Electric car (EV) sales, including fully electric and plug-in hybrids, doubled in 2021 to a record 6.6 million, but battery manufacturing diversity and mineral supply hurdles pose future market risks, according to the latest edition of Global Electric Vehicle Outlook, an annual report of the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Despite global supply chain struggles, EV sales have been rising strongly in 2022, with 2 million EVs sold worldwide in the first quarter, up 75% from the same period last year. Globally, the number of EVs on the road by the end of 2021 was about 16.5 million, triple the amount in 2018.
In China, EV sales nearly tripled in 2021 to 3.3 million, about half of the global total. In Europe, sales grew by 65% to 2.3 million. In the U.S. sales more than doubled to 630,000.
Government policy support and the flood of new models underpin sales in major markets, but greater efforts are needed to anticipate supply chain bottlenecks and boost critical mineral production.
“In the short term, the greatest obstacles to continued strong EV sales are soaring prices for some critical minerals essential for battery manufacturing, as well as supply chain disruptions caused by Russia’s attack on Ukraine and by continued COVID-19 lockdowns in some parts of China. In the longer term, greater efforts are needed to roll out enough charging infrastructure to service the expected growth in electric car sales,” the report says.
Other recommendations in the IEA report include “using stringent vehicle efficiency and CO2 emission standards to support EV demand; prioritizing two- and three-wheelers and urban buses to kick-start EVs in emerging and developing markets; and promoting more investment in critical mineral extraction while respecting environmentally and socially sustainable practices to ensure sufficient supplies to power the clean energy transition.”
The full Global Electric Vehicle Outlook report is available on the IEA website.
Founded in 1974, the IEA works with governments and industry on energy issues, providing authoritative analysis, data, policy recommendations and solutions to help countries provide secure and sustainable energy for the entire world.