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Electric vehicles' global sales jump 39% in 2020, 3.1 million units sold

Electric vehicles' global sales jump 39% in 2020, 3.1 million units sold

Approximately 1.3 million EVs were sold in both China and Europe in 2020, four times the EV sales in the US

Research firm Canalys forecasts the number to climb in the coming years with 30 million EVs to be sold in 2028. Research firm Canalys forecasts the number to climb in the coming years with 30 million EVs to be sold in 2028.

Amidst a decline in the sales of the passenger car market in 2020, electric vehicles (EVs) have shown signs of growth. The global sales of EVs in 2020 increased by 39 per cent year on year to 3.1 million units, where the total passenger car market declined 14 per cent. Research firm Canalys forecasts the number to climb in the coming years with 30 million EVs to be sold in 2028. EVs are also expected to represent nearly half of all passenger cars sold globally by 2030.

COVID-19-related lockdowns and travel restrictions affected the automotive industry terribly in the first half of 2020, and again in parts of the world at the end of 2020. Car sales fell by 14 per cent in 2020, coming in at 66.5 million vehicles, the lowest number of annual sales for nearly a decade. But at 3.1 million units, the share of EVs sold in the total passenger car market grew to 4.5 per cent, a landmark year for electric vehicles.

"In a tough 2020 for the automotive industry, the strong demand for EVs has been a real bright spot. This will continue around the world in 2021 and beyond, despite the economically adverse conditions," says Chris Jones, Chief Analyst for automotive at Canalys. Electric vehicles represented almost 5 per cent of all new car sales in 2020. EVs are forecast to reach over 7 per cent of new car sales worldwide in 2021, a further 66 per cent growth, to exceed 5 million units sold.

Approximately 1.3 million EVs were sold in both China and Europe in 2020, four times the EV sales in the US. "EV sales in the US represented just 2.4 per cent of new cars sold there, despite it being home to Tesla, the world's leading EV manufacturer. Even policies from a more supportive US government won't change things overnight," adds Jones.

EV sales will continue to grow throughout the decade, with Canalys forecasting that EVs will represent 48 per cent of all new cars sold in 2030. "Rapid growth will continue as more electric vehicles launch and governments set and maintain policies to stimulate EV production and sales. Reducing 'range anxiety' with increases in performance and charging infrastructure will be vital to entice more buyers," says Sandy Fitzpatrick, VP at Canalys.

"The automotive industry is currently facing crippling semiconductor shortages, so managing future supply chains and production systems to cope with the growth will be make or break for any electric vehicle strategies".

Canalys includes battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles under EVs, while light commercial vehicles are excluded from passenger cars.

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