The coronavirus pandemic is driving electric vehicles sales up and carbon emissions down

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20th November, 2020

News type : Recent news

The past 7 months of coronavirus lock-downs have provided new valuable insights into the likely future of transport. Electric vehicles may finally be on the road to a significant market share.

One of the Covid-19 impact is that the social-distancing rules arising from the global pandemic have raised fears in many countries over the public transport, encouraging many to retreat to the comfort of their own cars. But, most of the pandemic impacts have been helpful as we look ahead to a more energy-efficient future, with a gradual shift to electric-powered transport, and many countries having now commited to zero-emissions transport by 2050.

Vehicle sales worldwide are expected to fall to arround 70 milion this year, from 90 milion last year. With thousands of car dealership folding, many families with reduced pay cheques and job insecurity at high levels, consumers are delaying big-ticket purchases like cars.

While fossil-fuel vehicle sales have shrunk sharply in most economies, the good news for those with environmental concerns is that electric vehicle sales have stayed firm. The European auto data company JATO has reported that petrol and diesel car registrations were down by almost one-third in June, while electric vehicle sales were up by two-thirds. Although this is very impressive and encouraging though, we need to keep in mind that electric vehicle sales accounted for less than five per cent of all vehicle sales in Europe and so it is going to take a while before this growing demand for EVs makes a serious dent in overall demand for fosil fuel-vehicles.

While there were just 17,000 electric vehicles on the world's roads in 2020, the International Energy Agency reports that there are today about 7.2 milion. They forecast this number to grow to between 140 milion and 250 milion by 2030. By then, not only will there be about 430 electric car models to choose from, but production costs will be down, and perhaps most important, improvements in battery technologies will transform the business.

The surge in demand for electric vehicles has, of course, been as much policy-driven as price- or efficiency-driven. Subsidies in Europe (in part from the recently announced €750 bilion or US$860 bilion pandemic recovery fund) have played a large part in diverting drivers from fossil fuels, but incentives are increasingly being focused on zero-emission mandates and fuel economy standards, or shifting support to vehicles with higher battery efficiency and more miles on a single charge.

But, as sales volumes rise and production costs fall, there is a growing confidence that electric vehicles are at last on the high road towards significant market share, with the pandemic giving a helpful, timely shove in the right direction. If the IEA's prediction of 250 milion EVs on the world's roads by 2030 proves accurate, that will amount to 30 per cent of all vehicles in operation. Most significant, it should mean we are avoiding 700 milion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions as a result of vehicle electrification.



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Keywords: GEM, electric drive, in-wheel, lev,pandemic, covid-19, carbon emissions, electric vehicles