Who Is at the Forefront of the Transition Away from Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles?

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By Car Brand Experts


Which Nation Is Pioneering the Adoption of Electric Vehicles?

Which nations are spearheading the move from internal combustion engine cars to EVs?  — Mike B., Austin, TX      

BYD Shark
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BYD dominates sales in China and its vehicles are increasingly seen outside China as well, such as the Shark pickup truck being manufactured and marketed in Mexico

Electric vehicles (EVs) operate using an electric motor powered by a battery that can be recharged externally. There is no emission from an exhaust pipe, and no presence of fuel tanks or other liquid fuel elements. On a global scale, China leads the charge towards EV adoption in terms of sheer quantity. However, several other nations are making greater strides per capita towards embracing EVs. 

China boasts a 29 percent share of EV sales and a significant number of rapid charging stations that are accessible to the public. The country boasts 760,000 charging stations nationwide—nearly six times the combined total of charging stations found in other nations! In June 2024, China announced a $73.65 billion tax break package spread over four years to incentivize its populace to purchase EVs and other environmentally-friendly vehicles. 

[Ed. note: The Tesla Model Y emerged as the top-selling vehicle across all categories—not just EVs—globally in 2023. The car is manufactured on three different continents—North America, China, and Europe.]

Alternative Metrics

Sweden records a higher percentage of EV sales compared to China (54 percent), though it features fewer public charging stations (2,600). Individuals owning battery EVs in Sweden pay the lowest road tax and are exempt from ownership tax for a five-year period. Norway leads in EV sales percentage (88 percent) and boasts a large number of publicly accessible charging stations (9,100). Despite this, the annual rise in EV sales in Norway from 2021 to 2022 was around 36 percent, contrasting with China (about 63 percent) and Sweden (roughly 68 percent).

Besides China, Sweden, and Norway being clear frontrunners in EV adoption, it is also intriguing to observe which nations are the primary manufacturers of EV batteries. The battery supply chain commences in mines where raw materials containing essential components are extracted. These materials undergo processing and refinement before being transformed into battery cells, assembled into modules, and eventually sold to automakers. The majority of EVs are equipped with lithium-ion batteries due to their high power-to-weight ratio and prolonged lifespan. China accounts for 62.5 percent of the global lithium-ion battery production capacity, followed by Germany at 11.3 percent, and the United States at 6.3 percent. 

Leaders in EV Production

Other nations excel in the production of EVs once batteries reach automakers. China tops the production chart, trailed by Japan and India. Certain automakers have forged partnerships with battery manufacturers to fabricate their own batteries. Nio, a competitor to Tesla in China, is a prime example of this trend. It also features a unique battery swapping mechanism that eliminates the need for lengthy battery charging times.

Nio cars
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Chinese automaker Nio is challenging Tesla and BYD in the Chinese market

Africa is witnessing a surge in the adoption of EVs as well. A couple of years ago, the Ethiopian government introduced various incentives in a bid to encourage its citizens to embrace EVs, including exemptions from several taxes. The population was further motivated by stricter regulations on the import of internal combustion vehicles, which are slated for a complete ban in the near future. Initially, Ethiopia set a target of having 150,000 electric cars on its roads by 2030. Surpassing the initial goal, with over 100,000 EVs already in operation, the target has now been revised upwards to 500,000! 

By opting for an electric vehicle, you contribute to the global endeavor of transitioning from gas-powered vehicles to EVs. Familiarize yourself with rebates, tax concessions, and other initiatives in your locality to facilitate an easier transition to an EV.

CONTACTS:

EV Leaders

2030 All-Electric Goals

State Policies on EVs,

EarthTalk® is produced by Roddy Scheer & Doug Moss for the 501(c)3 nonprofit EarthTalk, which appreciates donations. Discover more on E Magazine. Submit queries to: question@earthtalk.org.

The article Who Is at the Forefront of the Transition Away from Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles was initially published on Clean Fleet Report.

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