New International Energy Agency report predicts surge in EV sales in 2024
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May 17, 2024
Mehanaz Yakub

The annual Global EV Outlook report analyzes sales, charging infrastructure, battery demand, funding and policy in established and emerging markets

The Global EV Outlook forecasts that global electric car sales will continue to grow, despite any challenges in the market and negative perceptions towards EVs.

The annual Global EV Outlook report analyzes sales, charging infrastructure, battery demand, funding and policy in established and emerging markets

“Rather than tapering off, the global electric vehicle revolution appears to be gearing up for a new phase of growth.”

This is one of the main conclusions by Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), in the organization’s latest annual report, which highlights recent advancements in electric mobility across 43 countries worldwide including Canada.

The Global EV Outlook forecasts that global electric car sales will continue to grow, despite any challenges in the market and negative perceptions towards EVs.

It projects that electric car sales will reach 17 million this year, with over one in five cars sold globally — more than 20 per cent of the total — expected to be electric.

While the bulk of those sales will take place in China, Europe and to a lesser extent North America, the IEA also see promising signs of uptake in other markets.

“Across all regions outside the three major EV markets (China, United States & Europe), electric car sales are expected to represent around 5 per cent of total car sales in 2024, which – considering the high growth rates seen in recent years – could indicate that a tipping point towards global mass adoption is getting closer,” reads the report.

In Canada, the IEA reports that 130,000 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were sold in 2023, marking a 35 per cent increase over 2022 sales.

Diverse EV sales

The IEA says its outlook is based on a confluence of factors driving the surge of electric mobility.

One is the increasing diversity of the types of EVs available to consumers. With the number of electric car models nearing the 600 mark, manufacturers are increasingly catering to a broad spectrum of preferences. Currently, two-thirds of these EV models are larger vehicles and SUVs, reflecting current EV economics and manufacturers’ decisions to cater to consumers preferring larger vehicles in certain regions.

The report also identifies the emerging second-hand markets for used electric cars as a pivotal catalyst for mass-market adoption. As newer generations of electric vehicles become available and early adopters look to upgrade, the accessibility of used electric cars is poised to democratize EV ownership, mitigating concerns over upfront costs and bolstering consumer confidence in battery technology.

The electrification of vehicle segments beyond light-duty passenger cars is gaining traction, further diversifying the EV market, adds the report. For example, the global market for electric light commercial vehicles (LCVs) grew by more than 50 per cent last year. Similarly, electric truck sales increased 35 per cent in 2023 compared to 2022. That outpaced the sale of electric buses for the first time, highlighting how electrification is becoming more applicable across various vehicle segments.

Policies supporting investments

According to the IEA, there are close links between the surge in global EV sales and ongoing policy backing and EV industry investments.

“The countries that have adopted EV-related policies and set ambitions tend to have higher EV sales shares,” reads the report.

Canada is a case in point. In December 2023, this country amended its GHG regulations with new requirements to increase the availability of zero-emission passenger cars and light trucks. The Electric Vehicle Availability Standard requires a minimum of 20 per cent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2026, at least 60 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent sales by 2035.

The report also found that companies worldwide are taking major steps to meet different government EV targets with financial commitments towards EV and battery manufacturing.

“Recent reporting shows that from 2022 to 2023, investment announcements in EV and battery manufacturing totalled almost US$500 billion. Over 20 major car manufacturers, representing more than 90 per cent of global car sales in 2023, have set electrification targets,” reads the report.

Affordability and charging infrastructure

The report also emphasizes that the pace of the global transition to electric vehicles hinges on their affordability.

Electric vehicle prices vary by region, with internal combustion cars remaining more affordable than their electric equivalents in Europe and the United States. Meanwhile, in China, nearly two-thirds of electric cars sold last year were cheaper than their ICE counterparts.

“Electric cars are generally getting cheaper as battery prices drop, competition intensifies, and carmakers achieve economies of scale,” reads the IEA report. “However, they remain on average more expensive than ICE equivalents. In some cases, after adjusting for inflation, their price stagnated or even moderately increased between 2018 and 2022.”

Scaling up charging infrastructure to match the increasing demand for electric vehicle sales is also crucial for continued growth, the IEA report adds.

To that end, the report says countries around the globe are expanding their support for Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) while adjusting funding for vehicle incentives. There is also a growing attention shift toward ensuring interoperability. For example, recently the adoption of Tesla’s NACS/J3400 charging connector as the standard across North America will provide EV drivers with more reliable and convenient charging options.

The report emphasizes the importance of developing dedicated megawatt charging equipment for heavy-duty vehicles.

“Progress is being made globally on developing standards for megawatt-scale chargers…This will be essential to enable a fast roll-out of the charging technology, and mitigate any potential risks and challenges faced by vehicle manufacturers, importers, international operators and equipment providers,” says the report.

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