First Million Electric Car Sales Took 5 Years, 2nd Million Just 6 Months


Overall sales volume may be small, but the growth is nothing short of impressive

Lately, even the hardest doubters and naysayers of the electric car revolution are – even if unwillingly – changing their backward views. If nothing else, the sheer sales numbers are proving that the future is electric after all. When the first modern electric vehicles hit the market, it took five years to sell the first million electric cars. Now, it took just about just six months to sell the last million. That’s over 150,000 electric cars sold in a single month, on average. And with the constant ramp up in both production and new EV reveals, the first 10 million is not that far away.

According to a report published recently, Bloomberg NEF estimates the global electric vehicle market will this week pass the milestone of 4 million sold to date. While four million vehicles sold in a space of about seven and a half years doesn’t sound impressive at all – and it isn’t – we have to look at the rate of change and the overall increase in sales, not just the absolute numbers, to grasp at how fast the electric car marker is progressing. While size does matter, growth is of the utmost importance for the EV car industry. After all, growth fuels the investments attracts both customer & investor attention, yields accelerated innovation and the introduction of new products. Everything we’ve seen from a similar market in the last decade – the rise of Apple and the fall of Nokia, naturally.

By comparison, the four major markets – China, Europe, Japan, and North America – totaled about 1.15 million units sold in the 12 months ending in June, year over year. Out of that number, around 565,000 were electric. And overall, almost half the growth in the overall car market was taken by the plug-ins. However, the growth rate at which the EVs are being adopted and sold all across the globe played an integral part in the rise of overall car sales.

That surge in the share of growth is, in part, a cyclical phenomenon. Growth in vehicle sales for these four markets was running at about 3 to 4 million a year in 2015 and 2016, but that slowed dramatically to an annual run rate of about 1.2 million since the start of 2017.

Even if we normalized the numbers and accounted the “normal” growth rate seen in recent years, tallying a total global vehicle market of 2.5 million units, electric vehicles’ share of that growth would still have shot up to 23 percent, with all else equal.

The major driving force behind both the surge in EV sales and overall global car sales is China. They account for slightly more than half of the global electric vehicle sales. This is due to several factors: natural growth, intense and volatile competition, the quest to curb country-wide urban pollution and the changes in the energy sector. With seemingly nothing slowing down the growth of EV sales, we might even be looking at the first 100 million sold in less than a decade.

Source: Bloomberg

Categories: Sales

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17 Comments on "First Million Electric Car Sales Took 5 Years, 2nd Million Just 6 Months"

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First Million Electric Car Sales Took 5 Years, 4th Million Just 6 Months

Please fix the title…

4 million out of more than 800 million vehicles worldwide, perspective is important.

This is about growth rate not displacement rate.

If you want to clean the air and reduce oil consumption it most certainly IS.

Thoughts and prayers….

If you want clean air and reduce oil consumption vote the bums out that support Trump. Trump thinks he’s smarter than a scientist. Mad Dog thinks he’s more like a 5th or 6th grader.

Actually exponential growth means exponential displacement. That’s the right perspective!

And the percentage of growth is also important. If you wanted to sell more cars in the last year, half of the growth potential were EVs. And that’s the most important message for business.
Try to guess how long will it take till EVs will account for 100% of the growth, eg. ICE market shrinking? When this year comes the car makers wont invest any money in ICE development, why do that on a shrinking market. And it wont matter that the EV market share would be just 10-20%. Its hard to compete on a shrinking market, even when it is big. My guess is 2022. And that will be the breaking point not the EV market share, neither the rise of EV market share, but the shrinking of the ICE market.

I seem to remember OPEC had an estimate, from sometime around 2012 or 13, of 1 million by 2020. I guess it would have been foolish to expect them to do anything but underestimate.

As more choices come to market, the rate will only accelerate. Ultimately we need more choices and more varieties and more brands.

How many still alive EV? My Renault Fluence ze with hired battery in Overlease and 6 years is ready to scrap. No more battery replacement, no battery stock they say. Two years waiting to first replacement that never arrives. Now 50% capacity. My last ICE lasting long, for 23 years. Thats the problem.

Great news. I believe the 2nd million took slightly more than 1 year while the 3rd million took 1 year and the 4th million probably took 6 months. With Tesla & BYD ramping up their models and production, the 5th million should take only 5 months. Please note that the Chinese government has cut the subsidies and still their market is doing very well.

Thanks. I really couldn’t follow what this article was claiming.

The Chinese subsidies are still bigger than almost anywhere else. Mostly they just upped the eligibility criteria…

Who needs subsidies anyway when you have mandates? It’s not like carmakers have a choice anymore.

Kicking and sobbing the LICE industry will be pulled into the current century, or not and just die, either way…😄

Trump is trying to reduce the CAFE standards.