Global cities leading the way on electric vehicles

Ilario D'Amato
Reading time: 2 minutes
16 March 2017

LONDON: The rapid uptake of electric vehicles (EV) is helping to drive a global transition towards cleaner, healthier cities, according to a new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).

The report shows how forward-thinking cities around the world are spearheading the electric revolution, significantly reducing their carbon emissions as well as combating dangerous air pollution.

According to the report - Electric vehicle capitals of the world: Demonstrating the path to electric drive - just 14 metropolitan areas, representing about 1.5% of the global population, accounted for 32% of new EVs in 2015.

“Cities are crucial test beds for demonstrating the economic and social benefits of EVs,” says Sandra Roling, who leads The Climate Group’s corporate leadership work on electric vehicles.

“We are seeing a strong business case developing, for city and sub-national governments who are keen to offer their citizens positive living conditions, as well as for companies operating in their jurisdictions. Supportive policy frameworks and open dialogue between public and private actors are crucial at this stage to build early market demand and jointly drive the development of infrastructures and new business models.”

Electric vehicle new registrations and share of new vehicles in 2015 in high electric vehicle uptake markets, from the report "Electric vehicle capitals of the world: Demonstrating the path to electric drive" - courtesy of the ICCT


The ICCT report indicates that the top markets by electric vehicle share of new passenger vehicles are Oslo (27%), Utrecht (15%), Shanghai (11%), Shenzhen (10%), Amsterdam (10%), and San Jose (9.4%). Last year, worldwide sales of plug-in vehicles reached 773,600 units, a 42% increase on 2015, and triple the number of sales recorded in 2013.

While ‘green vehicles’ are booming in Norway, with its capital at the top of this leader board, it is China that is leading the way globally– accounting for 45% of all plug-in vehicles sold worldwide, up from 35% in 2015.

Only recently, the Beijing region announced its intention to convert its 70,000-strong fleet of taxi to EVs, to curb severe air pollution. According to the National Business Daily, a draft work program in the Chinese capital will ensure that all new or replaced taxis will be converted from gasoline to electricity – creating a market worth about US$1.3 billion.

“China is already the largest EV market in the world,” concludes Sandra Roling, “and with initiatives like this the government provides a practical demonstration of the way forward.”

“In addition to walking the talk with their own fleets, governments can build significant additional momentum by providing policy incentives for companies to transition private sector fleets as well”.

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