The IEA is a global energy authority providing data, analysis and solutions on all fuels and all technologies. It seeks to help governments, industry and citizens make good energy choices. The IEA’s findings reveal the speed at which the world’s transportation system is shifting toward cleaner fuels as governments focus on limiting pollution and greenhouse gases. In addition, major automakers from Volkswagen AG to General Motors Co. and Audi AG have followed suit in announcing dozens of battery-powered versions of their models. Acknowledging recent developments, the global fleet of electric vehicles is likely to more than triple to 13 million by the end of the decade from 3.7 million last year, according to the IEA.
Pierpaolo Cazzola, senior energy and transport analyst at the IEA, said: “The dynamic policy developments that are characterizing the electric car market are expected to mobilize investments in battery production, facilitating cost reductions and ensuring that battery production takes place at scales that exceed significantly what has been seen so far.”
The IEA’s findings include:
I. China will remain the biggest market
As part of its effort to cut air pollution, the Chinese government has put a number of policies in place to accelerate sales of electric vehicles. In 2017, more than half of global sales of electric vehicles were in China. According to the IEA, China is and will remain the biggest market.
II. Electric Vehicles will displace lots of oil from the market
The IEA estimates that 130 million light-duty vehicles expected on the world’s roads by 2030, will cause oil demand decline. In 2030, about 2.57 million barrels of oil per day won’t be needed. Last year, electric vehicles already displaced 380,000 barrels a day of demand.
III. Governments will have to find new sources of tax revenue
As a consequence of the energy transition, the governments may lose out on $42 billion in tax revenue from road fuel sales by 2030. For instance, China’s fuel tax revenue in 2017 was already cut by $2.6 billion due to the growing share of electric vehicles.
IV. At least 10 more giant battery gigafactories will be needed
The IEA’s findings reveal that demand for batteries is expected to rise by a factor of 15 by 2030, largely driven by light-duty vehicles such as cars and vans, especially in China, Europe, India and the U.S. This will require many more battery production plants like the Gigafactory that billionaire Elon Musk’s Tesla is building in Nevada.
V. Buses are going electric too
According to the IEA, there will be 1.5 million electric buses in use worldwide by 2030, up from 370,000 last year. In 2017, 99% of electric buses were sold in China, however, there are all-electric bus fleet emerging in Europe. For instance, Oslo, Trondheim and Gothenburg also have electric buses in operation.
VI. Cobalt and lithium demand is surging
Since cobalt and lithium are key ingredients in the rechargeable batteries that power electric vehicles, demand could possibly rise tenfold. However, about 60% of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Car makers are likely to face criticism due to 40,000 children working in cobalt mines in the DRC (according to the UN children's agency, UNICEF) and this may provide an incentive to shift away from cobalt-heavy batteries.