The International Energy Agency imagines a world transformed by electrification

Electric cars and plug-in hybrids could compete with combustion engine cars in global sales from 2035, according to new projections from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which imagines a world transformed by electrification.

Nearly one in three vehicles driving in China could thus be electric (according to the definition including plug-in hybrids) in 2030, and one in five in Europe and the United States, limiting CO emissions.2 and air pollution, according to the annual report on electric cars published Tuesday by the IEA.

In 2035, in the IEA scenario based on public policies already in place, half of the new cars sold in the world could be electric, avoiding the consumption of 10 million barrels of oil per day. Utility vehicles and two-wheelers would gradually follow.

To make these estimates, the IEA bases itself on the commitments of States but also on the production capacities of large manufacturers and battery manufacturers.

The agency includes in these figures sales of plug-in hybrid cars, which have a gasoline or diesel engine for long distances, but ideally drive 100% electric in the city.

And to support this electrification, it will be necessary to multiply by six the number of public charging stations, according to the IEA.


Reduced margins, volatile prices for battery raw materials, high inflation and the removal of purchasing subsidies in certain countries such as Germany have nevertheless caused concern about the growth of the sector.

This bout of weakness, however, is concentrated in certain European countries. China, the leading market for the sale of electric cars, is less affected and “global sales remain solid,” notes the IEA.

“The dynamic of electric cars is clearly maintained in our data, even if it is stronger in certain markets,” indicated the director of the agency Fatih Birol during a press conference.

“Rather than slowing down, the global electric revolution seems to be preparing for a new phase of growth,” underlined Fatih Birol. “With a wave of investment in battery manufacturing, the supply chain is poised to align with automakers’ ambitious plans.”

Even political changes like the election of Donald Trump in the United States would only marginally slow down the transition, according to him. “If these countries want to remain competitive with China or other countries, they will have to continue to invest in green industries.”

In the short term, sales of electric cars are expected to continue their strong growth (+20%) in 2024, particularly in China.

Their market share is expected to reach 45% this year in China, 25% in Europe and 11% in the United States, driven by competition between manufacturers, falling prices for batteries and cars, and subsidies.

In China, electric models are already often cheaper than their thermal equivalents. This performance should be achieved by 2030 for most models in other major automotive markets, including Europe.

This revolution is currently benefiting the American Tesla, but above all Chinese manufacturers like BYD: the Chinese produced more than half of the electric cars sold in the world in 2023.

And electrification does not only concern rich countries: certain developing countries have seen their sales of electric vehicles explode in 2023. Vietnam like India sell locally produced cars, while Thailand or Brazil massively import cars. Chinese vehicles, explained Timur Gül, green energy specialist at the IAE.

New taxes?

If the transition continues, states will have to adapt to the reduction in tax revenues from fuels, which could represent a loss of around $105 billion globally in 2035.

The fall in tax revenues linked to fuels could be offset by urban tolls or kilometer taxes, in particular to finance road maintenance.

States must also increase their electricity production, warns the IEA: electric vehicles should represent nearly 10% of electricity demand in 2035, compared to 0.5% in 2023.

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