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Number of electric cars on roads hits 2 million

The number of electric cars on the roads globally reached 2 million in 2016, with work by cities and fleets vital to ensuring take-up.


China was the largest EV market in 2016, accounting for more than 40% of new sales globally.

The analysis in the latest edition of the International Energy Agency’s Global EV Outlook finds that China was the largest EV market in 2016, accounting for more than 40% of new sales globally, with the US and Europe making up the three main markets, totalling over 90% of all EVs sold around the world.

Norway held the highest market share for electric cars in 2016, with 29%, followed by the Netherlands with 6.4%, and Sweden with 3.4%.

The research also suggests that leadership roles taken by cities and fleet operators are essential in encouraging EV adoption. A third of global EV sales took place in 14 cities in 2015.

Four major US cities – Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco and Portland – are leading a partnership of over 30 cities to mass-purchase EVs for their public fleets including police cruisers, street sweepers and trash haulers. The group is currently seeking to purchase over 110,000 EVs – this compares to the 160,000 total EVs sold in the United States in 2016.

The IEA research also says that clear and ambitious policy support is vital to keeping the growth of EVs on track with IEA low-carbon scenarios, to improve urban air quality, and diversify transport energy sources.

It adds that financial incentives for EV adoption and taxes on fossil fuels will continue to be important in the current phase of EV technology deployment to initiate and reinforce a positive feedback loop that, through increasing sales, production scale-ups and technology learning, will further support cost reductions for batteries and other components.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news - or gossip.