Image CC by: Travis Sweet

If one were to look at the EV market as a proportion of the total global automobile market, one would be looking at a very small number indeed. Of the estimated billion cars on the road, only 400,000 would be classified as an electric vehicle. 

However, EVs have only really been on the mainstream market since 2011, so their numbers are expected to be small. Where EVs really shine is in their growth over the past few years.
According to the Center for Solar and Hydrogen Energy Research in Germany, the number of EVs on the road in 2012 was 100,000. In 2013 the number of EVs totalled 200,000, and in 2014 the number has reached 400,000. This is a clear doubling trend since 2012 and leaves a lot to be optimistic about in the coming years.
In fact, for a sector that is still only a few years old, EVs have been performing exceptionally well. For example, EVs are being adopted much faster than when hybrids were released. In only 3 years, EVs have achieved the same number of sales that hybrids took 6 years to achieve.
The top three markets for EVs include the US (174,000 vehicles), Japan (68,000 vehicles), and China (45,000 vehicles).
A closer look at particular car manufacturers reveals growing competition to capitalize on rising interest in EVs. Interestingly, car manufacturers have realized that specialization is key when it comes to attracting customers. For years Tesla has been the “go-to” luxury EV, with its Model S boasting over 200 miles of range and high consumer ratings (it was voted the best overall car in 2014). However BMW and Cadillac have now decided to cater to the luxury EV market with the release of the i3and ELRrespectively.  
For cars more within the price range of the average American, the logical choices include the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf. While the Volt has sold roughly 58,200 units in the US to date, the Leaf is rapidly catching up with 47,300 units sold. If March’s numbers are any indication, Leaf sales could outpace Volt sales by the end of the year.
It’s an exciting time to be a part of the growing EV market. Even retailers and commercial real estate developers are noticing numerous benefits by tapping into the EV economy. With all the EVs hitting the road over the next few years, more and more drivers will be seeking out EV charging stations. 

This provides a unique opportunity to provide a valuable EV amenity for the growing EV market, while improving a company’s corporate image and generating some additional revenue.


Joseph Tohill is a freelance writer and online communications specialist for organizations in the sustainability sector. He has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of British Columbia and spent most of his academic career studying sustainable urban development; namely the interdisciplinary relationship between built form and natural environment.