The global electric vehicle (EV) market is experiencing robust growth, with sales projected to rise by more than a fifth to reach 17 million in 2024, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Despite the positive outlook, the market remains heavily concentrated in China, which accounts for 60% of global EV sales, while Europe and the United States represent 25% and 10%, respectively.

"The continued momentum behind electric cars is clear in our data, although it is stronger in some markets than others," said IEA executive director Fatih Birol. "Rather than tapering off, the global EV revolution appears to be gearing up for a new phase of growth."

The IEA's bullish long-term outlook for EVs is based on current government policies and suggests that half of all cars sold globally will be electric by 2035, provided charging infrastructure keeps pace. This projection comes amidst financial pressure on automakers, with profit margins squeezed by price wars and slowing demand.

In China, more than 60% of EVs sold last year were less expensive than conventional cars, while in Europe and the United States, the purchase price for new cars with internal combustion engines remains lower on average. The IEA emphasizes that the pace of the transition to EVs will hinge on affordability, with intensifying market competition and improving battery technologies expected to reduce EV prices in the coming years.

The shift towards EVs is set to have major ramifications for both the auto industry and the energy sector. Under current government policies, the number of public EV charging points worldwide is expected to reach 15 million by the end of the decade, a nearly fourfold increase from last year. However, the IEA warns that policy support and careful planning are essential to ensure that greater demand for electricity from charging does not overstretch electricity grids.

The IEA's report also highlights the role of Chinese automakers in the global EV market, with their exports accounting for more than half of all electric car sales in 2023. Growing electric car exports from China could add to downward pressure on purchase prices, further fueling the adoption of EVs worldwide.

Despite the overall growth in EV sales, the market still faces challenges in achieving faster mass-market adoption. EVs have yet to reach upfront cost parity with fossil fuel-powered models, which remains a check on growth. In Europe and the United States, EVs are 10% to 50% more expensive than their internal combustion equivalents, depending on the country and car segment.

The IEA's report paints a mixed picture of the global EV market at a time when even faster growth is needed to meet Paris Agreement goals. While the continued momentum behind electric cars is evident, the market remains heavily concentrated in a few regions, with China leading the way and the United States lagging behind.

As governments and automakers work to address the challenges of affordability and charging infrastructure, the global EV revolution appears to be entering a new phase of growth. The IEA's projections suggest that EVs will play an increasingly important role in displacing oil and fighting global warming, but the pace of the transition will depend on a range of factors, including policy support, market competition, and technological advancements.