COP27: EV sales strong but more needed to reduce transport emissions
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The world is making the transition to electric vehicles. That’s the conclusion of a BloombergNEF report released on Wednesday at COP27, the global climate summit in Egypt, where more than 200 governments and private sector companies signed the newly announced Accelerating to Zero Coalition.
Global EV sales grew 110% year over year in 2021, while U.S. sales more than doubled over the period. The BloombergNEF Zero-Emission Vehicles Factbook notes that the “rise has continued into 2022.” The report estimates that the US will have 3.6 million electric vehicles, including hybrid vehicles, on the road by the end of this year, ranking third behind markets in China and Europe.
According to the report, California and other states are leading the U.S. transition to electric vehicles. In August, California passed regulations that would ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035, which Massachusetts and Washington, along with New York, will soon pass.
Although the US has no national policy to phase out fossil-fuelled vehicles, President Joe Biden has set a goal of having half of all new car sales electric by 2030. “The market is still overwhelmingly driven by politics,” Aleksandra O’ Donovan, lead author of the BloombergNEF report, said in an email.
In the US, the bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the Inflation Reduction Act have boosted interest in electric vehicles, the report said. The impact of the IRA alone is expected to make EV adoption 20% larger by 2030 than previously projected.
“Despite the stringency of some of the rules surrounding the EV tax credit, the fact that automakers like Tesla and GM that were no longer eligible for the EV tax credit are getting at least some of it back is good news for the U.S. EV market said O’Donovan, who leads BloombergNEF’s electrified transportation research team.
Automakers are rapidly transitioning production lines to electric vehicles. Electric vehicles already account for more than a quarter of sales in Europe for several manufacturers, including the Volkswagen Group, Hyundai/Kia and BMW. The report finds that the number of available electric vehicle models in the US increased by 43% from 2020 to the first half of 2022 and that these new vehicles have longer range and can be charged faster than previous models.
The report also notes that zero-emission commercial vehicle sales are “growing fast” and that zero-emission bus sales are set to increase in 2022. The US lags behind China and Europe in the number of electric buses deployed, with just 2,000 road in the first half of 2022. North American bus makers have seen orders for zero-emission transit buses surge, but cited component shortages delaying deliveries.
Transport is responsible for a growing amount of global CO2 emissions, with North America contributing 1.64 gigatonnes in 2022, according to the report.
According to a press release, the Accelerating to Zero Coalition aims to phase out sales of fossil fuel vehicles by 2035 in leading markets and by 2040 globally. “Road transport is showing an encouraging trend towards e-mobility, but urgently and dramatically needs to accelerate to meet our global climate goals,” said Rachel Muncrief, deputy director of the International Council on Clean Transportation, in a press release.
According to the BloombergNEF report, zero-emission vehicles are expected to prevent the consumption of 1.7 million barrels of oil per day worldwide in 2022, almost the estimated amount California needs right now consumed every day. But more needs to be done, O’Donovan said.
“The political and regulatory push in the major EV markets should not be let up,” she said. “Regulators need to pay more attention to commercial vehicles — particularly medium and heavy-duty vehicles, which are furthest from the net zero trajectory. And, probably most importantly, more attention is needed to narrow the gap between the developed and emerging EV markets, where EV adoption is still minimal.”