Electric passenger car sales remain solid worldwide in 2022
According to the Global Electric Vehicle Outlook, a yearly report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), sales of fully electric and plug-in hybrid cars continue to be strong this year, despite international supply chain worries. The first quarter of 2022 saw 2 million electric cars sold worldwide, an uptick of 75% from the same period last year. Further, there are now more EVs purchased each week than were sold in all of 2012.
In 2021, China was responsible for nearly one-half of all worldwide EV sales, totaling 3.3 million. Europe totaled 2.3 million, a surge of almost three-quarters from the previous year. The US sold roughly 630,000 EVs, which was more than double its 2020 output. Conversely, sales of electric cars trail way behind in emerging markets, where supply is limited and cost of ownership is prohibitive for most people. Despite this, many countries have put in place formidable long-term policy goals for vehicle electrification. More over, many auto makers have plans to go beyond individual national policy mandates regarding electrifying their fleets.
A potential lithium battery crunch looms large
Perhaps the biggest roadblock in keeping EV sales robust are swelling costs for crucial minerals necessary for battery manufacturing, primarily a result of supply chain challenges. Lithium prices increased seven-fold in May 2022 when compared to early 2021. The cost of cobalt and nickel also spiked. If prices for these minerals fail to recede, the cost of battery packs could shoot up by 15%.
“Few areas of the new global energy economy are as dynamic as electric vehicles. The success of the sector in setting new sales records is extremely encouraging, but there is no room for complacency,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “Policy makers, industry executives and investors need to be highly vigilant and resourceful in order to reduce the risks of supply disruptions and ensure sustainable supplies of critical minerals. Under its new Ministerial mandate, the IEA is working with governments around the world on how to strategically manage resources of critical minerals that are needed for electric vehicles and other key clean energy technologies.”
Global truck sales are lagging
In 2021, close to 10% of all cars sold globally were electric. Worldwide electric truck sales comprised just 0.3%. While China is the only nation thus far to substantially encourage the implementation of electric trucks, other nations are actively planning heavy truck electrification. But cross-country haulers and other big trucks need powerful charges that at present are very costly and will likely require grid upgrades. In its new global electric vehicle report, the IEA advocates for more government involvement and planning for consumer charging infrastructure.