Key Takeaways

  • National government signatories to the ZEV Declaration collectively represent 22% of the light-duty vehicle market in 2022.
  • Electric vehicle sales grew across ZEV Declaration countries in 2022, with all Nordic countries surpassing the threshold of 33% sales share.

The vital role of national governments in the global decarbonization of the transportation sector cannot be understated. Policies at the national level not only guide the actions of state and regional governments, but they also serve as key indicators to the automotive industry and consumers.

To assess the overall momentum of this electric vehicle (EV) transition, the Accelerating to Zero Coalition analyzed sales data and key policies from across the forty-one ZEV Declaration national government signatories (including national governments in emerging markets and developing economies). This analysis will help us better understand the global progress towards a zero-emission future.

Tracking progress

Light-duty vehicle (LDV) electrification has steadily grown among national government signatories to the ZEV Declaration, who collectively represented 22% of the global LDV market in 2022. Across 26 countries where data is available, electric vehicle (battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) sales ramped up from 1.5 million units in 2021 to 1.8 million in 2022, registering a 19% increase year-over-year. Even though progress varies, all countries have made advances towards electrifying their light-duty fleets.

The top ten LDV markets, illustrated in Figure 1, collectively represent 87% of the total EV sales among national government signatories, and growth continued to surge over the last year. The United Kingdom (386,000) and France (344,000) were the two-largest electric LDV markets in 2022, followed by Sweden with more than 166,000 units sold. Despite starting from a low base, India – the fourth largest LDV market globally – more than tripled its EV sales year-over-year, rising to almost 50,000 units sold in 2022.

Figure 1: Top ten electric light-duty vehicle markets among national government signatories (2021-2022)

Source: Source: “EV Data Center,” EV Volumes, Accessed May 15, 2023.

Across the board, electric vehicle adoption is advancing among ZEV Declaration national government signatories (Figure 2). EV share reached over 33% of LDV sales across all five Nordic countries, followed closely by the Netherlands with a 30% share. Four in five cars and vans sold in Norway were electric in 2022, up from 75% in 2021.

In Europe, the three overall largest LDV market signatories – UK, France, and Spain – registered 20%, 18%, and 9% EV sales share in 2022. For New Zealand, one in five cars and vans sold were electric in 2022, up from 8% in 2021. Canada’s EV sales rose by a third, reaching 7% EV sales share in 2022, up from 4% in 2021. EVs are making inroads in emerging markets like Chile, Mexico, and India as well, doubling year-over-year despite starting from a small market share.

Figure 2: Global electric light-duty vehicle sales share of national government signatories (2021-2022)

Source: “EV Data Center,” EV Volumes, Accessed May 15, 2023.

EV sales share data not available for the following ZEV Declaration signatories: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cape Verde, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ghana, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Malta, Morocco, Paraguay, Rwanda, the Holy See, and Uruguay.

Policy opportunities

National governments often serve as catalysts in the acceleration to a zero-emission vehicle future. Policymakers have many tools at their disposal to shape the future of ZEV adoption, including policies, regulations, and incentives. Recent strategies from leading signatories, as detailed below, indicate a positive long-term outlook for EVs.

ZEV regulations
Several ZEV Declaration signatories have set binding ZEV regulations since August 2022. Canada proposed a zero-emission LDV mandate to increase ZEV sales from 2026 and reach 100% by 2035. With the passage of the European Union’s Fit-for-55 package, all members will only sell zero CO2 emission new LDVs by 2035. The UK’s new ZEV mandate proposal requires 80% of new car sales to be zero emission by 2030 and 100% by 2035.

Phase out targets
Countries outside of North America and Europe have also taken important steps toward achieving their ZEV ambitions. Chile passed its National Electromobility Strategy, becoming the first Latin American country with a 100% ZEV sales target for light-duty vehicles by 2035. Paraguay unveiled the Electric Mobility Master Plan for Urban Public Transport and Logistics (PMME), targeting 50% of taxis and delivery vans to be electric in five major cities between 2022 and 2040. Mexico announced a 50% ZEV sales target for cars and vans in 2030, aiming to reach 100% in 2040.

Fiscal Incentives
Vehicle purchase incentives are critical to bridge the price gap between ZEVs and traditional vehicles, making the switch more affordable for everyday consumers. In Greece for example, a 40% subsidy up to €17,500 for an electric taxi has been announced, and Cyprus’ E-Mobility Promotion Plan will offer purchase grants with higher rates for taxis. Simultaneously, as EVs reach the mainstream in more mature markets, some Northern European countries have begun to reduce or modify their purchase incentives. Between 2023 and 2030, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, the UK, and France plan to lower or eliminate purchase subsidies and raise taxes for electric passenger cars. Norway proposes to end value-added-tax (VAT) exemptions for electric cars costing over NOK 500,000 and introduce a new subsidy scheme, which means only the most expensive cars will see a price hike. The Netherlands will reduce subsidies for new electric cars by €400 every year from 2022 to 2024, and allocate €600 million to subsidize second-hand EV purchases or leases.

Charging infrastructure
One of the biggest challenges facing EV adoption is ensuring an adequate supply of charging infrastructure. Because of this, governments are investing substantially to support accelerated deployment. For instance, the UK committed £1.6 million to install 300,000 public chargers by 2030 and set aside a further £343 million to the Local EV Infrastructure Pilot. The European Commission approved a €350 million German scheme to support the rollout of high-power charging infrastructure for electric vehicles along the German motorways. Other countries early in their EV journey have introduced charging infrastructure policies in tandem with purchase subsidies. Poland released its Electromobility Development Strategy, which allocated PLN 870 million to install 17,000 charging points and 20 hydrogen refueling stations.

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