YPS Insight: What does the Global Electric Vehicle Market look like?

The electric vehicle market is growing both at home and abroad. We take a look at the facts and trends to keep on top as we head into 2022.

In the past year alone the elelectric vehicle market has shot forward. The UK's sales figures have almost doubled from 2020, reaching 163,000 units for pure-EV sales in the first 11 months of 2021 alone - plug-in hybrid sales add another 106,000 models to that total.

It's seen market share for pure-EVs shift from an average of around 6% for 2020 to more than 10% in 2021 for pure-electric cars. And the most recent month's stats - November 2021 - shows a share of 19%; the market continues to grow and at pace.

Looking further afield

Globally, the picture is a little more diverse, since the UK performs relatively well considering its size. Figures for the year will not be available for 2021 until next year, so looking at trends from 2019 to 2020 - granted a Covid-hit year - we can see prior trends.

From 2019 to 2020, despite the impacts of Covid, the world's EV market grew 43% - and that's despite factories hit by lockdowns and transportatin restrictions. EVs actually thrived despite the conditins, and moved to a global market share of 4.6% by the end of 2020.

Considering current trends for 2021, the picture looks better still, with the market still towards the bottom of a steep climb on the growth curve. This is where EVs are switching fully to mainstream models, and it is expected that around 6.4 million EVs will be sold - EVs and PHEVs combined. This is almost exactly twice that sold in 2020.

What's interesting is that the sales mix between pure-EV and PHEV remains around the 70% mark, and this is expected to remain steady for then ext couple of years before pure-EVs steadily encroach in PHEV territory further as government legislation in certain markets comes into force.

What's driving change?

Consumer confidence is a key indicator in the changing buying habits, with drivers driven by financial and environmental considerations to cleaner vehcles. The fact that these EVs are established, evolving, and highly competent means that we are seeing buyers getting into their second or even third EVs in many isntances - the market is quitely becoing established.

Aiding this confidence is ever increasing choice, with manufacturers launching models in key sectors - often competing comfortably with petrol or diesel models. Driving ranges exceed what most drivers do n a week - or even a month - and when recharging is required, faster charging speeds are keeping waiting times in check.

Governments around the world are at different stages in promoting the shift to EVs, but Europe in particular is taking an agressive stance towards getting more electric vehicles on the road. The likes of Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the UK have all set targets that see new petrol and diesel models banned from sale within the next 10-15 years, and as such we are seeing drivers both pushed and tempted into electric vehicles.

Currently it is China and Europe that is seeing the greatest success in terms of EV transition - the former in outright numbers, and the latter for market share. Norway remains the great yardstick for what can be achieved. The UK is rightly happy with a monthly market share of approaching 20% - in September it was 15% and November 18% for pure-EVs. In September 2021 in Norway, the pure-EV market share was 77.5%; more than three in every four cars sold was electric.

Electrification everywhere

It's not just electric cars that are seeing sales grow rapidly. Electric bicycles, vans, buses, quadicylces, lorries, scooters, and motorbikes are all coming along in the wake electric cars have created.

Where once the idea of a pure-electric lorry or van would have seemes preposterous for anything other than the ponderous and short-ranged milk float, now developments are seeing LCVs and HGVs get the electric treatment. In cases like bin lorries, they are far superior to diesel powered versions too.

Personal transportation is shifting with electrification evening things up for everyone, regardless of age or fitness. Quadricycles such as the Renault Twizy and Citroen Ami are set to be joined by other manufacturers in the next few years as cheap, simple ways to get around towns and cities.

Vehicles such as push scooters and e-bikes mean that those who couldn't deal with hilly terrain or longer walks need to no longer rely on the car or public transport, but can make thr trip themselves, assisted electrically.

And when public transport is used, it is increasingly electric. Considering the environemental benefts of this - particularly local air quality - this can ony be seen as good news in busy urban centres in particular.

Where are we heading?

Forecasts are proving increasingly difficult to be accurate as the market is growing faster than previously expected; effectively, the goalposts keep moving towards us. Globally, this is challengine indeed, since within that time a country or region could see an explosion in popularity of electric vehicles that would shift the figures further forward than previously thought possible.

Sticking to a relatively stable region for comparison at least, Europe is expected to see around 14 million EVs sold by 2025. Looking futher forward than that, forecasters are hedging their bets somewhat, adding upper and higher expectations depending on market forces.

Generally speaking though, come 2030 - a time when governent restrictions start coming into force on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in certain nations - we're looking at around 35 million electric vehicles sold. And that's the low figure. The high forecast is around 40 million EVs.

There is a campaign by various governments around the world to accelerate this transition however - EV30@30. The aim here is to see electric vehicles make up at least 30% of new models sold by 2030, including cars, vans, buses and trucks and covering pure-EV, PHEV,and hydrogen fuel cells). If this happens, then the global EV parc would total more than 250 million vehicles by the end of 2030.