Tech transitions are interesting. I’ve written about them and spoken about them for a decade. With electric vehicles, due to their superior driving qualities as well as the benefit of convenient home charging and low operational costs (low “fuel” costs and low maintenance), many of us have long expected the adoption curve to be quite steep once enough people have had some experience with them.
On the other hand, these are large purchases that are made infrequently, and perhaps material resources will slow battery supply and adoption anyway. So, will growth really be exponential? Can it really be disruptive and quick?
We have to wait to get answers to those questions. However, in the meantime, we can track the electric vehicle uptake rates of leading countries.
In 2019, 4 countries had more than 10% plug-in vehicle market share. I selected those 4 countries and went back to the year that they had 2% or 3% plug-in vehicle market share to plot out how they grew from there to 11%+.
Before we jump into the charts, I’ll just highlight that all of the data here concerns all plug-in vehicle sales, not just fully electric vehicle sales. If you can plug the car into an electrical outlet, charge it, and later drive some distance on electricity alone, the vehicle is counted. At some point I will do a report like this for only fully electric vehicles, but not today.
Note: The charts above are interactive. They may not show well on some devices. If they don’t show well for you, I advise viewing them on a different computer (preferably one that doesn’t fit into your pocket). Alternatively, you can see the first chart as a static chart here.
As you can see, while not identical, the four countries have followed a similar growth trend after hitting 2% or 3% plug-in vehicle market share. Many other countries have just hit 2% or 3% market share (in 2019), some are even up to 5–6%. Will they follow the same growth trends in coming years? Will several more countries, including China, rise to 15% plug-in market share within 2–3 years?
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