~43% Of World’s Electric Cars Bought In 2014

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We already wrote about the recent ZSW report that found that the world electric car market was up to 740,000 at the end of 2014. Other cool stats noted there included:

  • China saw 54,000 electric cars registered in 2014, a growth of 120%.
  • The US grew 69% to hit 290,000 total electric cars, about 39% of all electric cars on the road.
  • Japan grew 45% to hit 110,000 total electric cars.
  • The overall global electric car market saw a growth of 76%.

However, we missed sharing a big one, but thanks to reve putting it in a headline and a hat tip from Bob Wallace, we’re getting it now. Actually, you just saw it in the title: ~43% of the world’s electric cars were bought in 2014.

Another stat reve pulled out of the report was that Norway’s 43,400 electric car fleet (which was approximately doubled in 2014) now makes up ~1.6% of the country’s cars. For more on why, see:

Top-Selling Cars In Norway Now Electric Cars (Two Months In A Row) — 4 Reasons Why

Norwegian Electric Car User Findings (10 Charts)

One more time, here are the three key charts from the ZSW report:

electric cars worldwide total
Top electric car countries. Total = number of electric cars on the road on January 1, 2015.
EV growth by country
Number of electric car sales by year and country.
Top 5 ELectric Car Models
Top 5 electric car models.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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29 thoughts on “~43% Of World’s Electric Cars Bought In 2014

  • Those stats came from Germany. From the stats latest data is from January 1 this year.
    Any change to have the numbers from each country on the list?

    • Just thinking, once EV penetration hits 5 % in a country, it will be over for ICE’s. 🙂
      Then it will just a matter of time. So will Norway be the first?

      • 5% of total cars on the road? Norway should be there within 2 years. The only ones that could beat them would be some little island nation or so. Bhutan could have been first (and still can be) if their wanted affair of a number of Nissan Leaf taxis would have been ordered, I guess there just wasn’t enough money.

  • This is great news. Trying to get more detail for US and found this:

    So US BEVs are up 23% in 2014 (119K) over 2013 (97K) but total electric sales including hybrids are actually down (570K vs 592K). US market share for BEVs is up at 0.7% and all EVs is down at 3.4% (from 3.8% in 2013).

    I would think sales of both and HEVs and BEVs will improve with the anticipated 2016 models from the market leading Volt and Leaf and Toyota’s scheduled improvements. I hear Toyota will offer an optional Li-Ion battery (at extra cost) for their hybrids next year. In fact, I’m a little surprised anyone is buying the current models since the newer ones seem to hold out more promise. I’d wait a few months myself.

    • Volt sales have dropped, people waiting from the new model since word is it is much improved. Will likely see deep discounts on remaining 2015 Volts, just before or after 2016 start to roll. Another reason that the current sales are so low.

      • Yet, non-plug-in-hybrid sales and BEV sales are clearly not the same thing.

        • They’re both great though 🙂 I’ll take a 50% cut in fuel consumption and emissions over none 🙂 These crazy SUV hybrids are ridiculous though – something like 19mpg vs 16mpg improvement…just nuts.

          • Yes consumption is an issue. As long as the vehicle is not primarily using solar panels that have repaid their energy costs of production 🙂

            Though going from 16 MPG to 19 MPG sounds bad. It is actually nearly 19% better. The long term equivalent of taking nearly 20% of SUVs off the road, would be a missive decrease in consumption. Or try 15 to 21 MPG a 40% increase.

          • I get that, just have massive issues with people that think they “need” the Ford Excursion or a Land Rover Discover at low teens mpg…when they would really be fine with a prius or volt. “It’s ok, I can afford the extra gas”…ugh

          • There may just be a problem with the entire underlying consumption basis of the society then, somewhere in there 🙂

          • Totally agree 🙂 Our consumption in the US is absolutely disconnected from quite a few aspects of reality and heading quickly towards the brick wall of reality. Point and case – water consumption in california though we may just get tons of rain with this year being el nino (or not).

    • From the same source. The bottom of the EV column total is not BEV. Adding the column of BEV only, 2013 is 47694, 2014 is 63,416, about a 33% increase. The sum at the bottom of that column is for a mix including other types.
      BEVs are growing faster than EREV and HEV. BEVs are production limited. The entrance of BMW into the BEV market added some new sales, but more will probably be seen this year.

  • Although this is good news, I think considering just BEV is more “realistic” since, for example, you can’t even find Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV on their corporate website just their i-MiEV. Just considering BEV, they constitute ~0.38% of all vehicle sales in 2014 up from ~0.31% in 2013.

  • I love being the clean technica’s comment section curmudgeon. It’s my jam. Environmental protection is still the issue for selling EVs. Maybe not in the future. But for now at least. That’s why governments are giving tax exemptions and whatnots.

    “World’s mountain of electrical waste reaches new peak of 42m tonnes”


    It may not matter now since there’s only about 750,000 to 1 million EVs out of about 1.2 billion vehicles in total. It will in the future.


    Waste management (treatment, transport, recycling, reuse, disposal, repurposing) lags most new markets. And sadly, it hasn’t caught up with electronics. My guess is that many of the Silicon Valley (and Seattle) companies have disassociated themselves with manufacturing and waste management. Therefore, it’s not their problem so why worry about it. For instance, Google, Microsoft and Apple don’t have to pay into any environmental trust like Superfund that deals with e-waste. If Tesla has a lifecycle plan, they should explain it to us curmudgeons. I’d feel better.

    My point is that this explosive growth could start another problem with natural resources exploitation, if the life cycle management isn’t considered quickly. Especially when a battery plant is being built in the middle of a high desert, say west of California, that hasn’t experienced a drought as bad as the current one in ages.

    Speaking of high deserts and droughts, in addition to cars, PV and wind – clean technica should bring clean water and wastewater treatment into the mix more. No, not another R&D press release rewritten. Water treatment has for the longest time seen a conservation versus unlimited supply through technology issue. The unlimited supply through technology won. This would be dams, reservoirs, pipes, desalination, etc. However, this also has its limits. What good are reservoirs when there’s no water flowing into them. What good are RO units for desalination when they can’t produce enough water, without sky high costs. End of soapbox rant.

    • I could be wrong, but it seems unlikely there is a lot more e-waste generated from an electric car vs an ICE. Electrics have fewer components overall, and I would assume the electronic components involved in controlling fuel injection and exhaust monitoring are of similar size to controlling battery usage. In an EV, the most significant component, the battery, is currently too valuable to toss in a landfill and should get recycled most of the time.

      Indeed, e-waste recycling is a growing problem that should be addressed, and I couldn’t quickly find anything about how Tesla plans to handle car recycling, but it strikes me as unlikely that EVs will contribute more to e-waste than ICEs.

      As for environmental harm caused by battery manufacture, I can’t see that ever reaching the widespread devastation caused by fossil fuel production and consumption. This report says the same thing: http://www.technologyreview.com/view/517146/are-electric-vehicles-better-for-the-environment-than-gas-powered-ones/

      • Here’s the crux of the matter:

        “In an EV, the most significant component, the battery, is currently too valuable to toss in a landfill and should get recycled most of the time.”

        “Tossed in a landfill,” while I’m sure you were being fatuous for fun, it’s not the issue with e-waste. Recovery of anything of value can be done, unfortunately it’s not. It’s just too easy to send it to the third world where wire plastic get burned in open fires to get at the copper. Same with circuit boards and pretty much everything where something of value sits deep within plastic or rubber.

        While there were a lot of car battery reclamation facilities ending up on the Superfund list in the past, the present methods are pretty sound. Unfortunately, theres too many cheap alternatives, like shipping batteries to the third world. Modern EVs better get a battery lifecycle plan together – from mining of materials, to manufacturing to post user management. It’s easy for 1 million units in total. It may not be for 15 million units a year. That’s what would be necessary for EVs to help cut CO2 emissions, I’m assuming.

        Finally, “should get recycle.” That has been the plan for e-waste for at least 30 years. And counting.

        There’s a big difference between should and actually. Like I said, EVs and whatnots “should” get in front of all this.

        A good example is US electronics. Much of the groundwater below Silicon Valley is contaminated with chlorinated solvents. So is Phoenix, AZ and many other areas throughout the world. Both spent and fresh solvents from years of cleaning circuit boards entered the subsurface via spillage or bad practices. The groundwater may or may not still be contaminated. However, much of SV’s manufacturing is overseas now. And since Apple, HP and others contract out much of its manufacturing, it doesn’t have to worry about this as much. And most people don’t associated IT, electronics and internet as big polluters.

        The reason I bring this up is that there is a rapid push for EV to save the world from the disasters of climate change. Whether this is too little to late is up for debate. However, in the mean time fresh water resources are getting more and more dire. All this can be managed if companies like Tesla follow standard environmental impact study and waste management practices. Unfortunately, many in Silicon Valley, Musk for example, aren’t interested in government regulation via libertarian dreams. They are interested in government help for commercialization of cars and government procurement of rockets. But apparently not environmental regulations behind locating a factory that won’t damage the environment. Many states have waived environmental liability and impact study – to attract businesses. So the environmental controls aren’t in place anymore. And it seems like environmental protection bores most clean technology enthusiasts – if it doesn’t help make a sale.

        • There is no denying you bring up critical points that must be considered if this planet is to ever have “sustainable” civilization. Eventually everything will be made from previously used materials. But:

          I have not kept up with environmental impacts but I am aware that Apple and Google are building new facilities in the USA that are, I believe, 100% powered by renewable energy. I also thought that Apple and others had been including design criteria for their new computers to be more and more easily recyclable which will definitely help even their overseas manufacturing. My main concern with your reply is it’s is all negative. I’d like to see you report on some positives – are you not seeing any? Or are you choosing not to mention them? It’s a known human trait to see what you want to see. If I say “red” – you’re more likely to notice red stuff.

          One case: The fact that Musk intends to make his rockets reusable by giving them enough fuel margin to land and take off with just a new load of fuel obviously beats recycling a Lockheed or Boeing rocket that’s dragged from the ocean.

          Musk has created a car that gets a score of 99 from CR. I don’t think any other manufacturer has done that. His concern for the planet has been stated – his goal for SolarCity and Tesla is no less than to change the world. Recyclability might not be a major concern in the beginning but it’s hard to believe as the myriad “normal” concerns are addressed that he will not put considerable focus on it in future vehicles.

    • I could actually imagine the Bush Admin. being more interested in lower oil imports and balance of trade deficits than the environment, when they signed the EV incentives.

      • The energy policy under Bush came in waves. 2003, open drilling for shale oil and gas without all those pesky environmental regs. 2005, nuclear power plant construction fast tracking without all those pesky environmental regs. 2007 was clean energy, but it was mired in all those banks collapsing. 2009 when Obama took over in the depth of an economic collapse, much of the “clean energy’ was fast tracked to avoid all those pesky environmental regulations. Also, remember 2006 is when democrats trounced the republicans in congress so hydrogen and natural gas had to be called “clean energy” and of course EVs were thrown in for good measure and in the spirit of politics. All this was done for energy security at first. Then to reverse the economic collapse.

  • Starting from next to nothing in 2010, any growth at all will look amazing in percentage terms. It would be rash to extrapolate a CAGR of 76% for more than another few years. What I find even more encouraging than these short-lived growth rates is the dispersed geographical distribution, very unlike solar which was dominated for so long by Germany and Italy. The ev market is already much better insulated from adverse policy shocks in any one country. For the US, this point is reinforced by the fact that there isn’t any federal tax break: the incentives are all at state level, and won’t move simultaneously everywhere. A reversal in California would be a big hit, but is politically very unlikely.

  • It’s 10%. That’s the level because the math is easy. Norway will probably get there first.

    • 5 % is the number that makes companies take notice. They either have to do want consumers want or loose sales.

  • Plug-ins continue to grow but it still remains a teeny tiny share of the market. And with current low gas prices, people don’t have much of an incentive to switch over.

    So all eyes are now on the Tesla Gigafactory/Model3 and the Chevy Bolt as potential breakthroughs in affordable longer range EVs.

    • Studies continue to show that low gas prices are not the driver behind switching to EVs. Even at these prices though, drivers do save money vs a gasmobile.

      Having said that, I agree that we will see a much larger wave of adoption when the aforementioned next gen EVs are available 😀

    • No eyes are on the Gen II Nissan?

  • It is progress towards where we need to go. Your comment seems a bit irrational as you are either ok with the current state of petrol based autos (and the inevitable climate change that accompanies them) or unaware that a change is necessary.

    Yes, we all know that the current state of most renewables and most alternative fuel based vehicle sales are still relatively insignificant but we are also aware that this change is inevitable and necessary and as such, working together to educate, inspire and evolve together.

    Knowledge is power. The more you know, the less you need. Let’s do this.

  • The good news is in the batteries. $100 /kWh in less than 10 years.
    We need to think in terms of tipping points.

    • Tipping points yes.

      Perhaps related to tipping points. I read somewhere (an article about the human genome project) that disruptive technology has many milestones to pass on the way to becoming successful – 12 or 13 perhaps. Yet, seven of those milestones all occur while obtaining between merely 0 to 1% of the progress toward the end goal of success.

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