By Michael Dwyer
This article was published by the US Energy Information Administration on Oct. 26, 2021.
In our International Energy Outlook 2021, we estimate the global light-duty vehicle (LDV) fleet contained 1.31 billion vehicles in 2020, and we project this fleet will grow to 2.21 billion vehicles by 2050. We project electric vehicles (EVs)—any LDV with a charging plug—will grow from 0.7 per cent of the global LDV fleet in 2020 to 31 per cent in 2050, reaching 672 million vehicles.
Significant growth in EV sales and shares of sales through the projection period results in the global conventional gasoline and diesel LDV fleet peaking in 2038.
We project that an increase in economic activity, population, and private mobility will result in more global LDVs through 2050. We project the population of non-OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries will grow at over three times the population growth rate of OECD countries and that the non-OECD motorization rate will increase from 92 vehicles per thousand people to 173 vehicles per thousand people between 2020 and 2050.
The OECD countries’ motorization rate remains around 530 vehicles per thousand people through the projection period. Because of this growth in population and motorization rates, we project the number of LDVs in non-OECD countries will surpass those in OECD countries in 2025.
The 2020 global LDV fleet primarily consists of conventional gasoline and diesel internal combustion engine vehicles, but sales of EVs are projected to grow due to recent technology and policy developments. In our International Energy Outlook 2021, EVs include both full battery, all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that are primarily powered by liquid fuels when batteries are nearly depleted.
We project EV fleet shares will reach 34 per cent in OECD countries and 28 per cent in non-OECD countries by 2050. Although the conventional LDV fleet peaks in 2023 for OECD countries, faster growth in the non-OECD fleet results in nearly two-thirds of light-duty EVs being in non-OECD countries by 2050.