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IEA Expects Strong EV Sales While Carmakers Flag Weaker Demand

Amid concerns in the auto industry about slowing electric vehicle sales with the phase-out of subsidies in key markets and consumers not yet convinced about affordability and range, the International Energy Agency (IEA) continues to hold a very bullish view on the global EV market.

“The world’s electric car fleet continues to grow strongly, with 2024 sales set to reach 17 million,” the IEA said in its annual Global EV Outlook 2024 published on Tuesday.   

Last year, global electric car sales soared by 35% to almost 14 million, the agency advocating for quicker EV uptake said in its report.

“In 2024, electric car sales in China are projected to leap to about 10 million, accounting for about 45% of all car sales in the country,” the IEA said.

In the United States, about one in nine cars sold would be electric this year, while electric cars are still expected to account for about one in four cars sold in Europe, despite “a generally weak outlook for passenger car sales and the phase-out of subsidies in some countries,” according to the agency.

The IEA has struck a much more optimistic tone than many in the EV industry in recent months. U.S. sales of EVs are stuck and Tesla is suffering, while Europe’s new car sales fell in March for the first time this year, dragged down by a decline in EV registrations and the timing of the Easter holidays. As EV sales fell in the EU, their market share shrank from 13.9% in March 2023 to 13% in the same month of 2024.

Still, the IEA is not deviating from its upbeat EV outlook, and “Rather than tapering off, the global EV revolution appears to be gearing up for a new phase of growth,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a statement.

“Under today’s policy settings, the rapid uptake of EVs – including cars, vans, trucks, buses and 2/3-wheelers – is set to avoid the need for more than 10 million barrels of oil a day in 2035. That's equivalent to all the oil demand from road transport in the United States today,” Birol said.

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But even Birol admits that “Making EVs more affordable is vital – as is ensuring that the availability of public charging keeps pace with sales.”  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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