The sales of electric cars continues to grow in 2020 with the number of electric vehicles globally passing the 10 million milestone. Europe has become the world’s largest EV market for the first time, reports the World Economic Forum, while China still has the largest number of electric cars on its roads with a total of 4.5 million. The world is nonetheless still at the beginning of its transition to clean energy.
According to the latest edition of the International Energy Agency’s Global EV Outlook, electric passenger car sales climbed despite the total automobile industry contracting by 16 percent.
The past decade has been one of rapid growth for electric cars, even though we’re still at the beginning of the transition to cleaner, more sustainable mobility. Despite the fact that the number of electric passenger cars in use globally increased from close to zero to 10.2 million between 2010 and 2020, electric cars and plug-in hybrids accounted for just 4.6 percent of global passenger car sales last year.
According to the Brussels Times, more than 6.8 million charging stations will be needed by 2030 to fulfill the need of current European targets. To achieve this, 14,000 points would need to be created each week, a lot more than the current rate of 2,000 per week. In the Electric Vehicle Readiness Index, Norway was ranked first, Belgium sixth, while the Czech Republic and Poland scored lowest.
Moving to clean energy is key to combating climate change, yet in the past five years, the energy transition has stagnated. Energy consumption and production contribute to two-thirds of global emissions, and 81% of the global energy system is still based on fossil fuels, the same percentage as 30 years ago. Plus, improvements in the energy intensity of the global economy (the amount of energy used per unit of economic activity) are slowing. In 2018 energy intensity improved by 1.2%, the slowest rate since 2010.
Effective policies, private-sector action and public-private cooperation are needed to create a more inclusive, sustainable, affordable and secure global energy system.
Benchmarking progress is essential to a successful transition. The World Economic Forum’s Energy Transition Index, which ranks 115 economies on how well they balance energy security and access with environmental sustainability and affordability, shows that the biggest challenge facing energy transition is the lack of readiness among the world’s largest emitters, including US, China, India and Russia. The 10 countries that score the highest in terms of readiness account for only 2.6% of global annual emissions.
To future-proof the global energy system, the Forum’s Shaping the Future of Energy and Materials Platform is working on initiatives including, Systemic Efficiency, Innovation and Clean Energy and the Global Battery Alliance to encourage and enable innovative energy investments, technologies and solutions.
Additionally, the Mission Possible Platform (MPP) is working to assemble public and private partners to further the industry transition to set heavy industry and mobility sectors on the pathway towards net-zero emissions. MPP is an initiative created by the World Economic Forum and the Energy Transitions Commission.