6 Interesting Statistics about Electric Vehicles

EVs have seen a massive growth in sales and market share over the last few years, especially in the United States and China.
Christopher McFadden

Electric vehicles or EV sales have shown very healthy growth over the last few years. With the global market currently dominated by China, the US is not too far behind. 

Within the US some states are leagues ahead of the rest with regards to EV take-up, with states like California regularly topping the charts. 

In the following article, we'll take a quick look at EV sales in the US, and around the world, and reveal some interesting stats about EVs. 


What percentage of cars in America are electric?

According to sites like the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers, EV market share in the US is pretty low overall. Their data for 2017 shows that electric vehicles only comprise around 1.2% of all sales or 187,985 in total.

ev stats tesla roadster
Source: Tesla

2018 saw massive growth in EV sales to 328,188 and a market share of about 1.96%. This was an impressive 63.33% higher from 2017. 

Some states, like California, topped the tables for both 2017 and 2018 with EV market shares of 5.02% and 7.84% respectively. 

Apart from California, the other top ten U.S. states for EV sales in both years were as follows (data courtesy of Alliance of Auto Manufacturers):

What percent of cars sold are electric in the US?

As we have already seen, in countries like the US, EV sales are relatively small compared to conventional combustion engine vehicles. However, it is clear that sales are growing year by year. 

States like California are forging ahead with their uptake for EVs and it regularly tops the tables for EV sales in the US. Last year saw a massive 75% growth in sales from 2017 in California.

Total sales for EVs in the US topped 361,307 for 2018 which was an enormous 81% increase compared to 2017. The major contributing factor, according to industry experts, appears to be down to one company - Tesla. 

They had a fantastic year in 2018 and the Silicon Valley-based manufacturer sold no less than 139,728 Tesla Model 3s last year. With their Model S and Model X thrown into the mix, Tesla accounted for more than 50% of the market share for total plug-in sales in the US in 2018. 

After Tesla, Toyota Prius Prime was the second-bestselling EV of 2018. Its total sales accounted for 27,595 units.

GM’s Model 3 challenger, the Chevy Bolt, and others made the top 10 list but were well behind the market leader, with 'just' 18,019 sales for the year.

In other parts of the world, EVs are seeing similar growth in the market. Major EV markets, like China and Europe, are also pushing hard to get EVs on the road. 

China is obviously something of a special case as it is now both the largest auto market in the world and one where the government has strict requirements for their development.

Auto manufacturers are forced to produce electric vehicles in China if they want to sell in that market. 

How many electric cars were sold in 2017?

According to sites like EV-Volumes.com, EV sales for 2017 broke the 1,000,000-mark. From their statistics, "global plug-in vehicle deliveries reached 1,223,600 units for 2017, 58% higher than for 2016".  

"These sales included BEV and PHEV passenger cars sales, light trucks in USA/Canada and light commercial vehicle in Europe."

Of these, about 66% were so-called, pure electric (BEV), and 34% where plug-in hybrids (PHEV).  Growth-rates appear to have been heavily influenced by the Chinese market and were up 73% from 2017.

The USA was next up, showing an increase of 27%, and Europe came in third place with a growth of 39% from the previous year.

The best selling models in countries like Japan was unsurprising, the Toyota Prius Prime PHEV, with the Nissan Leaf showing excellent sales in Q4 of the year. 

"Globally, December was another sales record, with over 170,000 units delivered worldwide, another 17% higher than the previous all-time high in November. In December the global plug-in share touched the 2% mark for the first time, following consistently strong increases during the last 5 months of the year. The global share for the complete year of 2017 stands at 1.3%," notes EV-Volumes.com.

Some interesting statistics about EVs: 

1. EV sales are also growing in the UK

Over the last four years, according to nextgreencar.com, EV sales grew to over 214,000 by May 2019, up from 3,500 in 2013. Pure electric and plug-in hybrids have also seen a massive surge in available models with many major manufacturers offering their own versions.

Of these, the most popular in the UK have been: 

- Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

- Nissan Leaf

- BMW 330e

- BMW i3, and

- Mercedes Benz C 350e

2. Tesla is much more popular in the US than the UK

ev stats tesla
Tesla Model 3. Source: mariordo59/Flickr

As we have seen, Tesla had a fantastic 2018, especially in the United States. In the UK, its a bit of a different story. 

For example, in 2018, Tesla Model S sales comprised a total of around 1,800 units with the Model X coming in at around 1,500 units in the United States (albeit a much larger market). UK sales were dwarfed with total sales for all Tesla models, which comprised around 191,627 units for 2018. 

3. California buys almost 50% of all US EVs

The state of California is only 12% of the US population. Yet, despite this, it accounts for 48% of all EV sales in the US. 

4. The biggest EV market is in China

ev stats total in circ
Source: IEA.org

China, as we have seen, is leading the charge globally in the development and sales of EVs. Since 2014, it has seen steady growth in the EV market with 2017 alone seeing China's EV sales rise, accounting for over 1.3 million EVs in circulation.

5. Norway saw the highest market share in EVs in 2017

ev stats market share
Source: IEA.org

Only a handful of countries have significant market share around the world.

In terms of sharea, Norway remains the world’s most advanced market for electric car sales, with over 39% of new sales in 2017. Iceland followed at 11.7% and, then Sweden at 6.3%.

6. Battery costs are dropping fast over time

ev stats batteries
Source: IEA.org

Batteries are becoming increasingly affordable over time. Since 1995, Li-ion price per kWh has dropped from about $5,000 to around $400 in 2016.  

These significant cost reductions and improved performance of batteries have been attributed to increased production and investment, with the rapid spread of consumer electronics.

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