million electric vehicles
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The number of electric cars on the road is expected to reach almost 10 million this year, as sales are growing despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report by International Energy Agency (IEA).

Electric car sales are expected to fare better than the overall passenger car market, with EV sales this year to broadly match the 2.1 million sold in 2019, according to the latest edition of the IEA’s Global EV Outlook.

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This would account for a record 3% of the total global car sales. Based on data from January to April this year, total global passenger car sales this year are set to decline by 15%.

The COVID-19 pandemic will affect global vehicle markets, and how governments respond to the pandemic will influence the pace of the transition to electric vehicles.

Global electric car sales grew by at least 30% every year over the past decade except for 2019, when growth slowed down to 6% as the regulatory environment changed in China and passenger car sales contracted in major markets. Even so, electric cars had another banner year in 2019, securing their highest ever share – 2.6% – of the global car market.

Last year, electric vehicles performed differently in markets worldwide. China remained by far the largest electric car market in the world, accounting for half sold in 2019.

More than 1 million electric cars were sold in China in 2019, a 2% decrease from the previous year. Europe was the second-largest market, with 561,000 cars sold in 2019. The United States followed with 327,000 cars sold.

Electric cars are expected to account for nearly 1% of the global car stock with this year’s sales. However, the report explains that second waves of the pandemic and slower-than-expected economic recovery could lead to different outcomes. Ultimately, government responses to the pandemic and the way consumers emerge from the crisis will determine what happens to electric car markets in 2020 and beyond. 

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