Almost two years ago, CleanTechnica published my first article. I had been collecting data on the global uptake of electric vehicles since watching an interview with Elon Musk on TED Talks back in 2019. I had mapped, recorded, and extrapolated the data and thought maybe I should do something with it. EVs had been growing consistently at 60% per year and the startling conclusion was that by 2027, most new vehicles being sold would be electric. So, I thought I would write an article. CleanTechnica picked it up and I have been with them ever since — 585 articles later. Thank you, CleanTechnica. It’s yet another example of an interest growing into a hobby and becoming a job. I see it all around me in the new EV economy.
This morning, going through my news feed, I was struck by this headline: “BMW M also forecasts that BEVs and PHEVs will overtake sales of ICEs as early as 2027.” I’ve got news for BMW — by 2027, PHEVs won’t sell, and BEVs will be 90% of the market. If BMW isn’t making enough BEVs, it will lose market share.
In 2020, 3.2 million plugin vehicles were sold. In 2021, this increased to approximately 6 million. Last year, it was over 10 million. So, we would expect 16 million to sell in 2023, 25+ million in 2024, over 40 million in 2025, and over 60 million in 2026. By 2027, the game is over — the whole market is under 80 million vehicle sales a year.
2027 is only four years away. Will the pace of change get faster, as more resources are found and mined, as more battery factories are built, and as more automakers take the plunge into the electric world? Comments on my article saw it going either way.
“Over the next few years, it could get to 1 to 2 million growth a year, then build to 2 to 3M. I can’t really see them get to more than 3 to 4M a year. They are not finished with the FUD yet. It’s in their interest to keep it as it is now, releasing sub-par BEVs and hybrids, and fight every year to slow everything to a crawl, battery and car production.”
It sounds like the Japanese automakers’ continued approach. But we’ve got way past 3 to 4 million a year. Some also thought that the Osbourne effect would slow people buying into EVs — but I have seen no evidence of that. The news is all about supply constraints.
“Thanks for the article. It’s an interesting topic. I took a similar, but slightly different approach in extrapolating the future sales of EVs. I assumed that the talk of EV sales following an exponential trajectory was fact rather than just rhetorical hyperbole. I assumed that the sales volume for each year will follow a simple exponential of the form: S = a x EXP(b x N); where S is the number of sales for a given year, a and b are constants, and N is an integer incremented by one each successive year. I started with year 2015 as N=1 and after iterating a bit came up with .26 and .43 for a and b respectively. Using this fitted curve the projection I get is 5.27 million global sales of EVs in 2021. Using this formula, we surpass 60 million in sales by year 2027.”
And then there will be the effects on support services and the aftermarket:
“Used EVs will hold a premium price as people realize the batteries are good for at least a decade, and used ICE values are likely to crash in the late 2020s/early 2030s, leading to early scrappage and a welcome improvement in urban air quality. Though, they may be banned anyway, as diesels are increasingly from European cities. As we are seeing in Norway already, filling stations will be closing as sales volume decreases and they become uneconomical — either that or petrol and diesel will shoot up in price to compensate. It can’t happen fast enough for this retired Brit living in rural France, driving electric, and planting trees. 🙂 “
You can check out the list of countries, regions, and cities banning fossil fuel cars here — there are not many countries that are not on the list, and although some of the dates seem a long way into the future, new fossil fuel cars will stop being sold long before some of these bans are put into effect. From memory (always a bit dodgy), this list was much shorter last time I looked.
2027 would make a good title for a movie, methinks. Revenge of the electric car indeed. The International Business Times of the UK would agree. They predicted in 2016 that electric cars would outsell petrol and diesel cars due to the popularity of the Tesla Model S, the BMW i3, and the Nissan Leaf. What would they have said if they could see the BYD Atto 3 and the MG 4 coming? Not to mention VW’s transformation into an EV company.
The UK government is well on the way to exceeding its goal of all new cars and vans running on full electric power by 2040. As are most governments in the Northern Hemisphere. The Southern Hemisphere has some catching up to do, but there is evidence of movement in Africa, India, and South America. The proposed Tesla factory in Mexico should lead to a step change in South America, aided and abetted by imports from China’s BYD.
Two years ago, the future looked bright — now it looks positively brilliant. Germany has embraced EVs and her carmakers are churning them out. China has transformed its domestic industry — it’s no longer cheap rubbish or inferior clones. BYD, Nio, and XPeng are ready to take on Europe. This is a new breed of Chinese luxury carmaker. Tesla has built three new factories, and even Ford and GM are joining the party.
It is beyond the scope of this article to detail all the new EVs from both startups and legacy automakers, but suffice to say, there are enough to meet the 2027 target. Stop and reflect on the past few years — things have changed.
I don’t like paywalls. You don’t like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don’t like paywalls, and so we’ve decided to ditch ours.
Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It’s a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So …