THE global fleet of electric and fuel-cell passenger vehicles now stands at nearly 13 million vehicles, 8.5 million of which are zero-emission models, powered exclusively by electricity or hydrogen. Even though this fleet represents only 1% of the world's total, momentum is almost certainly gathering, as a new report reveals.

According to the "Zero-Emission Vehicles Factbook," published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), global sales of electric passenger vehicles are expected to grow by more than 80% in 2021, reaching 5.6 million units sold, thanks in part to the unprecedented commitments made by industry and governments around the world in recent years.

This report shows that in the first half of 2021, sales of electric vehicles (100% battery electric, plug-in hybrids) increased by 140% compared to the same period in 2019 (2020 statistics were skewed due to the covid-19 pandemic), accounting for 7.2% of global car sales. In comparison, this figure was only 2.6% in 2019.

China now has the most electric vehicles on the road (5.5 million), far ahead of Europe (4.1 million). Between them, China and Europe account for three quarters of the world's fleet of electric and fuel cell vehicles. The United States follows, with nearly two million electric and fuel cell vehicles on the road.

Following the various announcements at COP26 from manufacturers and states to suspend the production and then the sale of combustion engine vehicles by 2040, BNEF has revised its forecast upwards. According to the report, the global fleet of zero-emission cars is expected to consist of 677 million vehicles in 2040, rather than 495 million cars as BNEF had predicted in 2019.