20 million by 2020: Can EV sales help deliver 2°C climate target?
Sophie Vorrath 17 April 2013
Can global electric vehicle sales jump from around 100,000 in 2012 to 7 million a year by the end of the decade? That’s just one of the goals set by the International Energy Agency as part of a suite of clean energy measures aimed at limiting global warming to a best-case scenario of 2°C. And according to the IEA, it’s a goal within reach – as long as we have the right government policies, improved EV infrastructure and significantly lower battery costs.
According to its report, Tracking Clean Energy Progress 2013, released today, the IEA’s 2°C scenario (2DS) target of 20 million EVs by 2020 means the rate of global sales growth must increase by 80 per cent per year.
“This represents a rapid market introduction for EVs, at 10 per cent of total light-duty vehicle sales by 2020,” says the report. “This progress to 2020 is essential to set EV deployment on course for a more substantial role in the post-2025 period: the 2DS assumes stronger displacement of conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles from the mid-2020s, with the EV share increasing sharply to half of new vehicles sales by 2050, together with fuel-cell vehicles.”
The good news is that, going by current sales growth rates, we’re on the right track for the 2020 target: around 100,000 plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs) and full-battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were sold globally in 2012 – more than double (130%) the number sold in 2011, the first year of widespread market introduction.
The not-so promising caveat, however, is that in order to maintain, or even build, on this momentum, the IEA warns that governments must continue and expand policies such as vehicle price incentives; including rebates or tax credits on vehicles, purchase subsidies, or exemptions from vehicle registration taxes or license fees. And EV battery prices, which have already halved