The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its Global Electric Vehicles Outlook report for this year, which stated that there are currently 3.1 million electric vehicles (EV) on the road today. In fact, the encouraging uptake of EVs over the past year has become the basis for the IEA’s projection that, by 2030, there will be 220 million of such vehicles on public roads.

According to the report, about 1.1 million electric cars were sold in 2017, representing a 54% jump from 2016. Interestingly, over 50% or approximately 580,000 units were sold in China alone. The US also showed significant growth – EV sales more than doubled in 2017 compared to 2016, with over 280,000 units sold in the course of 12 months. In 2016, the figure stood at 120,000 units.

In terms of market share for new sales, Norway tops the chart with 39%, followed by Iceland with 11.7% and Sweden with 6.3%. However, over 99% of electric bus and electric two-wheelers were sold in China.

Sales of electric vehicles such as the new Geely Bo Rui GE are booming in China

Given the growth in demand for electric vehicles, it’s not surprising that the demand for charging stations have also been on the rise. In 2017, approximately three million private chargers have been installed at residential and commercial/business properties, whereas nearly 430,000 public charging stations – 25% of which are fast chargers – have been installed as well.

On average, EV sales could climb by 24% each year till 2030. The problem is keeping up with demand – to keep up, the world requires at least 10 more battery gigafactories, Bloomberg said. Demand for cobalt and lithium is increasing and could rise tenfold unless technological advances reduce that figure. Over 60% of cobalt in the world is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where child labour still occurs.

The IEA credited the growth of EV to “government policy, including public procurement programs, financial incentives reducing the cost of purchase of EVs, tightened fuel-economy standards and regulations on the emission of local pollutants, low- and zero-emission vehicle mandates and a variety of local measures.”