New benchmark set for global electric vehicle sales
A campaign steered by North American, European and Asian powers aims to drive the sale of electrical vehicles higher under plan outlined at a clean-energy conference in Beijing.
Fatih Briol, the head of the International Energy Agency, said in a statement from the conference that electric vehicle sales were encouraging, but still made up only a tiny fraction of the global fleet.
"Despite the progress so far, electric vehicles still have a long way to go before reaching a scale that would make a significant dent in global oil demand growth and greenhouse gas emissions," he said.
The global fleet of electric vehicles accounts for 0.2 percent of the total number of passenger vehicles on the road. In a sector report published Wednesday, the IEA said 2 million electric vehicles were on the road last year, though three markets - China, the European Union and the United States - accounted for more than 90 percent of that total.
On the low-end, the IEA estimates the number of electric vehicles on the road will at least quadruple globally by 2020, but incentives are needed to drive sales as larger trucks and SUVs lead by volume.
Parties to what the IEA dubbed the EV30@30 initiative include Canada, China, Finland, France, India, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Jim Carr, Canada's minister for natural resources, said putting more electric vehicles on the road could eat into total greenhouse gas emissions, while stimulating the economy.
"Canada recognizes the key role electric vehicles will play in reducing emissions from the transportation sector, which will help us achieve our climate change and clean growth objectives while driving the economy," he said.
A separate report from Norwegian energy company Statoil found that electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles could potentially account for 90 percent of the passenger vehicles on the road by 2050, but the aviation and maritime transport sectors will still rely heavily on conventional fuels. ■