Just The Facts

Electric Cars: How Many Today Worldwide?

Electrification has been slow to convert the passenger automobile market, despite recent leaps.

Takeaways


  • The transportation sector accounts for 14% of total greenhouse gas emissions. That makes cars a key concern in climate change.
  • By the end of 2016, there were about 2 million electric cars, according to the IEA’s 2016 World Energy Outlook.

1. The transportation sector accounts for 14% of total greenhouse gas emissions. That makes cars a key concern in climate change.

2. There are 7 billion people on earth and 1.1 billion light passenger cars.

3. The total number of electric-power passenger cars surpassed the two million level on a worldwide basis for the first time in 2016, nearly one-and-a-half times the level of the year before.

4. By the end of 2016, there were about 2 million electric cars, according to the IEA’s 2016 World Energy Outlook.

5. Still, 2 million is only 0.2% of the total fleet of cars around the world.

6. Any significant advance in the level of the electric cars penetrating the global car market first and foremost requires leaps forward in battery technology.

7. Absent that, electric cars will likely struggle to compete in list price against conventional cars since the battery is such a major cost.

8. An ordinary car battery for a gasoline-powered car usually costs around $100 in total.

9. By contrast, a fully-electric car’s much larger battery – powering the whole vehicle – currently is often two orders of magnitude (or $10,000!) higher in price.

10. The battery price is based on its kilowatt-hour storage capacity (kWh) and that capacity is often around 60 kWh.

11. The average battery costs in 2016 were less than $260 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for plug-in electric hybrids and an estimated $200/kWh for fully electric cars.

12. That means a fully-electric car battery might cost around $12,000, although the price is declining.

Sources: The Globalist Research Center and the International Energy Agency

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