Through all the turbulence of the past year, a source of enormous hope for the health of the planet has emerged: the automotive industry is shifting toward electric vehicles (EVs) even faster than we envisioned only a year ago. With steady support from governments and leading automakers in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, the global market share of electrified cars, SUVs, and other light vehicles grew from 8% in 2019 to 12% in 2020, and has shown continued strength in early 2021.
This shift will accelerate dramatically in the years to come. In fact, our updated forecast predicts that by 2026 electrified vehicles will account for more than half of light vehicles sold globally—four years sooner than we anticipated in our previous report. What’s more, we see zero-emission vehicles replacing internal combustion engines (ICEs) as the dominant powertrain for new light-vehicle sales globally just after 2035.
The transition from the ICE age to the EV age over the coming decade will represent rapid change in most countries. But from an environmental perspective, the EV age isn’t coming fast enough.