Global EV sales took a giant leap in both volume and market share in 2021, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Automakers sold 6.6 million plug-in vehicles in 2021, more than double the 3 million sold in 2020, and more than triple the 2.2 million sold in 2019, according to the IEA. The broader definition of EVs as battery electric plus plug-in hybrids also claimed about 9% of the global new-car market, up from 4.1% in 2020 and 2.5% in 2019, the IEA said.

While global EV market share is still fairly small, this is a major increase from 10 years ago, when just 130,000 EVs were sold globally, the IEA noted. The organization also found that all net growth in global car sales in 2021 came from EVs.

Global EV sales and market share 2010-2021 (from IEA report)

Global EV sales and market share 2010-2021 (from IEA report)

Government policies remain the driving force behind EV sales growth, but 2021 sales were boosted by rollouts of more new models, as well as automaker announcements of increased EV production, such as Toyota's goal of achieving 3.5 million EV sales annually by 2030, the IEA said.

While EVs don't burn fossil fuels, the IEA also noted that the continued surge of SUVs negated much of the emissions reductions from EVs, however.

China led global EV growth in 2021 as sales nearly tripled to 3.4 million, according to the IEA. United States EV sales also surged in 2021, despite supply chain issues, more than doubling to surpass half a million.

Citroën ë-C4

Citroën ë-C4

In Europe, EV sales increased nearly 70% in 2021 to 2.3 million, the IEA said. Another report found that EV sales finally overtook the diesel institution in Europe last year as well. But Europe is moving at two different speeds on EV adoption, with richer countries making the shift faster.

It's unclear if EV sales growth will continue in 2022. EVs face the same supply chain issues that slowed all global automotive production in 2021, as well as questions over sourcing raw materials for batteries, the IEA noted. The Biden administration has said it will work on building up domestic mining of raw materials and battery manufacturing.

Despite concerns about internal-combustion vehicles sales still growing and EVs not yet catching on in major markets like South America and India, Bloomberg has underscored that internal combustion has already peaked.


Thanks to GCR friend John Briggs for adding a legend to the IEA chart featured above.