• Electric vehicles accounted for 4.2% of light vehicle sales in 2020, almost double 2019’s 2.5%.
  • Norway, Iceland and Sweden are leading the charge, with plug-in electric vehicles accounting for 74.8%, 45% and 32.2% respectively in 2020.
  • Various policies have incentivised electric vehicle uptake in Norway – but might not translate well to other countries.

Despite difficult circumstances and the pandemic’s negative impact on the the automotive industry, electric vehicles made a giant leap forward in many countries in 2020. According to estimates from industry tracker EV-Volumes, plug-in electric vehicles accounted for 4.2 percent of global light vehicle sales last year, up from 2.5 percent in 2019. While just eight countries reported an EV share of 5 percent or higher in 2019, 13 countries managed to push electric vehicles past 10 percent of new light vehicle sales in 2020. Like in prior years, Norway was a positive outlier with a 75-percent share of plug-in electric vehicles, while Iceland, Sweden and Finland also featured in the top 5 – a testament to the quick adoption of electric cars in Nordic countries. China, which is by far the largest market for electric cars in terms of unit sales, fell out of the top 10 with electric vehicles accounting for 6.2 percent of passenger car sales in the country. Meanwhile the United States fell further behind with an EV share of just 2.3 percent.