Global EV Outlook 2019: scaling up the transition to electric mobility

The Global EV Outlook is an annual publication that identifies and discusses recent developments in electric mobility across the globe. It is developed with the support of the members of the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI).

Number of vehicles

Electric mobility is expanding at a rapid pace. In 2018, the global electric car fleet exceeded 5.1 million, up 2 million from the previous year and almost doubling the number of new electric car sales. China remains the world’s largest electric car market, followed by Europe and the United States. Norway is the global leader in terms of electric car market share.
In freight transport, electric vehicles (EVs) were mostly deployed as light-commercial vehicles (LCVs), which reached 250.000 units in 2018, while medium electric truck sales were in the range of 1.000-2.000 in 2018.

Policies play a critical role. Leading countries in electric mobility use a variety of measures such as fuel economy standards coupled with incentives for zero- and low-emissions vehicles, economic instruments that help bridge the cost gap between electric and conventional vehicles and support for the deployment of charging infrastructure. Increasingly, policy support is being extended to address the strategic importance of the battery technology value chain.

Technology developments

Technology advances are delivering cost cuts. Key enablers are developments in battery chemistry and expansion of production capacity in manufacturing plants. Other solutions include the redesign of vehicle manufacturing platforms using simpler and innovative design architecture and the application of big data to right size batteries. Advances in technology and cost-cutting are expected to continue.  Other technology developments are also expected to contribute to cost reductions. These include the possibility to redesign vehicle manufacturing platforms using simpler and innovative design architecture that capitalize on the compact dimensions of electric motors, and that EVs have much fewer moving parts than conventional vehicles. As well as the use of big data to customize battery size to travel needs and avoid oversizing the batteries, which is especially relevant for heavy-duty vehicles.


Combining historical analysis with projections to 2030, the report examines key areas of interest such as electric vehicle and charging infrastructure deployment, ownership cost, energy use, carbon dioxide emissions, and battery material demand. The report includes policy recommendations that incorporate learning from frontrunner markets to inform policymakers and stakeholders that consider policy frameworks and market systems for electric vehicle adoption.

This edition features a specific analysis of the performance of electric cars and competing powertrain options in terms of greenhouse gas emissions over their life cycle. As well, it discusses key challenges in the transition to electric mobility and solutions that are well suited to address them. This includes:

  • vehicle and battery cost developments
  • supply and value chain sustainability of battery materials
  • implications of electric mobility for power systems
  • government revenue from taxation
  • the interplay between electric, shared and automated mobility options.



IEA (2019), “Global EV Outlook 2019“, IEA, Paris,


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