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More than 2 million electric vehicles sold in 2018, EVs expected to make up 57% of all sales by 2040

A new forecast of electric vehicle sales says more than 2 million EVs were sold worldwide last year, with sales expected to continue a rapid rise in the coming years, passing ICE cars in sales by the 2030s.

The analysis comes from BloombergNEF, which foresees passenger EV sales hitting 10 million in 2025, 28 million in 2030, and 56 million by 2040. At that point, EVs are expected to make up the majority of new car sales, with a predicted 57% share.

BNEF cites falling battery prices as a major factor driving the “rapid uptake,” expecting price parity between EVs and ICE cars by the middle of next decade. Tighter emissions regulations will also play a role.

By 2040, BNEF expects 500 million passenger EVs and 40 million commercial EVs on the road, but ICE vehicles will still make up most of the global fleet by then. The global ICE fleet isn’t forecasted to start declining until 2030.

Shared mobility services are also expected to be a major factor driving EV fleets going forward, making up 19% of total kilometers traveled by passenger vehicles by 2040. By that time, four out of five shared mobility vehicles are expected to be electric.

BNEF also says the adoption timeline can be accelerated a bit by beefing up public charging infrastructure, thus making EVs more attractive to car owners who aren’t home owners.

BNEF is including both all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in its numbers, though all-electric vehicles will make up the vast majority of the electric segment going forward.

Electric Buses, Emissions

There are already 400,000 electric buses on the road — almost a 20% share of the global bus fleet already. BNEF expects this number to continue to rise quicker than both electrified passenger cars and commercial trucks.

Electric buses are forecasted to make up the majority of the global bus fleet by the early 2030s, and nearly 70% of the global fleet by the early 2040s.

While electric buses are making a big dent in overall oil demand worldwide, BNEF expects direct CO2 emissions from all vehicles to continue rising and peak in 2030, before dropping back down to current levels by 2040:

By 2040, direct emissions from passenger cars, commercial vehicles and buses have returned to similar levels as in 2018. If national governments want to hit the aggressive emissions reductions targets they have set, a stronger policy push will be needed to accelerate adoption.

Electrek’s Take

Electric cars surpassing ICE cars in new sales by the 2030s is not a bad take, though we expect it could happen in the early part of the decade, if not sooner. Beyond the already-lower ownership costs for maintenance and charging compared to gas, if upfront price parity evens out by the middle of next decade — and some expect it to happen earlier than that — the big tipping point could arrive even faster than BNEF expects.

The emissions outlook here isn’t as kind due to expectations of a growing ICE fleet for at least another decade, so we’re hoping that tipping point arrives as early as possible.

Things can change quickly — a BNEF forecast from 2016 only expected EVs to make up 35% of global car sales by 2040.

What do you think? Is BNEF on the mark here, or is the forecast flawed?

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