Sustainable Development

Chart: Which countries have the largest electric car markets?

image of an electric car being charged

Electric vehicles are a stepping stone to a more sustainable future. Image: Unsplash/Andrew Roberts

Felix Richter
Data Journalist, Statista
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Automotive and New Mobility

  • Several countries made huge steps towards a cleaner future in 2020, with the electric vehicle market growing across the globe.
  • China boasts the largest EV market, while Norway has the highest share of electric cars in total passenger car sales.
  • In Europe, several EV markets saw triple digit growth in 2020 electric vehicle sales.
  • Although the U.S. has the third-largest EV market, growth only reached 4% last year.

With Tesla’s meteoric stock market rise in 2020 and several countries and car manufacturers announcing new electric vehicle targets, electric cars have been in the spotlight for a while now. And while they still account for a single-digit percentage of global passenger car sales, several countries, especially across Europe, have made huge strides towards a cleaner future in 2020.

While Norway is by far the country with the highest share of electric cars in total passenger car sales, no country comes even close to China in terms of absolute market size. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), sales of battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrids (PHEV) amounted to 1.00 and 0.25 million in 2020, respectively. That puts China way ahead of Germany (395,000), which overtook the United States in terms of EV sales.

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While several European markets saw triple-digit growth in electric vehicle sales last year, industry tracker EV-Volumes puts U.S. growth at just 4 percent. With 328,000 electric vehicles sold, the U.S. is still the third largest market though ahead of France, the UK and Norway.

a graph showing the largest markets in terms of plug-in electric passenger car sales in 2020
China leads the electric vehicle market, with a growth of 15% from 2019-2020. Image: Statista
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