Sales of electric cars around the world continue to surge, according to data compiled by Statista and released by the World Economic Forum.
Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids accounted for 4.2 per cent of all passenger car sales globally in 2020, an increase of 1.7 per cent when measured against 2019 (2.5 per cent).
While Australia’s recent growth spurt in electric-car sales is encouraging (recording a 105 per cent sales increase in the first two months of 2021 versus the same period in 2020), we’re still a long way behind the rest of the world when it comes to adopting the technology.
Official new car sales data for February, showed 558 electric vehicles were reported as sold during January and February of 2021, an increase of 105.1 per cent over the same months last year.
That increase would be even higher if Tesla sales were included in official data. Although the US-based electric vehicle start-up has been selling cars in Australia since 2014, it does not provide monthly sales updates.
A total of 1769 electric cars were reported as sold in Australia in 2020.
However, exclusive data obtained by CarAdvice confirmed Tesla alone added a further 3430 sales, bringing the national total to 5199, or around 0.56 per cent of the new car market. Adding plug-in hybrid sales for last year brings Australia's total to 6884.
Leading the way globally are Norway, Iceland and Sweden where electric vehicles accounted for 74.8 per cent, 45 per cent and 32.3 per cent respectively in 2020, according to a report by the World Economic Forum.
In 2019, just eight countries reported an uptake of electric vehicles greater than five per cent market share. That number not only grew to 13 in 2020, but each of those 13 countries reported a market share of over 10 per cent.
Leading the growth is Germany, which reported 394,943 plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles sold, an increase of 263 per cent over 2019.
Despite Germany’s strong growth, China remains the clear world leader in terms of raw numbers, with sales of over 1.2 million electric passenger cars in 2020, an increase of 15 per cent against 2019.
The USA’s market share grew by four per cent, Americans snapping up 328,000 electric cars in 2020. It remains the third-largest market globally in terms of outright numbers, trailing only China and Germany.
Australia continues to lag behind other nations in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and other incentives designed to increase the take-up of electric vehicles.
Critics of electric cars say taxpayers should not help foot the bill to provide discounts to buyers of expensive vehicles.