Covid-19 Couldn’t Crush India’s Electric Car Sales in 2020; They rose 41%

Covid-19 Couldn’t Crush India’s Electric Car Sales in 2020; They rose 41%

According to the latest report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), electric car sales increased by 41% in 2020 even though the corona virus pandemic led to a serious fall in the world’s economic growth, causing global car sales to fall by 6%.

The report shows that 4.6% of overall car sales in 2020 was comprised of electric cars, with consumers spending $120 billion to purchase 3 million electric cars. As compared to the previous year, this accounts for a 50% increase in expenditure on cars by the consumers. Last year, the global average battery electric vehicle (BEV) price was around $40,000 and around $50,000 for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). The government support measures for electric cars accounted for $14 billion. From 20% in 2015 to 10% in 2020, the share of government incentives in total spending on EVs has decreased in the last five years. As the report said, even if government subsidies have been important for spurring the uptake of electric vehicles, it is quite likely that sales are increasingly being driven more by consumer choice.

It is noteworthy that carmakers offered 370 electric car models in 2020, a 40 per cent year-on-year rise. The total number of electric cars treading the world’s roads exceeds 10 million without factoring in electric vans, heavy trucks and buses which total an additional 1 million electric vehicles. The report shows that Europe surpassed China as the centre of the global electric car market for the first time last year. While electric car registrations in China rose 9% and came up to 1.2 million, those in Europe more than doubled and reached 1.4 million in number. As per the agency’s projection, which is based on current trends and prices, the number of electric cars, vans, heavy trucks and buses on the road worldwide is likely to reach 145 million by 2030, comprising 7% of the road vehicle fleet, without including two/three-wheelers.

Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, said, “Current sales trends are very encouraging, but our shared climate and energy goals call for even faster market uptake. Governments should now be doing the essential groundwork to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles by using economic recovery packages to invest in battery manufacturing and the development of widespread and reliable charging infrastructure.”

The report highlighted that at a worldwide level, maintaining momentum in 2021 and beyond is vital to make a difference over the long term. It said that the share of electric cars in global car sales must climb to around 50% by 2030 to be aligned with a pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050. Several countries have announced the full phase-out of internal combustion vehicles over the next 10‑30 years. The study explained that the main challenges to be faced in the programmes for 2021 and beyond will be to continue implementing and tightening the broader regulatory instruments (such as the European Union’s CO2 emissions regulation for cars and vans, China’s NEV mandate or California’s zero emission vehicle [ZEV] mandate) and reinforcing the electric vehicle ecosystem (recharging infrastructure and power system integration, sustainable batteries) that will determine long-term deployment of electric vehicles.

To achieve the world’s long term goals for clean energy transition goals, the report emphasised, regulatory instruments should continue to encourage sustainable and low-emission technology investments (considering all lifecycle stages of the product), while supporting and prioritising industry re-skilling towards low-carbon economic activities with high employment multipliers, including non-motorised transport infrastructure and battery manufacturing.

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.