The International Energy Association (IEA) has released a detailed report on the future of EVs internationally, dubbed the “Global EV Outlook 2022” report.
In the report, there’s a lot of juicy tidbits worth talking about and getting up to speed on, especially considering that they’re coming from the IEA, which last year reprimanded any new fossil fuel development.
Let’s jump right into it. Here’s what the IEA has to say about EVs.
The rise of EVs can be felt internationally
All around the world, electric vehicle sales doubled from 2021 to 2022, to a new record of 6.6 million units sold. In that time, almost 10 per cent of global car sales were electric, four times more than the 2019 figure. We felt this in Australia, with EVs almost taking up 2 per cent market share of new vehicles.
To this success, the IEA credits policy support as one of the driving factors of change. The report reads:
“Public spending on subsidies and incentives for EVs nearly doubled in 2021 to nearly $US30 billion. A growing number of countries have pledged to phase out internal combustion engines or have ambitious vehicle electrification targets for the coming decades. Meanwhile, many carmakers have plans to electrify their fleets that go further than policy targets.”
Bringing this back into a local view, Australia has been a gentle participant in EV adoption through policy support. At the state level, several states have been supportive of EV adoption through incentives (up to a maximum of $3,500 in Western Australia) but beyond this and charging station rollouts, that’s about where it ends for EV support policy-wise.
The new Labor government wants to support EVs through a few means: a national infrastructure rollout, the removal of import tariffs on specific vehicles and the removal of the fringe benefits tax on specific vehicles. They also want to pioneer a local battery manufacturing industry.
Other countries have similar incentives, however, one thing that Australia severely lacks is fuel efficiency standards; regulations imposed on vehicle manufacturers that incentivise electric vehicle production by discouraging internal combustion engine development. It has been argued that implementing these would increase EV adoption in Australia.
Back to the report, the IEA says that there are about 450 EV models available for purchase around the world. Again, locally, not many of them are in Australia.
China is leading the charge
The biggest EV market between 2021 and 2022 was China. According to the IEA:
“The increase in EV sales in 2021 was primarily led by the People’s Republic of China, which accounted for half of the growth. More vehicles were sold in China in 2021 (3.3 million) than in the entire world in 2020.”
The IEA added some pretty interesting detail on the Chinese EV market. In 2021, the median price of EVs in China was observed to be only 10 per cent great than that of combustion engine vehicles (in other markets, it’s between 45 and 50 per cent more expensive). Electric cars are smaller in China than in other markets, too. Additionally, 90 per cent of new electric bus and truck registrations worldwide come from China, and two/three-wheeler vehicles now account for half of China’s sales.
The IEA has urged that EV adoption needs to keep going strong, insisting that in order to meet net zero, further efforts will be needed. Although electric trucks accounted for some 0.3 per cent of global truck sales from 2021 to 2022, this needs to be bumped up to 10 per cent by 2030 and 25 per cent by 2050. EVs also need to reach 60 per cent of market share by 2030 in order to be in line with the IEA’s net zero projections.
Critical minerals require intense focus
With the prices of cobalt, lithium and nickel surging internationally due to the push for electrification, the market for material sourcing has been tested strenuously, according to the IEA. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has also impacted on this, as Russia supplies 20 per cent of the world’s nickel.
“Today’s battery supply chains are concentrated around China, which produces three-quarters of all lithium-ion batteries and is home to 70 per cent of production capacity for cathodes and 85 per cent of production capacity for anodes (both are key components of batteries).”
Mining typically occurs in resource-rich countries like Australia, Chile and the Democratic Republic of Congo and further electrification will ramp up the pressure on both the resourcing and the manufacturing industry.
The IEA projects that the supply of some minerals like lithium would need to rise by up to one-third by 2030 to match market demand.
At the end of the IEA’s EV report, the organisation put forward some recommendation that it would like to see come into effect.
- The IEA sees the phasing out of direct subsidies on EVs as something that will eventually happen, however budget-neutral feebate programs must be introduced and continued to be supported, such as vehicle efficiency standards or CO2 standards.
- The IEA wants to see a policy-led deployment of heavy-duty electric vehicles, particularly buses and trucks.
- Electric vehicles should be promoted in emerging and developing economies, particularly cost-competitive vehicles like two wheelers, three wheelers and buses.
- Governments should continue to support the deployment of public charging stations, through either business regulations or through fiscal policies and support. Incentivising the installation of these charging stations is seen as important.
If you’d like to read the IEA’s EV report, you can find it here.