The future of EVs hinges on demand for scarce materials

The shift to EVs will increase demand for some materials, in particular cobalt and lithium. Ongoing developments in battery chemistry aim to reduce their cobalt content, yet even accounting for this, the cobalt demand for EVs is expected to be over 25 times larger in the EV30@30 scenario.

Cobalt demand from electric vehicles by scenario, 2017 and 2030


EVs can help avoid substantial CO2 emissions

Electric vehicles represent significant avoided CO2 emissions, even without grid decarbonisation. However in the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario, the decarbonisation of the power grid could more than double the well-to-wheel CO2 emissions reductions from the electrification of transport.

GHG emissions in the New Stated Policies Scenario, 2017-2030


GHG emissions in the EV30@30 Scenario, 2017-2030