I reported the other day on impressive growth rates for plug-in vehicle sales in America and Britain. Now a new report from the International Energy Agency suggests that sales are accelerating elsewhere too.
In 2016 alone, the world saw a 60 percent increase in the number of plug-in cars on the roads—rising to an impressive 2 million. Not bad, given there were barely any commercially available vehicles just five years ago. In terms of what comes next, the IEA report suggests we'd need to see 150 million electric cars on the roads by 2030 if we're to keep global climate change within a 2 degree window.
I continue to believe, however, that people may be surprised at how quickly things change. As a member of a family that just bought our second plug-in car, I am very aware of pent up demand among friends and family. Given the fact that current growth rates are being achieved with a combination of low range electric cars and a few plug-in hybrids, the imminent launch of several models capable of hundreds of miles on a charge—combined with a broader range of trucks, minivans and SUVs too—should mean there will be a vehicle option for most lifestyles and a wider range of family budgets. After all, Tesla alone is planning on producing 500,000 vehicles a year by the end of 2018.Add to this the advent of truly autonomous driving, and some people suspect that 95% of car miles will be electric and autonomous as early as 2030.
The IEA has done the world a great favor by assessing the current rapid growth of electric vehicle deployment. When it comes to predictions, however, let's remember that they predicted a massive growth in coal burning by 2017 just 5 years ago.