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The ICCT: Nearly half of the world’s EVs are in 25 cities; China leads the way

Nearly half of the world’s electric vehicles are in 25 cities, according to a new briefing by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). As of the end of 2017, these 25 cities were home to nearly 1.4 million of the world’s 3.1 million passenger electric vehicles. These 25 cities, representing just 12% of world passenger vehicle sales, account for 44% of the world’s cumulative electric vehicle sales through 2017.

EV Capitals 2018 fig

Cumulative electric vehicle sales and 2017 passenger vehicle sales in top global electric vehicle markets. Source: The ICCT.

In the report, the ICCT team focused on 25 metropolitan areas which each have seen more than 20,000 electric vehicle sales through 2017: Beijing, Changsha, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Wuhan, and Zhengzhou, China; London, England; Paris, France; Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Bergen and Oslo, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; and Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle, United States.

ICCT

Cumulative electric vehicle sales and 2017 sales shares in electric vehicle capital cities. Source: The ICCT.

Global electric vehicle sales increased by more than 50% from 2016 to about 1.2 million in 2017, according to the ICCT findings. The growth has been greatest in China, which is home to half of the global electric market and 11 of the 25 top electric vehicle market cities.

According to the ICCT report, major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have implemented strong policies not found outside China, including large incentives and licensing and registration privileges for electric vehicles, to simultaneously tackle congestion and air quality. Other leading markets in Europe and the United States have similar but less extensive versions of the incentives and policy approaches of China.

The report also finds that the top electric markets are beginning to solve the infrastructure challenge. The EV capitals use multi-faceted strategies to spur infrastructure investment, such as adopting building and parking codes to ensure broad access to charging over the longer term. The top 25 electric vehicle markets have, on average, about 24 times the available charging per capita as elsewhere. However, the report notes, charging availability varies greatly among leading markets.

A comprehensive policy package is necessary to launch the electric market. Nearly all global electric vehicles (98%) are in China, Europe, Japan, and the United States, which have regulations to ensure electric vehicle model availability, incentives to reduce vehicle price, infrastructure to ensure convenience, and campaigns to educate consumers. Comprehensive local-level policies are also a distinguishing feature of top electric vehicle markets.

—The ICCT

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