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Worldwide sales of electric vehicles jumped by 54% last year, but current and planned policies won't achieve an international goal of 30% of new vehicle sales by 2030, the International Energy Agency said Wednesday.

Expand chart
Data: Energy Information Administration; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Why it matters: Major progress in electrifying the transport sector — not only passenger cars, but also trucks, buses and other transport — will be vital in achieving very steep greenhouse gas emissions cuts in the coming decades.

But, but, but: The IEA report looks at current trends against what would be needed to reach the collective 30% by 2030 goal — called EV30@30 — set a year ago by the Clean Energy Ministerial, whose members include the U.S., China, the EU, India and over 20 others.

  • The report notes that, under the EV30@30 goal, there would be 228 million electric vehicles on the roads worldwide — mostly passenger vehicles as well as light commercial vehicles, buses and trucks.
  • That's around 100 million vehicles more than under the "new policies" scenario, which models existing and announced policies and shows they will fall well short of the target.

Where things stand now: EV sales surpassed 1 million vehicles in 2017, with China leading the way and accounting for more than half of all sales as EVs reached a market share of 2.2%.

  • The worldwide number of electric cars grew to over 3 million last year, and 40% of those are in China, the world's biggest auto market. It's expected to see steep growth in years ahead as the central government bolsters support.

Not just cars: "Electrification of other transport modes is also developing quickly, especially for two-wheelers and buses. In 2017, sales of electric buses were about 100,000 and sales of two-wheelers are estimated at 30 million; for both modes, the vast majority was in China," the report states.

Charging: The number of private charging stations at residences and workplaces reached around 3 million last year. There were around 430,000 publicly accessible chargers worldwide in 2017, and one-fourth were fast-chargers, IEA said.

The big picture: Falling battery costs and increased consumer offerings are helping spur adoption, but growth to date is still "largely driven" by supportive government policies such as financial incentives, public procurement, and low-carbon vehicle mandates, IEA said.

  • The report recommends lays out a bunch policy options — around charging access, procurement, emissions targets and more — for helping to "create optimal circumstances for the uptake of EVs."
  • "A first policy priority should be the phase-out and removal of fossil fuel subsidies in countries that still apply them," IEA said.
  • "This is closely followed by the need to establish taxes reflecting the carbon content of fuels, and to reinforce these with taxes that cover other impacts (such as local pollutant emissions) in countries that have already some type of carbon taxation," the report adds.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 4 mins ago - Health

Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The travel bans and border closures prompted by the Omicron variant likely won't fully prevent its spread, but that won't stop countries from leaning on the measures.

Why it matters: The rapid speed at which countries turned to travel bans with the emergence of Omicron indicates border controls will increasingly become a weapon against infectious disease — whether or not public health experts agree they are effective.

24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

GOP fights itself on shutdown politics

Reporters question Senate Minority Whip John Thune before the Republican Party's weekly lunch on Tuesday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

GOP leaders on Capitol Hill are scrambling to reach a deal with a bloc of 15 Senate Republicans threatening a government shutdown to force a fight over the Biden administration's vaccine mandates.

Why it matters: The push to defund the mandates — by holding the short-term government funding bill hostageis largely symbolic, and highly controversial within the Republican Party. A shutdown as early as midnight Friday could trigger everything from national park closures to delays in receiving Social Security checks.

Stacey Abrams launches second campaign for Georgia governor

Photo: Eze Amos/Getty Images

Stacey Abrams, voting rights activist and former 2018 candidate for Georgia governor, is running for the position again in 2022. Abrams would be the first Black female governor in the country.

Why it matters: Abrams caught national attention in 2018 by narrowly losing an election to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in a state held firmly by the GOP for nearly two decades.