Update on the global transition to electric vehicles through 2020


In 2020, global cumulative electric passenger vehicle sales exceeded 10 million, and the electric share of new passenger vehicle sales hit a record-high 4.6%. Thanks to sustained policy adoption and technology deployment, 2020 saw a 49% increase in the number of high-volume electric passenger vehicle models, a 12% decline of average battery pack cost, and a 48% increase in public electric vehicle charger stock. Europe overtook China to become the world’s largest single market of electric passenger vehicles. This appears to put European countries, such as France, the Netherlands, Norway, and United Kingdom, on track toward their 100% electric vehicle sales share goals.

There was substantial progress on the development of vehicle regulations. Such policies include the world’s first electric vehicle regulation requiring 100% zero-emission vehicle sales share in British Columbia, the world’s first electric vehicle regulation for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in California, the extension of China’s electric vehicle regulation from 2020 to 2023, and the implementation of EU’s tightened CO2 emission requirements for the new light-duty vehicle fleet. Additional policy efforts include sustaining financial incentives for electric vehicle purchases and investing in the development of charging infrastructure networks.

At least 21 national and provincial-level governments, including Canada, China, France, Scotland, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and 15 states of the United States announced new targets for vehicle electrification in 2020. As of end 2020, more than 20 countries, provinces and states globally, mostly in Europe and North America, have proposed to phase out new sales of ICE passenger cars or to only sell new electric models in the 2025–2050 time frame. These ambitious targets provide a clear signal to automakers, charging infrastructure providers, and vehicle fleet managers to make the transition to electric vehicles.