According to Macquarie Bank, in 2017 global sales of electric vehicles rose to 1.1 million, up from 740,000 in 2016, representing an increase of 51% over the previous year. (Macquarie’s data came from the US, China, Europe, Canada and Japan.) EVs include battery only and plug-in electrics (which have a battery and a small internal combustion engine.) These sales amount to 1.7% of all light vehicles on the world’s roads. EV market share in China was 2.3%, while in the rest of the world it was 1.4%. Macquarie sees EV sales reaching 2% of global auto sales this year and 5% by 2022.

EV Volumes reported global sales of plug-in electric vehicles reached 1.3% of all light vehicles sold in 2017. By the end of this year the website projects over 5 million plug-in cars and light trucks will be on the world’s roads.

In Europe last year, 306,143 plug-in electric cars were sold, making this the fastest growing auto segment there. Sales in this category were up 38% over 2016.

Last year in the UK plug-in electric vehicles accounted for 3% of all light vehicles on the country’s roads. 47,263 new plug-in cars were registered in 2017. This is up from 36,535 in 2016. There are now about 133,000 of these vehicles in the UK.

By contrast, diesel vehicle sales in the UK dropped 17% last year to 42% of passenger car sales, partly due the imposition of a a new tax on diesel in November. See The GuardianDiesel car sales slump puts thousands of jobs at risk in UK

In France last year new electric vehicle registrations rose 15%. EV sales accounted for  1.2 percent of all passenger car sales. Five years ago 75% of all car sales in the country were diesel but last year this figure dropped to 47%. Like other countries in Europe, France has imposed bans or limits on polluting diesel engines.

Mercedes announced it will no longer sell any new diesel vehicles in North America. Diesel passenger car sales have continued to decline worldwide since Volkswagen’s ‘Dieselgate’ emissions cheating scandal in 2015, which led to the US government to investigate the emissions of all models on sale in the US and impose heavy penalties on VW.  The UBS Group has forecast the global diesel market to shrink from 13.5% of passenger car sales in 2016 to just 4% by 2025.

For more on the decline in diesel sales see Quartz, Europe’s intoxicating love affair with diesel is dying out

Of the 221,818 vehicles sold in Denmark last year only 0.3% or 698 were electric.

Since 2010 China has provided generous sales incentives for alternative fuel vehicles, or new energy vehicles. Now reports are surfacing the country is going to significantly cut subsidies for new energy vehicles this year and phase them out altogether by 2020. Sales of these vehicles, comprising mostly electric and hybrid vehicles, increased by over 53% to a record 777,000 units last year. The removal of the subsidies are designed to remove noncompetitive low tech companies which have taken a quite a bite from the public purse. An initial round of cuts is expected to come into effective in the second quarter of 2018.

Moody’s Investors Service reports the transition to battery electric vehicles is going to put a lot of financial pressure on auto manufacturers and weaken profitability. Moody’s expects these vehicles to represent approximately 7%-8% of global new vehicle sales by the mid-2020s, up from less than 1% currently, and rise to 17%-19% by the end of the decade as battery costs drop, driving range improves and charging infrastructure expands. Moody’s says EVs will require significant capital investment by automakers, generate low returns until the early 2020s and face hurdles to achieving broader consumer acceptance. To add to the stress, the investments in electrification will occur at the same time the auto industry is spending on other rapidly developing technologies—notably autonomous driving, connectivity and ride sharing—further pressuring returns. Auto manufacturers will also need to invest in multiple propulsion technologies simultaneously in case market conditions shift.





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