Some cities are way ahead of rest of the world
According to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), nearly half of all plug-in electric passenger cars are used in just 25 metropolitan areas.
At the end of 2017, the number was 1.4 million out of 3.1 million, which translated to around 45% in those 25 cities.
That's pretty interesting, especially since overall, those 25 markets represent only 12% of the world's passenger car sales. In other words, there are important reasons that make plug-ins appealing in certain metro areas.
The biggest 25 markets for plug-in electric cars are:
- China (11/25): Beijing, Changsha, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Wuhan, and Zhengzhou
- Europe: (6/25): London (England), Paris (France), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Bergen and Oslo (Norway), Stockholm (Sweden)
- U.S. (6/25): Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle
- Japan: (2/25): Tokyo and Kyoto
Cumulative electric vehicle sales and 2017 passenger vehicle sales in top global electric vehicle markets. (Source: ICCT)
The electric vehicle market is accelerating, with China leading the way. Global electric vehicle sales increased by more than 50% from 2016, to about 1.2 million in 2017. The growth has been greatest in China, with half the global electric market and 11 of the 25 top electric vehicle market cities. Major cities like 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 top electric markets are beginning to solve the infrastructure challenge. Charging infrastructure buildout is key driver to the growth of the electric vehicle market. Electric vehicle 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, 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. Although Beijing and Shanghai have uniquely strong electric vehicle licensing policies, many cities in China, Europe, and the United States provide substantial financial and nonfinancial perks.