Electric vehicle sales in Asia-Pacific and Europe will lead the growth.

Research and consulting firm GlobalData expects a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.6% for the global EV market through 2022. Within 5 years, global EV sales should exceed three million a year. Larger batteries and higher demand in for battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles will boost lithium demand.

Such growth will fuel an increase in lithium mining to support the booming industry. Mining investment is expected to increase in Chile, Australia, Argentina and Canada to meet demand. According to Vinneth Bajaj, Senior Mining Analyst at GlobalData:

Several national governments are encouraging the adaption of EVs by providing various tax incentives and subsidies to the manufacturers and end users. Additionally, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have led to much technological advancement in EVs and made them a viable and safe alternative to traditional vehicles.

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The largest increase will be in China, which is expected to boost its EV sales from 579,000 in 2017 to 1.5 million by 2022. Current government policies and subsidies are making China a lucrative market for industry investments due to which the country’s EV market is poised to grow three times as fast as the US during the outlook period.

Chinese buyers took home 50% of electric vehicles sold globally in 2017. 17% went to the United States. Norway accounted for 5.4% of global sales, followed by Germany and the UK.

The U.S. is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.2%. This would reportedly put U.S. electric vehicle sales at 380,000 a year in 2022. However, this is a somewhat conservative prediction. U.S. plug-in sales will potentially exceed 300,000 units as early as 2018.

GlobalData says China will continue to lead in plug-in sales. China is expected to grow at three times the rate of the U.S. By 2022, China's EV sales are expected to exceed 1.5 million a year.

Source: Green Car Congress