Key Takeaways

  • EV sales are outperforming the light-duty market globally, with growth of 27% in signatory countries to the Zero Emission Vehicles Declaration.
  • Multiple countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium, and Finland, are witnessing substantial growth in EV penetration rates, with some achieving a new milestones like a 50% EV share in Finland.
  • Landmark regulations like Canada’s EVAS and the UK’s ZEV mandate set legally binding targets for ZEV sales, while fiscal incentives in Türkiye and New Zealand are boosting EV uptake.
Electric vehicles outperformed the light-duty vehicle market

As we witness the global transition towards electric vehicles, it’s evident that we’re reaching a critical juncture where mass adoption becomes not just a possibility but a reality. Electric vehicle (EV) sales continued to grow in 2023, with more countries doubling their EV sales yearly.

National governments play a crucial role in driving the transition to zero-emission vehicles, as evidenced by the collective efforts of the signatories to the ZEV Declaration. In 2023, these national government signatories accounted for 20% of the global light-duty vehicle (LDV) market. EV sales in ZEV Declaration country signatories outperformed global auto market recovery, growing 27% from 2022. In comparison, global LDV sales grew 10.5% year-on-year. Battery electric vehicle (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) sales reached 4.1 million units in signatory countries, up from 3.2 million in 2022.

Figure 1 highlights the top ten LDV markets, representing 80% of total EV sales among national government signatories. Leading this charge are France (485,932) and the United Kingdom (477,951), followed by Belgium (196,438), who nearly doubled their EV sales and overtook four spots from the previous year to claim the third position.

Figure 1: Top ten electric light-duty vehicle markets among national government signatories (2022-2023)

Source: “EV Data Center,” EV Volumes, Accessed February 2024.

The shift to electric vehicles is going global

Emerging market signatories are rapidly electrifying, exemplifying the transformative power of embracing sustainable transportation choices. Türkiye has swiftly become a global electric vehicle frontrunner, with its EV sales share rising from 1% to 6% within one year. Spearheaded by domestic auto company TOGG and fueled by government incentives, Türkiye has hit a significant milestone in new technology adoption.

Similarly, India’s shift towards EVs has gained substantial momentum, with registrations growing by 70% year-on-year. This surge, nearly 10 times higher than India’s LDV market growth for the same period, showcases the effectiveness of government incentives such as the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME II) scheme.

Other global leaders’ EV penetration rates grew substantially, with EV shares reaching over 33% of LDV sales in seven countries. The Netherlands and Belgium join the ranks of all five

Figure 2: Global electric light-duty vehicle sales share of national government signatories (2022-2023)

Source: “EV Data Center,” EV Volumes, Accessed February 2024.

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.

Momentum continues to build in the ZEV Declaration’s three largest LDV market signatories, namely the UK, France, and Spain, which reported EV shares of 21%, 23%, and 11% in 2023. Outside of Europe, Canada maintained its pace from last year and witnessed a 33% rise in EV sales, reaching a 9% EV share, while New Zealand saw one in every four cars sold being electric.

Governments signal a strong commitment to ZEV transition

From regulatory mandates to fiscal incentives and infrastructure investments, nations leverage diverse strategies to accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles by 2035. In Canada, the Electric Vehicle Availability Standard (EVAS) is a landmark regulation, increasing ZEV sales at progressive increments from 20% in 2026 to 100% by 2035. The UK finalized its ZEV mandate, which requires 80% ZEV sales share by 2030, keeping the country on track to meeting its goal of 100% ZEV sales by 2035.

Fiscal incentives are also proving instrumental in catalyzing EV uptake. Türkiye’s introduction of domestic battery-powered cars led to an 805% year-on-year growth in EV sales. New Zealand had a bonus/malus system for 2023 that imposed taxes on purchasing high-emitting CO2 vehicles while using the revenue to distribute rebates for low-emitting vehicles. This program helped New Zealand’s EV share grow from 20% in 2022 to 27% in 2023.

Critical to this transition is the expansion of charging infrastructure, a key priority shared among ZEV Declaration signatories. In Paraguay, the government’s initiation of the National Electric Mobility Strategy (ENME) marks a pivotal step forward. Accompanied by the rollout of ultra-fast chargers, private investments amplify the accessibility of EV charging infrastructure nationwide. France is forging ahead with ambitious plans to deploy 7 million charging stations by 2030, including 400,000 public AC and 50,000 DC chargers; the government has committed 200 million from 2024 to 2027 to achieve this goal.

The journey towards EV adoption reflects a variety of approaches among ZEV Declaration signatories. Each nation’s unique blend of policies converges towards a common goal: accelerating the shift to zero-emission mobility by 2035 in leading markets, and 2040 globally. As EVs become increasingly prevalent, we stand on the threshold of a transformative moment in ZEV transition, propelled by collaborative efforts and innovative policies.