Passenger EV sales hit four-million units, fifth million expected in March

10th September 2018 By: Irma Venter - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

 Passenger EV sales hit four-million units, fifth million expected in March

Cumulative passenger electric vehicle (EV) sales have, most likely, surpassed four-million units at the beginning of September, says Bloomberg New Energy Finance (NEF).

This includes battery electric passenger vehicles and plug-in hybrid passenger vehicles.

If e-buses are included, the four-million milestone was reached at the beginning of July.

Bloomberg NEF says the time required to reach each consecutive million EVs sold has shrunk from 17 months for the second million to six months for the fourth million.

The first million, which was reached in the fourth quarter of 2015, took around 60 months to achieve.

China played a major role in reaching the most recent milestone, and is responsible for around 37% of passenger EVs sold around the world since 2011, and for about 99% of e-buses.

Bloomberg NEF expects several new EV models to come to the market before the end of 2018, which should help increase sales numbers globally.

“We also expect the Tesla Model 3 to arrive in Europe in mid-2019, which will likely boost EV sales in the region further.

“China’s so-called new-energy-vehicles (NEV) quota kicks in in 2019 and will also push sales forward.”

Reuters reports that China’s industry ministry has set the 2019 NEV sales quota for automakers at 10% of yearly vehicle sales. For 2020, the NEV sales quota will be set at 12% of annual sales.

Bloomberg NEF expects that the next million in EV sales will take just more than six months.

“We expect the five-millionth EV to be sold in March 2019. The acceleration aligns with the major markets – China, Europe and North America – approaching or exceeding EVs as a 2% share of new car sales.

“In the second quarter of 2018, the share of EVs in new car sales was at 4%, 2.3% and 1.6% in China, Europe and North America,

Bloomberg expects about 42% of the fifth million in EV sales to be in China, with Europe contributing 26% and North America 25%. However, if Tesla Model 3 sales continue to accelerate, North America could catch up with Europe quite quickly, with both regions having roughly 1.3-million EVs sold by then.

With changes to the support offered to EVs in China, sales have increased dramatically in this country. By the first quarter of 2018 – when the three-millionth EV was sold – about 35% of cumulative EV sales globally were in China.