Global sales of electric cars accelerate fast in 2020 despite pandemic

In 2020, global sales of electric cars rose sharply, increasing by 43% to over 3m. This is in spite of overall car sales declining by a fifth during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Accelerating Numbers

The brand that sold the most electric cars was Tesla, selling almost 500,000 units. Next was Volkswagen. Across Europe, sales of electric cars more than doubled, edging the region last China as the world’s largest market for them, according to data published by Sweden-based consultancy, on Tuesday.


Making up 4.2% of the global car market is the sales of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The numbers are up from 2.5% in 2019. The rising sales have been encouraged by government policies to bring down the rate of carbon emissions. According to Viktor Irle, however, a key factor is that electric cars are simply a better technology. Irle is a sales and marketing analyst at 

A Better Technology

Irle said: “The political push is still there — [governments] everywhere speak about the green recovery.”


“But the main reason for growth is simple—electric cars are a better technology. There is no noise, no pollution, better acceleration, and cheaper running costs. If people test-drive an electric car, they’re not going to go back to gasoline vehicles. The problem at the moment is that the price is a bit higher, but the cost is really coming down as well.”


Irle added that the comparatively high purchase prices of electric cars may have helped manufacturers survive the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that “The cheap car segments are always the worst hit [in recessions], because it’s not normally high-income people that buy those cars.” 


Furthermore, Irle forecasts that the industry will witness continued growth in 2021 and estimates that about 4.6 million electric cars will be sold by the end of the year. 

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