Global demand for electric vehicles is accelerating rapidly

Charging cable of a Renault electric vehicle (Reuters) (Eric Gaillard /)

Until recently, non-Tesla car companies had a general stance on electric vehicles: We’ll start mass-manufacturing them, when people start buying them anyway.

In the past, the late Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne even implored drivers not to buy his company’s first electric Fiat; the economic unit was so poor, he reasoned, that it lost money on each sale ($ 14,000 according to Marchionne’s mathematics).

Nevertheless, now more and more people buy electric vehicles, partly because the weather is approaching boiling and partly because the auto industry is finally making attractive battery-powered machines and by volume. Ultimately, the where and why is less important than the what.

This year, drivers around the world will buy around 5.6 million electric passenger vehicles, according to a new report by BloombergNEF published in the framework of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change COP26.

That represents almost double the number of cars purchased last year and, most importantly, it represents almost 8% of total vehicle sales overall.

Global Electric Vehicle Sales (Bloomberg)

“We’re seeing more organic demand for electric vehicles,” Aleksandra O’Donovan, one of the BNEF analysts who wrote the report, commented by email. Among the factors influencing this increase: “It is primarily the wider variety of electric vehicles now available to customers and, more importantly, units aimed at segments such as SUVs,” O’Donovan said.

What’s more, For several European automakers, including Volvo and Daimler, EV sales represent 20% or more of their total sales. Currently, there are more than 500 models of electric vehicles and fuel battery vehicles available for sale; Just six years ago, that number was less than 100.

Cost is often cited as the reason adoption doesn’t happen faster. But The narrative around the shortage of public charging infrastructure creating a bottleneck for EV adoption will also change, as consumers increasingly take matters into their own hands. In 2021, garages and parking lots installed some 2.1 million vehicle chargersAccording to the BNEF report, a 63% increase on the amount that was in 2020.

Cumulative Home Charger Sales (Bloomberg)

In the meantime, electric motors are being put into operation, in trucks, buses and tractors. BloombergNEF expects commercial buyers to purchase 150,000 electric vehicles this year, a figure nearly double that of 2020. Stretching how far these machines can travel between charges, in addition to predictable drive cycles and relatively low maintenance costs, is leaning every time. plus the economy in favor of things like battery-powered electric mail trucks and flower delivery vans.

BNEF’s O’Donovan’s cautions that there is still work to be done to move trucking towards a net zero fleet by 2050. “Sales of combustion vehicles should essentially stop around 2035,” he said. “The automakers that represent only 19% of the world market for passenger cars have declared their intentions to stop selling passenger vehicles by then.”

In fact, it will be years before electric vehicles outsell their gasoline brethren. But change, as they say, happens little by little. Although it’s not exactly slow anymore.

© Bloomberg

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