Originally published on Gas2.
The number of electric cars in the world has increased 60% since this time a year ago, according to the International Energy Agency. That’s the good news. The not so good news is that electric cars still only account for 0.2% of all the cars in the world. The rest are conventional vehicles that flit along the highways and byways of the world, spewing who knows what out of their tail pipes.
Let’s get back to the good news. Sales of electric cars are accelerating and anyone who understands exponential growth can see that it won’t be long before the total number of electric cars in the world begins to shift from negligible to significant.
The latest IEA report says, “China was by far the largest electric car market, accounting for more than 40 percent of the electric cars sold in the world and more than double the amount sold in the United States. It is undeniable that the current electric car market uptake is largely influenced by the policy environment.”
The number of electric cars available to consumers is also experiencing dramatic growth. Automakers from Mercedes, to Volkswagen, to Hyundai are working furiously to bring more cars with plugs to market. Emissions regulations are spurring growth as well.
Just a few years ago, car companies thought they could meet tough new emissions rules in Europe with clean diesel technology. That idea exploded in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal that washed over Volkswagen in September of 2015.
Since then, prosecutors in Germany, France, and South Korea have begun investigating diesel cheating by other manufacturers, including Mercedes-Benz. It is now apparent that only adding electric motors will allow cars intended for sale in Europe to meet those emissions standards.
Tesla also deserves tremendous credit for making electric cars cool. It has at least 500,000 reservations worldwide for its Model 3 midsize sedan that goes into production in a few weeks. Countries like India are toying with laws prohibiting the sale of cars with internal combustion engines as early as 2030.
The electric car revolution is gathering speed. It’s time to get on board or get left behind.