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Published on December 27th, 2017 | by Nicolas Zart

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3 Million Plug-In Vehicles Sold On This Planet

December 27th, 2017 by  


Although we are far from the millions of plug-in hybrids (PHEV) and fully electric vehicles (EV) needed to slow down our pollution race, the 3 million mark of sold PHEVs and EVs has been reached globally. Of course, this just refers to cars (including SUVs), not electric bikes or buses.

Over 3 Million Fully Electric & Plug-In Hybrid Cars Roam This Planet

Three million is a nice number. Over 3 million is even better. According to The Guardian, more than 3 million plug-in vehicles are roaming the planet today, and that is something we can rejoice. Consider where we were only 10 years ago — reaching milestones like these need to be highlighted. No matter what, we’re only going to see more plug-in vehicles on our roads thanks to the technology advancing and now most major mainstream carmakers vouching that electricity is the future.

According to The Guardian article: “electric car sales are now running at around 1m a year. The rapid growth is being driven by government incentives, manufacturers launching models for a wider mix of drivers and falling battery costs.”

The data comes from EV Volumes, an EV consultancy close to CleanTechnica that we even have a whole category for. And according to EV Volumes: “predicted sales will accelerate next year and bring the total number of battery-powered cars on the roads to around 5m by the end of 2018.” So, 3 today, 5 tomorrow — are we looking at 10 by the end of 2019?

Although that is conjecture, government incentives have always been particularly important to budding technologies. They are eventually phased out, but so far, that will go in line (more or less) with EV battery prices falling and economies of scale growing to make electric cars cost-competitive (or cheaper) without subsidies. The industry is also working hard at providing EVs with longer range — see the next Nissan LEAF, the Chevy Bolt, the Tesla Model 3, as well as a few other cars we can’t wait to get our hands on.

EV Volumes also quotes that 490,000 plug-in cars were delivered in China from January to November 2017, which includes imports. And this is a market we’ve been particularly interested in following as American and European carmakers try to get in on the action and Chinese companies invest globally.

The Slow Road To Plug-In Vehicles

Eventually, we can say it’s better to have a steady flow of plug-in vehicles than an out-of-control boom & bust race to cleaner cars. The former is indeed what we seem to be at the late beginning of, but the transition also stimulates plenty of startups that won’t survive. This reminds me of the onslaught of new cars from startups in the ’50s in the US. Most of them are now collectors’ items, relegated to a crazy enthusiastic era.

Three million plug-in vehicles on the road today is a healthy achievement considering most EVs still linger under the 100-mile range. PHEVs have coaxed those still afraid of being stranded on the road, but they are more complex and costly. We look forward to even better numbers soon. After all, a wall is built brick by brick.


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About the Author

Nicolas was born and raised around classic cars of the 1920s, but it wasn't until he drove an AC Propulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Eager to spread the news of that full torque, he was invited to write for various CleanTech outlets in 2007. Since then, his passion led to cover renewable energy, test drives, podcasts, shoot pictures, and film for various international outlets both in print and online. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he has forged in those industries. He particularly enjoys communicating about the new e-mobility technology and what it means to us as a society. Today he focuses most of his writing effort on CleanTechnica, a global online outlet that covers the world of electric vehicles and renewable energy. His favorite tagline is: "There are more solutions than obstacles."



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