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February 2017
Copyright (c) IRENA 2017
Unless otherwise stated, material in this brief may be freely used, shared, copied or
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ISBN web: ISBN 978-92-95111-00-4

ISBN print: ISBN 978-92-9260-000-6
Citation: IRENA (2017), Electric Vehicles: technology brief, International
Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi.

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including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy, in the pursuit of
sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth
and prosperity.

This brief benefited greatly from reviews by Dolf Gielen and Nicholas Wagner (IRENA),
Holger Hesse and Peter Keil (Technical University of Munich-ESS) and Bert Witkamp

Contributing authors: Lewis M. Fulton (UC Davis), Amr Seleem, Francisco Boshell,
Alessandra Salgado and Deger Saygin (IRENA)

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Photographs from IRENA image archive.

Insights for Policy Makers........................................................................................................... 2


Technology Status and Performance.....................................................................................8

Light duty electric vehicle sales......................................................................................12

Sales of other types of electric vehicles.......................................................................15

Costs, markets and consumers........................................................................................17

Electric Vehicle Charging and Interactions with Electricity Grids........................ 20

Electric vehicles and renewable energy deployment.............................................21

The role of demand-side management...................................................................... 26

Smart charging......................................................................................................................27

Considering the Future: Electric Vehicle Market Projections.................................. 29

Projections of batteries and electricity demand......................................................32

EVs and VRE: Combining for low environmental impact.................................... 34

Material requirements........................................................................................................ 38

Achieving future EV targets: Technology and policy aspects........................... 39

References....................................................................................................................................... 45
Insights for Policy Makers
»» There are two main types of electric »» Despite on-going battery
vehicles (EV): battery electric performance improvements and
vehicles (BEV) that use only cost reductions, EVs still face
batteries for energy storage and potentially important obstacles.
must be plugged in to be recharged, New models to be introduced
and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in 2017 and 2018 will be able to
(PHEV) that have both batteries and drive up to 300 kilometres (km)
liquid-fuel storage and refuelling per recharge, but battery packs up
systems. to 60 kilowatt-hour (kWh), even
»» The global stock of electric vehicles if battery costs drop from their
(EVs) reached 1 million during 2015 current levels of around USD 350/
and is expected to pass the 2 million kWh to USD 150 kWh would cost
mark in 2016. This rapid rise has USD 9 000, much more than the
been led by China, the US, Japan drive systems of today’s internal
and several European countries. combustion engine vehicles. Fuel
»» The uptake of EVs is the result of savings will help pay this back,
several factors, including strong especially for high-mileage drivers.
technological progress, cost »» Battery-electric vehicles provide
reductions (especially batteries), zero-vehicle-emissions driving
and policy support, including (for both CO2 and pollutant
purchase incentives, driving emissions), but the “upstream” CO2
and parking access advantages, can be substantial, for example in
and increased public charging countries with dominant coal power
infrastructure availability. generation. Electric grids must be
»» Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) considerably decarbonised (to 600
dominated sales over plug-in hybrid grams/kWh or less) for EVs to have
electric vehicles in most countries a CO2 advantage relative to similar
until 2014, but plug-in hybrid sized hybrid internal combustion
electric vehicle (PHEV) sales have engine (ICE) vehicles. Carbon
grown rapidly in the past two years intensities will need to continuously
and as of early 2016 were nearly improve in the future, since hybrids
equal to BEV sales worldwide. and other ICE vehicles will also
PHEVs have a considerable range become more efficient. EVs also
advantage but sacrifice all-electric produce no direct air pollution and
driving to achieve this. reduce noise pollution in cities.

2 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
»» For the most benefit, EV deployment such as time-variable “smart
requires four concurrent strategies: charging” and vehicle to grid (V2G)
(i) electrification of vehicles, electricity supply. Such systems can
(ii) provision of sufficient charging help support a global doubling of
equipment, (iii) decarbonisation of the share of renewable energy by
the electricity generation, and (iv) 2030 compared to 2015.
integration of electric vehicles into
»» The eventual deployment of
the grid.
charging schemes such as smart
»» EV deployment growth would allow charging and V2G can support
a higher share of variable renewable the growth of variable renewable
energy (VRE) in the power system, energy and can interplay with
via five areas of interaction: information communication
(i) actively using the mobile battery technology (ICT) systems to
storage system in the vehicle, maximise the technical features
(ii) use of second-hand batteries
and minimise the operation costs
in a “second life” role as stationary
using demand-side management
battery storage systems; (iii)
widespread deployment of charging
technologies and infrastructure; »» REmap – a global roadmap from
(iv) evolution in the charging the International Renewable
behaviour of EV owners, for Energy Agency (IRENA) to double
example, in which they become renewables in the energy mix –
comfortable with variable charging estimates that a 160 million EVs
rates and times, and (v) provision by 2030 would provide sufficient
of other ancillary services from battery capacity in major markets
EVs to the grid such as frequency to support VRE at a large scale.
regulation, shaving peak demand, Achieving this stock level, however,
power support to enhance will be challenging and will require
operation, and reserve capacity to annual sales growth rates on the
secure the grid by stored energy in order of 30-40% between now and
its batteries. then. To achieve this will probably
»» Electric vehicles create a paradigm require that EV markets achieve
shift for both the transport and a “tipping point” between 2020 and
power sectors, and could support 2025, when they start to rapidly
variable renewable power growth increase market share relative to
through different charging schemes ICE vehicles.

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 3

»» To achieve a tipping point in sales, »» Assuming all these new electric
EVs will likely need to achieve near- vehicles were to consume 100%
parity on a first cost basis with renewable electricity, around 450
ICE vehicles, and provide sufficient terawatt-hours (TWh) per year of
amenities (such as driving range additional renewable electricity
and recharging convenience) such would be required by 2030. This is
that consumers do not consider equivalent to 1.5% of today’s total
them inferior to or comparable to global electricity generation.
ICEs. EVs are already perceived »» Benefits of EVs include zero tailpipe
to provide an excellent driving emissions and therefore less local
experience, and new models being air pollution and, depending
introduced during 2017 and 2018 on the power generation, lower
will have much greater driving
CO2 emissions. EVs can also
range than most of today’s models.
reduce noise pollution in cities.
But strong policies to a) reduce the
Governments should also consider
first cost of EVs, b) provide driving/
promoting electric two-wheelers
parking advantages, and c) ensure
and electric buses as a way of
sufficient recharging infrastructure,
reducing pollution and noise in
will likely all be needed for at least
populated regions where point-to-
five to 10 more years to have
point charging is possible.
a chance for rapid sales growth
and achieving target stock levels
by 2030.

4 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
Technology status and performance

Two main types of electric vehicle For BEVs, a vehicle with 40 kWh of
(EV) have both achieved significant battery capacity may have a battery
sales in the world’s major vehicle cost of USD 14 000, leading to a
markets in the past year. These are: vehicle incremental cost of at least
USD 12 000 compared to similar ICE
(1) battery electric vehicles (BEVs),
vehicles, depending on retail mark-
which use only batteries for energy
ups, incentives and other factors.
storage and must be plugged in to be
recharged, and Fortunately, strong policies and on-
going cost reductions of batteries
(2) plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
have helped enable the growth of
(PHEVs), which have both batteries EVs. EV sales have grown rapidly over
and liquid-fuel storage/refuelling the past five years, reaching nearly
systems. 500 000 worldwide in 2015, and likely
In both cases, the electric motor to approach sales of 1 million in 2016,
is very efficient, using 90-95% with nearly half of 2016 sales likely to
of the input energy to power the be in China. EV sales and market share
movement of the vehicle, and offer are quite variable across different
zero vehicle emissions driving. But countries and markets. In 2015, EV
the use of batteries poses the two market share was over 20% in Norway,
main challenges for battery electric nearly 10% in the Netherlands, and
vehicles: their cost and driving 3% in California, while under 2% in
range. Most current models of BEV all other major markets. Electric
do not store enough energy to trucks and buses are also emerging,
provide “normal” driving range, and with over 150 000 electric buses in
are limited to below 250 km (160 service around the world, mostly in
miles) per recharge. However, some China. Electric two-wheelers are the
new and forthcoming models offer runaway leaders with over 200 million
substantially more range, up to 400 sold through 2015, the vast majority
km. PHEVs already offer 500 km or in China. As battery costs continue to
more due to the availability of their drop, and higher range EVs become
liquid-fuelled internal combustion available at a reasonable cost, sales
are expected to continue to rise
engine. Both technologies are
rapidly at least through 2020.
expensive, with battery costs
estimated around USD 350/kWh in All modern EVs rely on some type of
2015 and the cost of a hybrid system lithium-ion based battery. Lithium-ion
of several thousand dollars in PHEVs. batteries offer relatively high energy

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 5

density, high specific energy and A common target is USD 150/kWh
good cycle life. Much progress has for full battery packs, a point at
been made in the last few years, which the overall costs of an EV may
making lithium-ion batteries more become competitive with gasoline or
compact, lighter, more durable (to diesel vehicles (although purchase
last the life of the vehicle) as well costs may remain higher for higher
as charge fully in a few minutes. battery-range EVs).

Electric vehicles and renewable energy deployment:

Towards a new paradigm
Electric vehicles need to be recharged EVs can be used to enable a higher
on a regular basis, and this can occur share of variable renewable energy in
either at home or at work. It can also the power system by: (i) actively using
be done while shopping or during the mobile battery storage system in
other types of stops when travelling. the vehicle in V2G applications, (ii)
A general issue for EVs has been the use of second-hand batteries in a
long duration needed for charging “second life” role as stationary battery
– typically up to eight hours for a storage systems, (iii) widespread
full charge when using slow chargers. deployment of charging technologies
Faster charging is desirable though and infrastructure, (iv) evolution in
not needed in most situations. Home consumer behaviour of EV owners,
and (v) provision of other ancillary
slow-charging mostly, but not always,
services from EVs to the grid. This
happens at night. This is relevant since
occurs by making use of EV batteries
EVs interact with the grid via charging
to store excess electricity and to
and discharging. There are different
provide ancillary services to the grid,
modes of interaction with the grid,
such as frequency regulation, shaving
the first mode is grid-to-vehicle (G2V) peak demand, power support to
where the vehicle is charged from the enhance the operation, and reserve
grid, while V2G refers to when vehicles capacity to secure the grid. One of
discharge power to the grid. The V2G the main advantages of EVs are their
mode could also be considered as a high level of flexibility in charging
bidirectional charging where EV can times which can efficiently support
charge from and discharge to the grid operation of the grid. According to
at regular intervals. Other charging IRENA’s REmap analysis, if a target
modes such as vehicle to building of 160 million EVs worldwide can be
(V2B) and controlled charging are reached by 2030, this will provide
also available. around 8 000 gigawatt-hours (GWh)/

6 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
year in battery storage that could The evolution of the combination
benefit the installed power generation of EVs with smart grids is very
capacity. This is equivalent to important as this allows customers
approximately 1 200 GW of battery to control and make well informed
storage capacity. Along with the decisions on their consumption
pumped hydro storage and second- of electricity, as well as minimise
hand batteries estimated under their bills. This kind of consumption
REmap by 2030, this adds up to a control is called demand-side
total of 1 650 GW. This compares with management (DSM). DSM can
approximately 3 700 GW of variable help customers in optimising their
renewable power capacity. The consumptions through an intelligent
stored battery capacity can provide system, and can greatly support
additional support to renewable customers in shifting their loads
power integration to the grid among during peak periods.
other flexibility measures.

Considering the future: Electric vehicle market projections

To achieve the conditions needed for VRE capacity, we estimate that most
EVs to provide significant benefits to or all of this new demand could be
electric power systems and variable served by renewable power. However,
renewable electricity by 2030, IRENA the scenario will be challenging to
estimates that 160 million will be achieve: annual EV sales would need
needed worldwide in that year. In to reach 40 million to 50 million by
this brief we articulate this vision 2030, out of an expected overall
by region, showing one plausible market of 120 million to 130 million
scenario for how the sales and use vehicles, in order for stocks to reach
of EVs and PHEVs could increase in 160 million.
various markets to achieve such a
Achieving a 25% or greater market
target. With an average of 50 kWh
share will not be easy and will require
battery pack per vehicle, 160 million
rapid sales increases in all major car
vehicles could provide about 8 000
markets in the next decade, with a
GWh of battery storage by 2030.
“tipping point” in sales probably in
Assuming average driving levels per the 2020-2025 time frame. Strong
vehicle, the combined electricity policies will be necessary to reach
demand from these vehicles could such a point, where EVs are cost
reach close to 500 TWh per year competitive and otherwise attractive
by 2030. Since this battery capacity to a wide range of consumers in
could assist in the development of many countries.

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 7

Technology status and performance
The term “electric vehicle” (EV) achieving 750 or more kilometres of
typically means a vehicle with an range overall. Current BEVs typically
electric drive (motor) propulsion have less than 250 km (160 miles)
system that can be plugged in to of all-electric range today. However,
recharge the batteries that provide some models, such as the Tesla Model
at least some of the energy storage S1 and BYD E62, have more than a 300
on the vehicle. There are two main km range. Chevrolet will introduce
types of EV: battery electric vehicles the Bolt in late 2016 with a claimed
(BEV) that use only batteries for range almost 400 km and priced
energy storage and must be plugged around USD 37 000. Other higher-
in to be recharged, and plug-in range models have been announced
hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) that for 20173.
have both batteries and liquid-fuel
Figure 1 shows, for the models of
storage systems and that can either
BEV and PHEV sold in different
be plugged in or refuelled with liquid
countries during 2015, how much
fuel to increase energy stored on the
battery capacity these vehicles have
vehicle. Regular (non-plug-in) hybrids
and the rated driving range on these
also have an electric drive system, but
batteries (a function of the battery
no plug. They rely on liquid fuel to
storage but also the efficiency of the
recharge the batteries on board the
vehicle in converting that energy into
vehicle, along with features such as
driving distance). The PHEVs typically
regenerative braking.
have far lower battery capacity and
PHEVs typically are provided with electric driving range, though they
a much smaller battery pack than also provide considerable range on
BEVs, since they also have an internal liquid fuels. The BEVs typically offer
combustion engine operating on more than 100 km of driving range
liquid fuel. The vehicles may have a and several offer more than 200 km.
shorter driving range on batteries but As mentioned, in 2015 a few models
usually have a longer overall driving offered more than 250 km, notably
range due to the liquid fuel – typically the BYD E6 and, at over 400km, the
similar to conventional vehicles, Tesla Model S.

1 <>
2 <>
3 <>

8 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
Figure 1: Comparison of battery capacity/driving
range for1: BEVs
Figure and PHEVs
Comparison of battery capacity/driving range for BEVs and PHEVs

Battery Driving Range (km)

0 20 40 60 80 100
Battery capacity (kWh)

Source: UC Davis market data
Source: UC Davis market data

Liquid fuels, primarily gasoline and By contrast, electric motors are very
diesel from oil, are considered energy efficient, using 90-95% of the input
dense, allowing vehicles to be driven energy to power the movement of the
long distances before refuelling. vehicle. But the challenge with electric
Drivers can fill their tanks easily in a vehicles is storing enough energy
few minutes at refuelling stations. One in batteries to provide adequate
drawback with combustion of fuels in driving range, as well as recharging
engines is that most of this energy is that battery without excessive
wasted as heat, with typically 20-30% inconvenience to drivers. Fortunately
conversion efficiencies (with hybrids batteries have been improving and
at the high end). becoming less expensive over time.

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 9

Every design and commercialised EV made in the last few years, making
now relies on some type of lithium-ion batteries more compact, lighter,
based battery, a technology which more durable (to last the life of the
has matured over the last 25 years for vehicle) as well as charge fully in a
use in portable electronics, especially few minutes. Circling around this is
cell phones and portable computers, costs, which are measured per kWh
replacing all other batteries. Lithium- of capacity. A common target is USD
ion batteries offer relatively high 150/kWh for full battery packs, a point
energy density, high specific energy at which the overall (purchase plus
and good cycle life. energy) costs of an EV can become
competitive with ICE vehicles. In
We are at a new phase in that Figure 2, a multi-source study by
maturation, scaling production, two Swedish researchers shows the
performance and packaging progress through 2014 and show
of lithium-ion batteries cells in the USD 50/kWh target by 2030. A
sophisticated, managed “packs” for 2016 report suggests costs could fall
vehicles and other uses, such as large to USD 100/kWh achievable within
storage batteries for use with the a decade (Bloomberg New Energy
electric grid. Much progress has been Finance and McKinsey & Co., 2016).
Figure 2: Estimates of costs of lithium-ion batteries for use in electric vehicles

Figure 2: Estimates of costs of lithium-ion batteries for use in electric vehicles

Estimates of costs of lithium-ion batteries for use in electric vehicles

2 000
95 % confidence interval, whole industry
1 900
95 % confidence interval, market leaders
1 800
1 700
News items with expert statements
1 600
Log fit of news, reports, and jornals: 12 +
_ 6% decline
1 500
Additional cost estimates without clear method
1 400
Market leader Nissan Motors, Leaf
1 300
2014 US$ per kWh

Market leader Tesla Motors, Model S

1 200
Other battery electric vehicles
1 100
Log fit of market leaders only: 8 +_ 8% decline
1 000
Log fit of all estimates: 14 +
_ 6% decline
Future costs estimated in publications
<$150 per kWh goal for commercialization
2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030

Björn Nykvist and Måns Nilsson, 2015

Source: Björn Nykvist and Måns Nilsson, 2015

1 0 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
In addition to lithium-ion batteries, Apart from the evolution of batteries,
there are many other battery scientists and experts have seen a
chemistries under development, huge potential for ultracapacitors
such as lithium-air batteries, that are as an alternative or supplementary
considered highly promising because electricity storage device that
of their potential for delivering higher could lead to a major change in
energy per unit of mass and volume. performance of EVs. Lithium-ion
Lithium-air batteries have a number batteries convert and store energy
of drawbacks4 such as lower energy by means of a chemical reaction,
efficiency and faster degradation whereas ultracapacitors store energy
rates. Still, Li-air technology offers by employing an electric field.
key performance attributes beyond
As a result, while batteries take a
the technical limits of conventional
long time (hours) to discharge,
lithium-ion batteries.
ultracapacitors can quickly discharge
MIT researchers developed a new (in seconds or minutes) with large
concept of li-oxygen that could be bursts of power. Lithium-ion batteries
used as lithium-air batteries, while can typically charge and discharge
overcoming its drawbacks. For up to 10 000 times (cycles) whereas
fast-charging lithium-ion battery ultracapacitors have a cycle life of 1
production, a start-up in Israel has million times. However, ultracapacitors
been established. This company typically have a low energy density
used nanotechnology to create new compared to lithium-ion batteries,
organic materials for batteries that and are more expensive per kW of
can recharge in 30 minutes5. These power. With significant improvements
materials have the potential to increase in energy density, ultracapacitors
charging speed in comparison with might penetrate the market and help
conventional lithium-ion batteries. improve EV performance.


Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 1 1

Light duty electric vehicle sales
As shown in Figure 3, PHEV and in 2015. In 2016, sales are expected to
BEV light-duty vehicle (LDV) sales be close to 1 million EVs, with nearly
have grown rapidly over the past half the sales coming from China.
five years, reaching nearly 500 000 As shown in Table 1, EV sales and
worldwide in 2015 in the world’s eight market share are quite variable across
largest markets (China, US, Japan, different major car markets, with the
Germany, France, UK, Norway and 2015 market share over 20% in Norway,
the Netherlands), representing more nearly 10% in the Netherlands, 3% in
than 95% of EV sales worldwide. California (though less than 1% in the
PHEVs started a bit slower than BEVs entire US), and less than 2% in other
but their share of overall sales has countries (though with China showing
risen and was about 45% (with BEVs the highest overall sales and biggest
representing the remainder 55%) in sales increase over the past year or
2015. However, these combined sales two). Worldwide, the close-to-half-
represent only about 0.5% of the million sales of EVs in 2015 was about
nearly 90 million LDVs sold worldwide 0.5% of the LDVs sold around the world.

Figure 3: Electric
3: Electric vehicle
vehicle salessales in world’s
in world’s 8 largest
eight largestmarkets,






2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

BEV sales PHEV sales

Source: UC Davis market data

1 2 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
1: Global EV sales
1: Global by country,
EV sales 8 biggest
by country, markets
8 biggest markets

Country Est Total PEVs. Est. PEV Sales PEVs as % of Total LDV market
Feb 2016 2015 2015 market 2015

1 USA >415 000 >115,000 0.6% 17 500 000

California >189 000 >62 000 3.1% 2 100 000

2 China 300 000 207 000 0.8 % 22 000 000

3 Japan (est) 150 000 25 000 >1.0 % 4 200 000

4 Netherlands 91 000 43 000 9.6% 420 000

5 Norway 90 000 34 000 >20% 170 000

6 France >70 000 27 000 1.5% 2 000 000

7 Germany >50 000 24 000 0.75% 3 500 000

8 UK (est) >38 000 >28 000 >1.0% 2 700 000

Europe >193 000

World >1 100 000 >450 000 0.5% 88 000 000

Source: UC Davis market data

Looking to the future, UC Davis Figure 4 shows these four generations

has developed a four-generation of vehicles between 2010 and 2030,
model of passenger car EV technology with new generations of EV emerging
development to characterise about every five years. Recent (2016)
what will likely will occur with on- model introductions such as the
going market development, as has updated Chevrolet Volt and Nissan
been the experience of other new Leaf indicate that EVs are entering the
technologies such as hybrid vehicles. second phase.

Figure 4: EV rollout scenario

Ele c tr i c to 2030 | Technology
Vehicles B rief 1 3
Figure 4: EV rollout scenario to 2030
Figure 4: EV rollout scenario to 2030
A plausible PEV rollout scenario based on
technology change, incentives & history of
previous technology rollouts
This sales curve 3rd
would be similar to
PEVs begin
generation: to dominate
the rollout of HEVs in
2 generation
nd batteries,
Japan & California, 2030
1997 -2015 improved vehicles,
batteries, core market California
1 st generation PEVs 2025 ZEV goal
more driving = 15% / 1.5
early policy, competitive
range, million BEVS,
converted FCV & PHEVs
vehicles, 2025
& early Main market
infrastructure 2020 Early core
2015 6-15%
2010 1 - 2% 3-5% of market
700 200 300 150 Lithium pack prices per kWh

Source: developed by Tom Turrentine, UC Davis

Second-generation vehicles already Prius have given way to models with

on the market around the world at least 30 km of battery range and
show significant improvements in some (such as the new GM Volt and
range and other attributes compared Ampera models) exceeding 60 km.
to first-generation vehicles (Figure
These higher range PHEVs typically
5). BEVs routinely show range over
are driven far more on electricity than
150 km per full charge, with some
lower-range models, partly because
models (notably the Tesla S and
coming Tesla 3 and Chevrolet Bolt) buyers are more interested in electric
showing 300-plus kilometres of driving. These new models also tend
range. On the PHEV side, low-range to be cheaper than the older first-
models such as the original plug-in generation models.

1 4 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
Figure 5: Secondgeneration
5: Second generationEVs,EVs, 2015-2020

2nd Generation PEVs (2015-2020) include higher range

and more efficient, popular designs

1 Generation 2 nd Generation

PHEV 20 - 30 kms PHEV 30 - 50 kms


BEV 120 BEV 150

BEV 250 -300 BEV 300 - 450


Sources: Compiled market data from Blogspot website (;

European Alternative Fuels Observatory (; Inside EVs website (;
various manufacturer websites

Sales of other types of electric vehicles

In addition to electrified conventional There is also a large market for two-
LDVs, a significant market exists for wheelers (including e-bikes) and an
low-speed electric vehicles (LSEV) emerging market for electric trucks
– four-wheeled vehicles that are and buses. In fact there are far more
not certified for highway use, and electric two-wheelers worldwide than
typically lighter, have less power cost there are four-wheelers, thanks to the
less. They typically have a top speed large numbers sold in China over the
of 50-70 km/h. These are popular in past decade. Sales in China over the
Asia (particularly China); in Europe past decade have been rising, with
the most successful model is the stocks now over 200 million units,
Renault Twizy, with over 15 000 sold including electric scooters, mopeds
so far (Mark Kane, 2015). and electric bicycles (Cherry, 2016).

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 1 5

As shown in Figure 6, sales in Asia rapidly in more countries. No clear
in 2015 approached 40 million units, data has been found on the sales or
mainly in China and Japan (ITDP/UC stocks of electric trucks, but these
Davis, 2015). Sales in the rest of the are mostly demonstration and small-
world were estimated to be about 2 production vehicles. However, there
million, mainly in Europe. This study are certain niches where the use
projects a sales growth to 60 million of electric trucks could rise rapidly
in Asia and 4 million elsewhere in such as smaller service and delivery
a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario. trucks. Some countries have started
Typically the two-wheelers sold in deploying electric trucks and related
China and other developing regions infrastructure. For example, Sweden
have lead acid batteries, while those has established the world’s first
sold in Japan and Europe have electric road (e-way) for electrically-
lithium-ion batteries. powered trucks. This is still on a
Electric trucks and buses are also small-scale, a two-km strip, where
emerging, with over 150 000 electric electrified trucks receive electricity
buses in service around the world, from a catenary system with
mostly in China (International Energy pantograph power collector. These
Agency, 2016). This represents a very trucks are integrated with a lithium-
rapid increase over the past two ion 5 kWh battery that allows driving
to three years, and the number is as far as three km when not running
expected to continue to grow fairly on the e-way (Scania, 2016).

FigureFigure 6: E-bike
6: E-bike sales in
sales in Europe,

8 70

Asia Pacific (line graph, right axis)

7 60

Sales ex. Asia Pacific (mil)

Asia Pacific Sales (mil)

Rest of World (bars, left axis) 40



1 10

0 0

2015 2020 2025 2030

Africa Middle East E. Eur W. Eur Lat. Amer. N. Amer. Asia Pacific

Source: ITDP/UC
ITDP/UC Davis, 2015 Davis, 2015

1 6 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
Costs, markets and consumers
Two main factors are needed to make given the low prices of competing ICE
the deployment of EVs a success: models. In premium markets, price
support of government actions and equivalence is less important but high
popularity with consumers. This performance (such as acceleration
means they must compete well with and perceived overall quality) is a
conventional vehicle models; thus they critical. Tesla has succeeded mainly by
must have desirable attributes such competing on this basis.
as an enjoyable driving experience,
Thus the cost attributes of electric
sufficient driving range, and good
“green” credentials. vehicles – such as first (purchase)
cost, running cost and their combined
Policymakers can make EVs more “total cost of ownership” (TCO) –are
attractive with actions such as important in affecting demand. And
subsidies to lower upfront costs these attributes are changing rapidly,
and urban-access measures such as as described above, for example, with
premium parking spots. In addition, respect to declining battery costs.
EVs must also be offered in a wide From the policy side, a key question
range of shapes and sizes (i.e. is the extent to which subsidies (and
different market segments, price the level of subsidies) will be needed
points, etc) and there must be a policy in order to sell large numbers of
environment that is supportive and vehicles. Related to this is the cost
creates at least a level playing field for to society of such subsidies, and the
them to compete. explicit or implicit cost per tonne for
Consumers must be aware of vehicle the CO2 emissions reductions that
models available on the market electric vehicles provide.
and gain a level of confidence high
Estimating such costs, and likely costs
enough that they become willing to
in the future, is complicated by the
spend large sums of money on these
large number of factors that could
models rather than conventional
influence these calculations. One
vehicles. Even in California, as of 2015
factor is how far individuals drive per
a relatively high number of new car
buyers were not even aware they can year, since the fuel-cost advantage of
purchase EVs at most of their local EVs rises with the use of the vehicle.
dealerships (Kurani et al, 2016). Buyers Another is the CO2 savings of electric
shopping in smaller-car segments vehicles, which depend heavily on
tend to be particularly price sensitive, the CO2 intensity of the electricity
and this is where many of today’s they run on. An EV that operates
EVs are being marketed (Fulton et for 15 years can have an on-going
al, 2016). So these vehicles must reduction in its CO2 intensity if the
compete on price, which is difficult grid is decarbonised over this period,

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 1 7

which should be accounted for in gasoline (or diesel) and electricity.
comparisons with ICE vehicles. Here we take the case of a driver
going 16 000 km per year and
A few examples illustrate the range
compare the three options for 2015
of factors that may make electric
(Figure 7c) and 2030 (Figure 7d)
vehicles more or less competitive with
across a series of different fuel-
conventional vehicles. In Figure 7a a
price combinations. In 2015, with
conventional ICE vehicle, “efficient ICE”
the assumptions about vehicle
vehicle (such as a non-plug-in hybrid),
technologies and costs, a breakeven
and a BEV are compared for a TCO
point occurs at a combination of
across a range of driving levels per year.
about USD 1.50/litre for gasoline
In the 2015 calculation, with battery with USD 0.14/kWh for electricity. In
pack costs set at USD 350/kWh, 2030, with the changes in vehicle
EVs typically USD 10 000 more costs (particularly the lower battery
than conventional ICE vehicles, costs), the breakeven point is much
and the hybrids USD 3 000 more 6. more attractive for EVs: USD 1.25/litre
The net cost of all three vehicle types matched with USD 0.16/kWh.
rises with vehicle use but EVs will
never reach cost parity, even for These figures are simply examples of
heavy users who travel more than possible breakeven points, and show
20 000 km/year. the wide range of relative economics
depending on a range of factors. They
In Figure 7b a similar situation is shown also suggest that the breakeven points
for a future date (perhaps 2025 or may become much more favourable
even 2020), with battery costs to EVs in the future. This could mean
dropping to USD 150/kWh and the that no subsidies are needed and
incremental first cost of the EV the cost per tonne is therefore zero
down to USD 5 000 per vehicle. (for whatever level of CO emissions
Fuel costs are somewhat higher by reductions are achieved). As noted,
then (USD 1.25 per litre for gasoline other non-cost factors also influence
and USD 0.14/kWh for electricity). the demand for electric vehicles. The
In this case, anyone driving more exact combination of attributes and
than 15 000 km breaks even on costs that would create a robust EV
ownership cost. market without subsidies or other
Figure 7c and Figure 7d shows promotional policies can be difficult
these breakeven points a different to determine, as are the resulting
way: based on the relative cost of costs per tonne of CO2 reduction.

6 The EV vehicle cost increment is based on a 35 kWh battery pack resulting in about USD 12
000 in battery costs, and USD 2 000 savings from eliminating the ICE engine/drive train and
replacing with a motor system. The fuel costs are based on USD 1 per litre gasoline and USD
0.12/kWh electricity, with 10 years of driving and a 10-year discount rate. This analysis could be
repeated based on many other assumptions.
1 8 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
Figure 7: Conventional ICE, Efficient ICE, and EV life-cycle cost comparison by:
(a) driving levels per year, 2015, (b) driving levels per year, 2030,
(c) combinations
(a) 2015of fuel prices, 2015, (d) combinations ofFuture
(b) fuel prices, 2030
$ 44 000
of Ownership

of Ownership
(a) 2015 $ 43 000 (b) Future
$ 42 000 $ 42 000
$ 40
44 000 $ 41
43 000

$ 000 000
$ 42 000
$ 38 000 $ 42
40 000
$ 40 000
000 $ 39 000
41 000

$ 36
$ $ 38
40 000
$ 38
34 000

$ 37
39 000
Total Cost

Total Cost
36 000
$ 32
$ 36
38 000
$ 34 000 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
$ 37 000
$ 32 000 Thousand kms of driving per year Thousand kms of driving per year
$ 36 000
8 10 12 14 16 18 20 8 10 12 14 16 18 20

Thousand kms of driving per year Thousand kms of driving per year
2015 Average ICE 2015 Efficient ICE 2030 BEV 2030 Average ICE 2030 Efficient ICE 2030 BEV

2015 Average ICE 2015 Efficient ICE 2030 BEV 2030 Average ICE 2030 Efficient ICE 2030 BEV

(c) 2015 (d) Future

$ 48 000 $ 46 000
$ 46 000 (c) 2015 (d) Future
$ 44 000
$ 44 000 $ 46
42 000
$ 48 000 $ 000
$ 42 000
$ 46 000 $ 44
$ 40 000
$ 40 000
$ 44 000 $ 42
$ 38 000
$ 38 000
$ 42 000 $40
36 000
$ 36 000 $ 000
$ 40 000
$ 34 000 $38
$ 34 000
$ 38 000
$ 32 000 $ 36
$ 32 000
$ 36 000 $ 0.75 $ 1.00 $ 1.25 $ 1.50 $ 1.75 $ 2.00 $ 0.75 $ 1.00 $ 1.25 $ 1.50 $ 1.75 $ 2.00
$ 34 000 $ 34 000
$ 0.20 $ 0.18 $ 0.16 $ 0.14 $ 0.12 $ 0.10 $ 0.20 $ 0.18 $ 0.16 $ 0.14 $ 0.12 $ 0.10
$ 32 000 $ 32 000
$ 0.75 Fuel price
$ 1.00 combinations
$ 1.25 $ 1.50 $ 1.75 $ 2.00 $ 0.75 Fuel price
$ 1.00 combinations
$ 1.25 $ 1.50 $ 1.75 $ 2.00
(top row $/L gasoline, bottom row $/kWk electricity) (top row $/L gasoline, bottom row $/kWk electricity)
$ 0.20 $ 0.18 $ 0.16 $ 0.14 $ 0.12 $ 0.10 $ 0.20 $ 0.18 $ 0.16 $ 0.14 $ 0.12 $ 0.10
2015 Average ICE 2015combinations
Fuel price Efficient ICE 2015 BEV 2030 Average ICE 2030
Fuel price Efficient ICE
combinations 2030 BEV
(top row $/L gasoline, bottom row $/kWk electricity) (top row $/L gasoline, bottom row $/kWk electricity)
2015 Average ICE 2015 Efficient ICE 2015 BEV 2030 Average ICE 2030 Efficient ICE 2030 BEV
Costs of electric vehicles are not with Level 2 (slow) public chargers
limited to ownership and driving. anywhere from USD 5 000 to USD
There are also costs associated 10 000, and fast Direct Current (DC)
with the infrastructure. The cost chargers as high as USD 60 000
of chargers varies considerably, (Agenbroad, 2014). Data for other
particularly for public chargers, and countries is difficult to obtain, and
can depend on the extent to which unit costs may be lower in some,
electricity upgrades are needed and particularly China. Total recharging
“brick and mortar” construction is infrastructure costs in the future
involved. In the past two to three will depend significantly on scale of
years, typical costs for home production and installation and on
chargers in the United States have the ratios of public slow and fast
been around USD 1 200 per unit, chargers to the numbers of vehicles.

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 1 9

Electric Vehicle Charging and Interactions
with Electricity Grids
Electric vehicles need to be liquid fuel as well). In addition, fast
recharged on a regular basis, and charging increases battery stress and
this can occur either at home or degradation.
at work, when shopping, or during
Figure 8 shows the current numbers
other types of stops when travelling.
of different types of chargers by
A general issue for EVs has been the
long duration needed for charging – country and region for major EV
typically up to eight hours for a full markets in 2015. Given about 1.2
charge when using Level 1 “slow” million EVs running in these countries,
chargers. Faster charging is desirable there are about the same number
though not needed in all situations of private outlets (not surprisingly),
(such as overnight), and considerable while there are just under 200 000
research is emerging that suggests public chargers, with over 80% of
that the need for public fast charging these slow chargers. The US has the
stations may be modest, given that highest number of private chargers,
daily driving is often within the with China having the most public
range of most EV models, and all chargers and nearly half of the fast
PHEV models (since these can run on public chargers world-wide.

Figure 8: Numbers of electric vehicle chargers by major market, 2015

Private Publicly available, slow Publicly available, fast
1.3 million outlets 162,000 outlets 28,000 outlets
4% 2% 7%
3% 12 %
32 % 4%
29 % 4%
6% 5% 44 %
7% 13 %
18 %
10 % 25 % 10 % 22 %
11 %

China Japan United States United Kingdom Germany

Norway France Netherlands Sweden Canada Others

Note: Private charges are estimated assuming that each CV is coupled with a private chargers.
Global EV outlook 2016 (IEA)

2 0 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
EVs may interact with the grid via home storage battery usage with no
charging and discharging. The first feedback to the grid, while controlled
mode is referred as grid-to-vehicle charging gathers signals from the grid
(G2V) where the vehicle is charged to optimise the charging speed and
from the grid, while V2G refers to time based on grid congestion. Few
when vehicles discharge power to
charging systems around the world
the grid. The V2G mode could also
currently use bi-directional charging,
be considered as a bidirectional
but various testing programmes are
charging, in which an EV can
charge from and discharge to the underway (Mwasilu al. 2014).
grid at regular intervals. There are REmap has set a target of 160 million
also other charging modes such EVs in operation by 2030, resulting in
as vehicle to building (V2B) and significant global EV energy storage
controlled charging. V2B refers to a capacity (IRENA, 2016a).

Electric vehicles and renewable energy deployment

Depending on the national For example, a study in Portugal
circumstances of power markets, modelled the integration between a
grids, fuel mix and other factors that high vehicle share of EVs and a large
can play a role for integration of VRE scale of deployed solar PVs on the
sources to the grid, electric vehicles grid by 2030 and 2050. It found EVs
are among the key technologies that to be a solar PV enabling technology,
can help to provide flexibility to the and a potentially promising solution
power system. This occurs by using to the surplus electricity generated
by solar PV (Nunes et al, 2013).
EV batteries to store excess electricity
Another possible value of batteries
and to provide ancillary services to
is for stationary storage at the end
the grid, such as frequency regulation,
of the life-time of the EV (Mwasilu
shaving peak demand and power
et al, 2014). China is expected to
support to enhance the operation,
have 12 000 charging stations by
and reserve capacity to secure the 2020. A study by the China National
grid. One of the main advantages of Renewable Energy Centre CNREC/
EVs are their high level of flexibility in ERI, (2015) indicated that the storage
charging times which can efficiently benefits of the increased use of EVs
support operation of the grid. A will help China attain higher shares
number of studies have emerged of variable renewable power (IRENA,
finding value in the linkage between 2016 b). Notably, storage might not
EVs and VRE. be urgently needed before an 80%

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 2 1

of renewables share (Weiss and According to IRENA’s REmap analysis,
Shulz, 2013). EVs deployment levels if a target of 160 million EVs worldwide
are growing, which results in more can be reached by 2030, this would
demand for renewable power. This provide around 8 000 GWh/year in
could make ambitious levels of as battery storage that could enhance
high as 80% for renewables in the installed power generation capacity.
power mix attainable, especially This is equivalent to approximately 1
for countries with a high renewable 200 GW of battery storage capacity.
energy targets. Along with the pumped hydro storage
IRENA’s electricity storage roadmap and second-hand batteries estimated
indicates that EVs can be used to under REmap by 2030, this adds up
enable a higher share of renewables to a total of 1 650 GW. This compares
in three ways: with approximately 3 700 GW of
variable renewable power capacity.
(1) The V2G scheme allows electric
vehicles to participate in grid ancillary Figure 9 shows the usage factor
services such as frequency regulation, (battery storage capacity of deployed
load shifting, demand response, or EVs in GWh/deployed VREs in GW)
energy management support in home; per country. For example, in Australia,
Denmark and the US, the usage factor
(2) EV batteries can receive a second
shows potential for deployed battery
life for stationary applications. For
storage capacity, which could help
example, China is already engaged in
scale up variable renewable power.
a 14 MW project to assess grid support
through the use of second-life lithium- EVs could be an enabler to achieve
ion batteries (IRENA, 2015); a higher share of VRE in the power
system. To achieve this, some or all
(3) EVs could be designed so that
of the following will probably be
batteries are replaced rather than
charged at changing stations. This
concept has been piloted in Israel and (i) Actively using the mobile
Denmark and is now being introduced battery storage system in the vehicle
to buses in China (IRENA, 2015). in V2G applications.

2 2 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
Figure 9: The usage factor of EV’s battery storage capacity
Figure 9: the usage factor tostorage
EV’s battery the VREs installed
capacity capacity
with respect to the VREs installed capacity












































Usage Factor Reference Case Usage Factor Remap 2030

(ii) Use of second-hand batteries (iv) Evolution in consumer

in a “second life” role as stationary behaviour of EV owners, for example,
battery storage systems; becoming comfortable with variable
charging rates and times.
(iii) Widespread deployment
of charging technologies and (v) Provision of other ancillary
infrastructure. services from EVs to the grid.

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 2 3

Figure 10: How electric vehicles could attract more renewable power
Figure 10: How electric vehicles could attract more renewable power

Use of mobile batteries

Use of second-hand
in vehicles
stationary batteries from EV

Renewable Electric Vehicles
Power (EV)


Provision of ancillary Deployment of charging technologies

services from EV to the and infrastructure for EVs

Evolution in consumer behavior

In Figure 10, a schematic diagram (i) impacts on distribution networks,

illustrates the interaction of the (ii) load duration curves involved,
various key factors. (iii) the role of DSM, and
(iv) the degradation of the battery.
To investigate the impact of EVs on
the grid and how EVs can be best Therefore, the way these parameters
integrated, two main aspects must be can positively enhance the
considered. First, driving and charging integration of EVs with the grid needs
behaviour, which can be collected to be analysed. A number of studies
by daily travel surveys to develop already have been undertaken,
charging load profiles. Second, the but ongoing research is needed as
types of charging used and charging charging patterns will likely evolve as
frequency to identify the proportion more people purchase EVs, vehicle
and typical daily patterns of slow and driving ranges increase with newer
fast charging demand. models, and more charging options
become available.
There is a strong interlinkage
between charging patterns and the One key type of EV impact is on
other parameters on the grid, such as distribution grids. As a result (shown

2 4 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
in figure 8), grid topology is a key area The second concept was V2G,
for research. Uncontrolled charging whereby grids charge vehicles,
of EVs could significantly increase allowing power to flow from the
the evening load peak. One study
vehicle back to the grid. The aim
that investigated a local grid with
was to control the charging of the
uncontrolled charging of EVs found
that Load Management Systems EV in a way that the load at the
(LMS) could play an important role transformer is always balanced. Both
in stabilising grid operations as concepts could yield a decrease in
the number of EVs rises (Probst et the transformer load by shifting the
al, 2011). In this study, there were charging of EVs to lower demand
two different concepts of LMS
periods (such as night time) or to PV
investigated to solve this problem
peak times in the early afternoon.
of uncontrolled charging. The first
concept was G2V, where grids charge Further, the use of V2G allows
vehicles by calculating the desired feeding energy back to the grid in
load profile for the transformer. evening hours at peak load times.
Figure 11: a diagram shows the concept of a load management system,
(adapted from Probst et al, 2011)
Figure 11: A diagram shows the concept of a load management system

10 kv/400v



Adapted from Probst et al., (2011)

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 2 5

The role of demand-side management
Given the rise in the supply of variable batteries in manufacturing influences
renewable power, the evolution of VRE integration The model indicates
smart grids is very important as it that the energy flexibility of
allows customers to control and manufacturing systems supported
make well-informed decisions on by embodied energy storage can
their consumption of electricity, as improve VRE integration, offering
well as minimise their bills. This kind an alternative to the EV battery.
of consumption control is called However, stationary batteries are
DSM (Davito et al, 2010). DSM can shown to be more effective than
help customers in optimising their EVs due to uninterrupted availability
consumption through an intelligent (Beier et al, 2016).
system, and can greatly support
Another element that strongly
customers in shifting their loads
impacts the grid is charging schemes.
during peak periods. For residential
Efficient charging schemes can
consumers, DSM systems inform
significantly boost the deployment of
them about when they can cheaply
EVs. Studies have shown that the G2V
consume electricity.
mode can provide ancillary services
An example now available from Honda like frequency regulation to the grid
is the Home Energy Mangement and also indicate that most benefits
System (HEMSx). This is a stationary of the V2G mode could be gained by
battery-storage system that monitors using G2V. However one concern is
and controls household electricity that repeated charging cycles from
consumption, including EV charging. V2G/G2V may have unfavourable
It can help consumers decide when effects on the battery. A study
to buy power and when to sell it back examined the lithium-ion battery
to the grid. The value of this system performance based on the V2G
is simply to calculate when to buy scheme, taking into consideration the
and to sell the power. Honda is trying driving scenarios, charging schemes,
to make the most efficient home and and peak shaving.
vehicles by actively coordinating
The results indicate that the V2G
energy production and consumption
scheme could reduce the battery
(Honda, 2016).
lifetime by almost 3 years due to
The integration of EV with the the extensive discharging cycles.
manufacturing industry could also However this may be mostly
improve the integration of renewable avoidable by applying smart
power. A recent study developed charging schemes which carefully
a model to assess how using EV manage charge cycling. (Guenther

2 6 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
et al, 2013). An analysis on using schemes and consumer behaviour,
different charging modes indicated the policy support could be a key role
that EV impacts on the system in enhancing the integration of the
peak load could be reduced if EVs EV in the grid. These aforementioned
will not have full battery capacity benefits of integration of EV into the
charged as soon as they connect gird could allow more penetration of
to the grid. Since there is a strong renewable power, which will result in
interlinkage between the charging decarbonisation of the power sector.

Smart charging
Slow charging is typically referred the world to build a fast-charging
to as overnight charging which network.
typically takes between six and eight
The need to understand how to best
hours. Fast charging can be defined
as any scheme that is faster than charge, aggregate and control EV
slow charging. Fast charging is more load on the grid is a fundamental
convenient, in particular for vehicles and on-going issue. EV smart
that require frequent trips, such as charging can be used to support
taxis. In a single ten-minute charge the distribution grid management,
cycle, a fast charger can provide and efficiently improve the operation
enough energy to drive 300 miles of EVs.
(the range achieved by Tesla). Fast
The increased use of different
charge scheme can help enabling
electro-mobility mainly depends on
rapid growth of the EV market. An
experimental study on Nissan leafthe charging network infrastructure,
battery, in Nebbenes (around 60 whereas they act as an energy
buffer for the grid. Some studies
km from Oslo) with a capability of
demonstrate the attained great
charging 28 EVs simultaneously. With
all of recent models with drivingbenefits of using V2G scheme. They
ranges up to 480 km, the more indicated that adoption of V2G
battery capacity is, the longer time
requires an aggregator that controls
takes to recharge. Therefore, Porsche
the information exchange between
is taking the lead on building such a
the EV and the grid to facilitate
fast-charger for the whole VW Group
the interaction. The EVs can be
to support the new versions of EVs
aggregated and controlled under
with high batteries capacities. the virtual power plant (VPP). This
Porsche also in touch with other aggregator changes operation and
car makers and suppliers around controlling ways of the grid.

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 2 7

The VPP approach aims to effectively of understanding (MOU) to establish
regulate and control the interaction Europe’s biggest fast-charging
between the EV with the grid. For network. This MOU has specific
example, sMobilitTy (Smart Mobility targets for deployment: about 400
Thüringen) is a project developed to fast charging stations for electric
investigate the role of smart charging vehicles by 2017, and several thousand
technology among electro-mobility by 2020. The MOU is separate from
technologies. This smart-charging government plans for more 400 fast-
technology enables charging of charging stations, which would bring
batteries when surplus electricity to total to 800. This fast-charging
is available at low prices, providing network will be based on Combined
balancing capacity. The EV’s batteries Charging System (CCS) technology,
can form a large virtual storage unit. which charges DC up to 350 kW in
Through the application of a smart- comparison with Tesla’s deployed
charging tool, EVs will be able to feed superchargers which delivers about
all stored electricity back into the grid DC 120 kW.
whenever electricity demand is high,
In China, Beijing had about 8 000
via a continuous connection with the
public and private charging stations
grid infrastructure.
as of 2016. Beijing plans to install 435
Several projects are currently 000 more charging stations between
considering how to deploy EV 2016 and 2020. However, more than a
smart charging, such as. PlangridEV million EVs will be sold over the same
and Green-eMotion, but there is period. The Beijing Development and
not yet a real commercial project Reform Commission has set out to
implemented. Green-eMotion calls for bring all EVs and charging stations
open access to all public charging in one platform. This platform will
spots, which requires ICT systems to facilitate the charging process for
enhance interactivity between the consumers, in which they connect
EV drivers and charging locations. and pay for electricity at charging
Establishment of a framework will stations. Such platforms could reduce
govern the process of installation of risk of peak demand on the electricity
charging infrastructure which requires grid (Chun, 2016).
ICT systems. ICT counts as a main
Strong coupling between the
enabler of connecting all of e-mobility
electric power and transport sectors
technologies, such as EVs, e-buses,
is a target for many countries.
e-bikes and e-scooters.
Some countries have already taken
German carmakers – BMW Group, initiatives to electrify their transport
Daimler AG, Volkswagen Group and sector. For example, the Swiss
Ford – have signed a memorandum Federal Government has assessed

2 8 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
the interplay between the electricity resulting electricity demand could be
and transport sectors, considering met with variable renewable power as
both electricity supply and EV fleet nuclear power plants are phased out.
scenarios. Their modelling work Such a strategy could play a major
estimates that in a scenario where part in decarbonisation of both the
the EV fleet reaches between 30% Swiss electricity and transport sectors
and 75% by 2050, the significant (Ramachandran Kannan, 2016).

Considering the Future:

Electric Vehicle Market Projections
According to IRENA’s global ownership rates at different income
renewable energy roadmap (REmap levels around the developing world.
2016a), worldwide there is a potential The IEA assumes relatively low rates.
to increase the total number of New mobility systems, such as car-
electric vehicles to 160 million. and ride-sharing, could greatly reduce
This is a very challenging target, but if the number of vehicles needed to
achieved would provide an important move passengers.
step toward raising the renewable-
Figure 12 shows one possible manner
energy share of the transport sector.
in which the 50 million sales target
As a target, this total is split into 1
for EVs could be reached: 30 million
58 million passenger or LDVs,
in “major markets” (OECD countries
1.4 million buses and 900 000
plus China), and 20 million in the rest
commercial vehicles.
of the world. In this scenario, EV sales
With constant sales growth (a in major markets would need to grow
geometric increase), from the 500 by over 30% per year for the next
000 units sold in 2015, sales of 15 years; developing countries would
electric vehicles would need to rise not see significant take-up of EVs
to about 50 million units in 2030 for perhaps five to ten more years
to hit 160 million around the world. (providing more time for technology
This would represent nearly 40% of cost reduction as well as electricity
the IEA’s projected total LDV sales grid improvements and reductions in
of 138 million in that year (IEA, carbon intensities), but then show
2015). Growth in LDV sales could growth of over 60% per year through
vary considerably, depending on the 2030 to “catch up”.

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 2 9

Figure 12: Projections of EV sales required to meet REmap estimates,
Figure 12:shown with the global
Projections of EVpassenger car salesto
sales required by meet
estimates, shown
with the global passenger car sales by market, 2015-2030









2015 2020 2025 2030

Major markets EV RoW EV

Major markets non - EV RoW non EV

Source: Base LDV sales projections from IEA ETP 2015, with EV projections developed for this technology brief.

RoW= rest of world.Base LDV sales projections from IEA ETP 2015, with EV projections
developed for this technology brief.
RoW= Rest of World.

In terms of total EV sales in different hit 5 million by 2023, 10 million by

years, the scenario has global sales 2025, and over 40 million by 2030.

3 0 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
Figure 13: Global annual EV sales to 2030 based on REmap
Figure 13: Global annual EV sales to 2030 based on REmap

2015 2020 2025 2030

Major Markets Other Markets

As Figure 13 shows, the steep growth overall market share rapidly, in place
rates needed suggest that a “tipping of ICE vehicles. Given the trajectory
point” may need to occur somewhere and the 40% market share position in
between 2020 and 2025 – that is, the 2030, EVs would become dominant
point at which EVs become truly mass by 2040, accounting for well over half
market and start to increase their of LDV sales around the world.

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 3 1

Figure 14 shows the resulting total “leader” markets but then similar
stock of electric vehicles across major growth across all countries, as shown
world countries and regions, based in the figures above.
on higher growth early in the current

Figure 14: Total stock of electric vehicles by region

Vehicle Stock (millions)

2015 2020 2025 2030

Major Markets Other Markets

Projections of batteries and electricity demand

As discussed above, storage capacity to reduce grid-integration costs and
from electric vehicles can be used eliminate the need for most costly
for V2G and G2V applications. flexibility measures.
Batteries can also be used once the
Figure 15 shows the estimated
car reaches end of its life. Battery
packs typically offer a lifetime of battery storage in kWh of capacity
between eight and ten years. Even from the stock of electric vehicles,
after the lifetime is exceeded they consistent with the IRENA future EV
offer storage potential, but with scenario. We assume that the average
lower capacity that can be as high as battery storage in EVs is 30 kWh in
80% in some cases. Electricity stored 2015, rising to 60 by 2030, and is
in such stationary systems provides 10 kWh in PHEVs in 2015, rising to
flexibility, as it can be released when 30 kWh by 2030. Given the vehicle
the user needs it, such as when sales projections, this results in an
the electricity supply from VRE is estimated 8 000 GWh of batteries in
unexpectedly low. This can help also operation in LDVs around the world.

3 2 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
Figure 15: Total
Figure 15: Total battery
electric vehicles
vehicles byby region

9 000
8 000
7 000
GWh capacity

6 000
5 000
4 000
3 000
2 000
1 000
2015 2020 2025 2030

Major Markets Other Markets

A significant amount of batteries to achieve a 1% improvement in stock-

also could be in service from other average on-road efficiency per year
modes such as two-wheelers, buses through 2030.
and trucks. These vehicles individually
have very different battery capacities, • It is assumed that on average,
and buses and trucks are used much BEVs travel 12 000 km per year
more intensively than privately-owned on electricity, while plug-in hybrid
vehicles, complicating that analysis. electric vehicles travel an average
Those modes are not included in the of 7 000 km (plus considerable
estimates here. additional driving on liquid fuels).
By 2030, total distance driven rises
The total battery capacity on electric
for both types, to 15 000 km and
vehicles by region links to the stock
and travel of EVs, with the following 12 000 km respectively.
assumptions: The results in terms the annual demand
• It is assumed that the end-use, on- for electricity by region for BEVs and
road efficiency of BEVs starts at PHEVs are shown in Figure 16. Total
0.21 kWh/km, with PHEVs (when demand for electricity reaches about
operating on electricity) at 0.27 kWh/ 450 TWh per year, representing about
km; each improves by enough (both 1.5% of IRENA’s projected 2030 global
new vehicles and in-use performance) electricity generation.

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 3 3

Figure 16: Total electricity demand by electric and plug-in
Figure 16: Total electricity demand by electric
hybrid electricand plug-in
vehicles byhybrid
regionelectric vehicles by region


2015 2020 2025 2030

Major Markets Other Markets

EVs and VRE: Combining for low environmental impact

EVs offer a number of important such as trams, buses, etc (Automotive
environmental benefits. In urban News Europe, 2016).
areas, where most transport activity
While EVs do not emit any emissions
takes place, the impact of transport
during driving, the electricity they
on air pollution is significant. EVs do
consume can be produced from
not emit any air pollutants. Cities that
fossil fuels that emit air pollutants
have severe air-quality problems can
or CO2. Therefore, emissions must be
embrace EVs in their stock (for both
considered on a well-to-wheel basis
private vehicles and public transport)
in comparing their CO2 emissions to
and substitute ICEs. Recently, a
conventional vehicles. Well-to-wheel
number of European countries and
emissions depend on the efficiency of
cities have announced intended bans
the EV and the fuel mix of electricity
on ICEs or some types of ICEs (such
generation, which differs greatly
as diesels) (Pedestrian Observations,
across countries.
2016). In order to provide the same
transport service, cities are planning Figure 17 compares the CO2 intensity
to increasingly rely on EVs or shift of BEVs for “modest efficiency”
to other types of electric transport and “high efficiency” cases, across

3 4 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
different CO2 intensity levels, g CO2/km (ICCT 2016). Electricity must
with the CO2 emissions of various therefore be deeply decarbonised for
internal combustion engine vehicles. average-efficiency BEVs to have a
As shown, a BEV of even modest significant advantage. Of course, this
efficiency can provide reductions decarbonisation is also necessary for
compared to an efficient LDV as long BEVs to eventually provide a near-
as the electricity is produced with zero CO2 performance, which is a long
CO2 emissions below 600 g/kWh. term goal.
However, to compare to today’s best
Notably, Figure 17 uses tested
vehicles (such as small European or
efficiencies, which can be up to 50%
Japanese hybrids that can achieve
better than actual in-use performance.
below 100 g CO2/km), the BEV must
This is true for EVs as well as for
be driven on electricity with a CO2 ICE vehicles, and more research is
emission factor below 400 g/kWh for needed to better understand how a
moderate efficiency. wide range of vehicles performs in
A very efficient (and likely quite small) the real world. Finally, plug-in hybrid
BEV can beat today’s best ICEs as long vehicles are not easy to represent in
as the electricity intensity is under a figure like this one since they use
600 g CO2/kWh. By 2030, ICE vehicle both electricity and liquid fuel. A well
emissions will have to fall below designed PHEV should be able to hit
80 g CO2/km, at least in Europe, close to both the hybrid vehicle CO2
where the European Commission is and efficient-BEV CO2 levels shown in
considering a 2025 standard of 68-78 the figure.

Figure 17: Relation between power plant CO2 emissions and vehicle efficiency

BEV, modest
200 efficiency
Vehicle C02 emissions/km

180 Efficient ICE

160 LDV, 2014

120 Best ICE,

100 2016

80 BEV, more
efficient Best ICE,
60 2030

8 00 6 00 4 00 2 00 0

Power plant C02 emissions, g/kWh

BEV modest (0.25 kW h/km) BEV efficient (0.15 KWh/km)

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 3 5

Figure 18 shows the same relationship in Colombia or Denmark that has a
from the perspective of entire renewable energy share of about
countries according to IRENA’s 80% is in the range of 30 g CO2/
REmap findings (IRENA, 2016a). By passenger-km. By comparison, in
2030, countries would have a much countries where coal dominates the
higher share of renewable energy mix, such as Kazakhstan or Poland,
in their total power generation mix, the emissions are on the order of
displayed by the x-axis of the figure. 100 g CO2/passenger-km, close to
With higher shares of renewables the level of an efficient petroleum
in the power generation mix, CO2 vehicle. A similar relationship exists
emissions per kWh of electricity when power-plant emissions of air
generated decreases, as does the pollutants are considered. Hence,
well-to-wheel emissions of EVs. increased generation from renewable
For example, the g CO2/passenger- power is critical to improving the
km emissions of an electric vehicle environmental benefits of EVs.

Figure 18:
Figure 18:Relation between
Relation renewable
between energy shareenergy
renewable in total power
in totaland the electric
power vehicle CO2
emissions, IRENA projection for 2030
and the electric vehicle CO2 emissions, IRENA projection for 2030
Reference petroleum vehicle:
Battery electric vehicle CO2 emissions (gCO2/passenger-km)

117 g CO2/passenger-km India

South Africa

120 Kuwait Australia

Indonesia China
Dominican Republic
100 Saudi Arabia Kazakhstan
Russian Fed.

80 Iran - Japan Germany

Power sector only Malaysia
UAE Belgium Morocco
Cyprus Egypt
Mexico Nigeria
60 Ukraine Turkey

Rep. of Korea
20 United Kingdom Canada
Kenya Brazil Uruguay
0 Sweden
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

Renewable share in total power generation (%)

Source: IRENA, 2016a

3 6 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
The need to reduce air pollution in Assuming all these EVs were to
cities will remain a major driver for consume 100% renewable electricity,
renewables in the sector. Transport’s then 480 TWh per year of additional
share of all energy used is 30% globally, renewable power would be required
but this differs between countries and in 2030 (approximately 1.5% of the
regions, depending on such factors total global electricity generation).
as population density, income level The share of electricity in transport’s
and weather. In many middle-income total energy demand would increase
and fast-growing cities the transport from 1% to 4% from 2013 to 2030.
sector makes up 50% or more of the EVs can also reduce noise pollution in
energy demand for the city, with road cities. In many cities, noise pollution
transport the largest component. from transport systems can surpass
Therefore, the largest contributor to 55 decibels (dB) in certain areas,
local air pollution in many cities is which, according to the World Health
the transport sector. Benefits of EVs Organization, can pose health risks.
include less local air pollution and, EVs can be much quieter than ICE
depending on the power generation automobiles, with many operating at
mix, lower CO2 emissions. just 21 dB.

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 3 7

Material requirements
EVs have some materials higher share as EV sales drive demand
requirements beyond those needed for lithium (IRENA, 2016b).
by conventional internal combustion
As considered elsewhere in this brief,
engine vehicles. These include rare- EVs have typical battery capacities, in
earth metals for motor magnets and recent models around 30 kWh. This
lithium for lithium-ion batteries. The is rising and is expected to reach
supply of such materials, and risks 60 kWh average by 2030. Depending
associated with resource availability, on the type, these batteries contain
are an important question. This is 2-13 kilogrammes (kg) of pure lithium.
particularly true in a scenario where Based on the growth in EV according
sales and stocks of EVs rise rapidly to REmap (all types, including two-
over just a few years, which would , three- and four-wheelers), total
happen in the REmap scenario of 160 battery capacity in use will grow by an
million EVs by 2030. Here we briefly average of 500 GWh per year between
consider the amount of lithium that now and 2030 (though starting well
would be needed in this scenario. below this and increasing over time
to well above this by 2030). That
Lithium is produced from brine lake
average is equivalent to 75 kilotonnes
deposits and pegmatites, a type
(kt) per year of pure lithium demand
of crystalline rock. Brines account to 200 kt, or 368 kt to 1 100 kt per year
for about 60% of the total global of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE)
production. Lithium demand has production. This is more than three
grown exponentially in the past times the total production of lithium
years with the introduction of new today for all applications, indicating
technologies, not only in the energy a possible resource constraint given
sector, but also in communications demand for lithium for other uses will
and other sectors. Batteries account also grow. This appears particularly
for about 20% of the total lithium challenging after 2020 or 2025, as
demand today. This segment is the volume of cars sold reaches many
expected to make up an increasingly millions per year (IRENA, 2016b).

3 8 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
Achieving future EV targets: Technology and policy aspects
Apart from on-going improvements the first 25 000 EVs sold and to raise
in technology, hand in hand with the tax rate on gasoline to 30% by
government actions and initiatives 2030 to encourage people to buy EVs.
on deployments of electric vehicles, Also, since EV technology will likely
in order to achieve significant continue to evolve rapidly, along with
market shares, EVs will need to be infrastructure capacity and consumer
competitive with conventional ICE awareness, a given level of incentive
vehicles in multiple markets and should yield increasing “returns” in
with a wide range of consumers market share for EVs, as has been the
within those markets (Fulton et al, case in Norway.
2016). In every “beachhead” market Another approach is to require
for EVs around the world, policy automakers to make some percentage
makers have instituted a suite of of their sales be zero-emission, as
incentives to encourage buyers is done in California (which will
to try this new technology. The require an increasing share from 2017
main goals are to provide needed until 2025, reaching 15% of sales in
recharging infrastructure, reduce that year). More recently China has
purchase costs of the vehicles and indicated plans to apply a credit point
provide enough other advantages to system where, as of 2018, car makers
initiate a sustained transition and get will need to achieve EV sales credits
beyond a tiny fraction of sales within equivalent to 8% of their LDVs sold in
the LDV market. China (Der Spiegel, 2016). This would
In most countries these incentives represent a much steeper ramp-up
have “sunset” provisions. However, than under the California programme.
there is increasing recognition that Policy “packages” typically
some sort of incentive may be needed include national, regional and local
for many years, perhaps until first incentives. National incentives
costs equal those of conventional generally include subsidies such as
vehicles without subsidies. Incentives tax credits to reduce purchase costs.
can also include taxes on ICE vehicles, Regional (as in state, provincial)
as is done in many countries. High ICE incentives have also included tax
taxes are found in Norway, with the and registration reductions, and
highest EV market share in the world. in some cases reductions at the
Finland aims to catch up, with targets point of sale. Regional incentives
for 250 000 EVs and only 50 000 sometimes also include road-system
ICE cars in the country by 2030. To privileges, such as exclusive access
achieve this goal, they aim to provide to special lanes on highways, or
a subsidy of EUR 4 000 for each of reduced tolls for highways or ferries.

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 3 9

Local (metropolitan) provisions may in the U.S. The relative importance of
also include such advantages for different elements of policy among
EVs, and also often include special these various cities and countries is
or discounted parking and charging, difficult to know. In Norway, national
or special access to congested tax breaks can exceed USD 30,000
urban zones and to roadways such as (more than anywhere else) for some
bus lanes. expensive EV models, helping to offset
the price difference compared to an
A full list of incentive policies and equivalent ICE vehicle. Significantly,
their variability is too numerous to the auction system for cars in
cover here, but Table 2 provides a Shanghai provides an exemption for
comparison of three successful EVs that can be worth more than USD
cities (also including the regional 10 000 per car. Subsidies in the US
and national policies affecting EVs (and in particular in California where
in those cities). These are Shanghai, San Jose is), generally don’t exceed
China; Oslo, Norway; and San Jose USD 7 500 for EVs.

4 0 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
Table 2: Comparison of electric vehicle policy incentives in three cities
Table 2: Comparison of electric vehicle policy incentives in three cities

China –Shanghai Norway -Oslo USA-San Jose

National 2015 EV 209 000 (1%) 50 000 (30%) 115 000 (0.7%)
Sales (share of
total LDV sales)

Leading region 44 000 (16%) 12 140 (4%) 15 000 (10%)

2015 EV sales

Leading region 13 400 1 820 1 200

public charging

Federal financial USD 3 500 – 8 500 Exemption of VAT (25% - USD 2 500 -7 500
incentive value up to USD 25 000
on USD 100 000 price
Local financial USD 1 500 - 4 500 USD 1 500 (PHEV)/
incentives 2 500 (BEV) California
EV rebate

Sales Tax Exemption of sales tax (10 %)

Registration tax Free registration (avoidance Exemption USD 3 500-
of ICE plate auction price 7 000; lower annual fee
USD 11 000-13 000)

Roads BEVs exempted from inner Bus lane access, free High-occupant lane
city road restrictions on toll roads (nationally access
vehicle registered outside worth USD 600- 1
Shanghai 200), reduced ferry

Parking Free parking in Free parking in

municipal garages metered parking; free
parking at many hotels

Charging Free charging at public Free charging at public Highest number of

charging stations, Mobile charging stations workplace charging
phone App to search points in US
charging stations

Sources: Advisory Work on Global Benchmark Study on Policies Promoting Electro-Mobility –

Europe Uwe Tietge, Alex Campestrini, Peter Mock ICCT (Draft Version January 2016; Analysis on
China’s New Energy Automobile Policies and Incentive Toolkits, China EV 100 , November 2015;
Pathways to Electromobility – perspectives based on Norwegian experiences Erik Figenbaum,
Marika Kolbenstvedt TOI Report Oslo May 2015.

Ele c tr i c Vehicles | Technology B rief 4 1

Beyond the high levels of purchase • Countries aiming for the systematic
incentives apparent in these cities and transformation of transport-related
countries, some of the key takeaways energy use need policies to promote
from the experiences of successful EVs. This involves gaining EV
cities and countries include the experience, initiating domestic EV
following: demonstrations, and understanding
• Markets with comparatively high how increasing numbers of EVs will
consumer spending power (like affect the transport and electricity
Norway, or states in the US like sectors.
California) can start by pushing to • Low-carbon electricity generation
accelerate uptake, thereby increasing has to be scaled up at the same rate
EV production and bringing costs as EVs.
down so that other countries with
lower income levels can afford • Public charging facilities are
such vehicles. And any country can important, but fast charging need
“afford” to tax higher CO2 vehicles not be over-emphasised in the early
to help pay for incentives for low stages. The vast majority of private
CO2 models. and public charging needs can be
adequately fulfilled without fast

Policy packages can incentivise
charging. However, for households
electric driving, not just electric
without private charging available,
buying. In particular, incentives could
public charging becomes much
encourage the driving of PHEVs in
more important, and the needs of
electric mode as much as possible.
While this would be aided by high such households are still poorly
petroleum fuel prices, it could also understood.
be incentivised via charging a fee Overall, a combination of continued
per kilometre, if electric kilometres technological improvement, strong
can be tracked separately from (and policy incentives, adequate charging
changed a lower fee than) ICE- infrastructure and much higher levels
driven kilometres. of public awareness and experience

Combinations of pricing with EVs are all needed. All these
measures and regulations, with factors would be essential to reach
direct government support for the EV stock target of 160 million
infrastructure development, appear in 2030, as set by IRENA’s REmap
to work well. analysis in 2016.

4 2 E l e c t ri c Ve h i cle s | Technolog y Br ie f
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