London — The number of electric vehicles on the road rocketed to 2-million in 2016 after being virtually non-existent just five years ago, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Registered plug-in and battery-powered vehicles on roads worldwide rose 60% from the year before, according to the Global EV Outlook 2017 report from the Paris-based IEA. Despite the rapid growth, electric vehicles still represent just 0.2% of total light-duty vehicles.
"China was by far the largest electric car market, accounting for more than 40% of the electric cars sold in the world and more than double the amount sold in the US," the IEA wrote in the report published on Wednesday. "It is undeniable that the current electric car market uptake is largely influenced by the policy environment."
On Thursday, a multi-government programme called the Electric Vehicle Initiative will set a goal for 30% market share for battery powered cars, buses, trucks and vans by 2030, according to IEA. The 10 governments in the initiative include China, France, Germany, the UK and US.
India, which isn’t part of the group, said last month that it plans to sell only electric cars by the end of the next decade. Countries and cities are looking to electric vehicles to help tackle their air pollution problems.
To limit global warming to below 2°C, the target set by the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change, the world will need 600-million electric vehicles by 2040, according to the IEA.