Global EV, hybrid vehicles sales to reach new record in 2024

Despite some markets experiencing slowed growth, global sales of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are projected to reach a new record high in 2024. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecasted that sales will surpass 17 million units, marking an increase of over 20% from the previous year. This growth comes amidst competitive price adjustments and advancements in vehicle technology.

The IEA predicts that by 2030, the cost of electric vehicles (EVs) will be on par with their petrol counterparts due to declining prices. This prediction aligns with recent price cuts by Tesla, which aims to maintain its competitive edge against formidable Chinese competitors like BYD, currently Tesla’s closest rival and the largest producer of battery electric cars globally.

However, some automakers have expressed concerns about the decelerating demand for electric cars, prompting them to implement price reductions to stay competitive. While this pricing strategy may impact the profitability of some manufacturers, the IEA views it as a potential catalyst for accelerating the transition to electric vehicles.

Fatih Birol, head of the IEA, noted the uneven growth across different regions but emphasized the overall forward momentum in the EV market. He highlighted the significant investments in battery production as a critical factor in supporting the automotive industry’s expansion plans, which should increase the presence of EVs on roads worldwide significantly.

In an impressive milestone, the first quarter of 2024 saw more electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales than the entire year of 2020. Despite the higher CO2 emissions from hybrids when compared to fully electric vehicles, some industry experts argue that hybrids play a crucial role in reducing emissions incrementally, especially in areas where the electric charging infrastructure is still developing.

Electric vehicle adoption rates vary by country, with Norway leading significantly—four-fifths of all vehicles sold there in 2023 were electric. Meanwhile, adoption rates in China and wealthier European nations generally surpass those in other parts of the world, including the U.S. The UK emerged as Europe’s largest electric car market in the early part of 2023, overtaking Germany, which faces challenges such as subsidy reductions and strategic sales delays by manufacturers awaiting stricter CO2 emission regulations in 2025.

These strategic delays by German manufacturers are expected to provide an opportunity for Chinese carmakers to capture market share temporarily before traditional manufacturers intensify their push towards electric vehicles. The UK government’s decision to remove subsidies for privately purchased electric cars in 2022 has also impacted the market dynamics.

Amidst these developments, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders in the UK raised issues regarding the underutilization of grants for zero-emissions lorries, pointing out delays in certifying that trucks meet the required emission standards. This indicates ongoing challenges and opportunities within the broader shift toward electric mobility.

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