Electric vehicles on roads surge 57% to 3.1 mn in 2017: IEA

EV market forecast

The number of electric vehicles on roads surged 57 percent to 3.1 million in 2017, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

China accounted for 40 percent of the electric vehicles globally last year.

IEA said research and development, policy support, charging infrastructure investment and production improvements are resulting in lower battery costs and higher electric vehicle (EV) uptake.

Battery costs are still a major component of EV costs. Financial incentives such as rebates, tax breaks or exemptions will be needed to support electric car deployment.

By 2030, the IEA estimates there will be 125 million EVs on the road, based on existing and announced policies. That could rise to 220 million if policies become more ambitious to meet global climate goals and other sustainability targets.

The shift to EVs will increase demand for some materials, especially cobalt and lithium used in lithium-ion batteries.

Cobalt demand is expected to be 10 times higher than current levels by 2030 at 101 kilotonnes (kt) per year under current policies and could be as much as 25 times higher at 291 kt/year with more ambitious government policies.

Lithium demand is forecast to be 91 kt/year by 2030 based on current policies and 263 kt/year if more ambitious polices are implemented.

The rising numbers of EVs on the road had a limited impact on electricity demand. Estimated global electricity demand from all EVs was 54 terrawatt hours last year, equivalent to slightly more than the power demand of Greece.

Charging of electric vehicle will increase electricity demand and impact transmission and distribution grids.