1.2 Million Electric Vehicles on the Road Globally by end 2015

Registrations data on electrically-chargeable vehicles (ECVs) – including BEVs (battery electric vehicles), EREVs (extended-range electric vehicles and PHEVs (plug-in hybrids) – reveals that a total of 324,000 ECVs were registered in 2014 in the key markets of Europe (European Union and EFTA combined), China, Japan and the US. Ordinarily, the vehicle parc equates to around 10 years’ worth of sales but this rule of thumb does of course not apply to electric vehicles given that they have only been widely available for the last few years. Given this, the size of the electric vehicle fleet at the end of 2014 has been estimated based upon 2013 parc data and 2014 registrations, giving a total number of 700,000 ECVs in use at the end of 2014.

ECV Registrations and Parc, 2014-2015

All ECVs 2014 Registrations 2014 Parc 2015 Registrations 2015 Parc
US 118,773 290,773 160,000 448,519
China 74,763 113,355 110,000 222,238
EU+EFTA 97,791 197,791 125,000 321,177
Japan 32,418 106,542 35,000 140,834
Total 323,745 708,461 430,000 1,132,769

Source: ACEA, CAAM, EVObsession.com, Euromonitor International

As far as the EV outlook for 2015 is concerned, low oil prices are having a negative impact as they naturally erode the fuel savings benefits offered by electric vehicles. However, this is counter-balanced by factors such as recent healthy EV demand growth rates, new product coming to market, China’s investment in its charging infrastructure and the exemption of EVs from registrations quotas in major cities as well as on-going incentives in counties such as the UK, Spain, Norway and the Netherlands. These considerations, in the context of overall automotive sales forecasts mean that 430,000 ECV sales are projected for 2015. The annual scrappage rate for all vehicles globally averages out at 3.5% but, as with estimating the EV parc, a significantly lower scrappage rate of just 0.5% is assumed for electric vehicles given their youth. Considering the EV parc at the end of 2014, registrations estimates for 2015 and scrappage therefore suggests that there will be over 1.13 million ECVs on the road in China, Europe, Japan and the US at the end of 2015.

Not all ECVs are included in these numbers as electric commercial vehicles are missing for Europe and geographic coverage is clearly incomplete but, having said that, EV sales are negligible in emerging markets such as Russia and China and, although growing rapidly in popularity, are in their relative infancy in Korea. It is therefore very difficult to envisage there being more than another 50-100,000 units on the road globally by end 2015, giving us a global total of 1.2 million units. In isolation, this may sound like a significant number but with vehicle sales set to exceed 90 million units in 2015, EVs will therefore account for just 0.5% of all vehicle sales. Moreover, the total number of vehicles in use is set to exceed 1.3 billion units by the end of 2015 – less than 0.1% will therefore be electrically chargeable.