Tesla Mission Accelerating: Over one million all-inclusive electric vehicles now on roads worldwide

The mission of Tesla Motors [NASDAQ: TSLA] is: "to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport." Data reported from the International Energy Agency (IEA) indicates that sustainable transport, in the form of electric vehicles, is showing accelerated growth worldwide. According to Carbon Brief*, the number of electric cars on the road globally passed the one million threshold for the first time in 2015. To be precise: in 2015, sales of electric cars around the world amounted to 477,000, taking the total volume up to 1.15m. Sales grew by 70% over 2014 levels. This is the conclusion of the IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives 2016 Report, the latest edition of their annual progress review of the technologies that will determine the rate of global emissions.

Above: IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives 2016 Report* (EV Images: Wikipedia)

Of special note, the IEA report deemed that only one of the technologies it tracks had made the necessary progress to limit global temperature rise to below 2°C. Which one? Only electric vehicles have made the jump towards actually being on track to meet the 2°C goal modeled by the IEA (see chart below). These numbers are likely to make Tesla CEO Elon Musk encouraged - and somewhat vindicated - by the accelerated growth trend of electric vehicles worldwide. Needless to say, this should also be taken as a positive sign for Tesla Motors. 

Above: Note that "Electric Vehicles" is the only technology represented in green (Source: Carbon Brief* via IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives 2016 Report)

In an interview with Carbon Brief*, the IEA’s chief economist Laszlo Varro said: "electric car technology is also gathering momentum. Electric cars increasingly capture the consumer’s imagination.” The US, China, Netherlands and Norway accounted for 70% of all the electric cars sold worldwide. In 2015, China became the world’s largest electric car market. But growth was also occurring outside these countries. The number of countries with a market share of electric cars greater than 1% grew from three in 2014 to six in 2015.

Above: PHEV stands for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and BEV stands for battery electric vehicles. (Source: Carbon Brief* via IEA Energy Technology Perspectives 2016 Report)

This growth in electric cars has been helped by a simultaneous boom in public charging infrastructure, with the installation of fast DC chargers growing by 350% in China alone in 2015. This expanding network, along with improvements in driving range, are helping to narrow the gap between electric and conventional cars, and may foster broader adoption, the IEA says. 

Above: Tesla Model S and Model X both charging at a Tesla Supercharger station (Instagram: @printsrich)

If you couple this data with the rollout of Tesla's own proprietary fast-charging network, it's proof-positive that electric vehicles (and Tesla) should continue rapid growth. According to Electrek, "Tesla CEO Elon Musk made an important announcement regarding the automaker’s two networks of charging stations. He said that Tesla will double the number of Superchargers to 7,000 units and quadruple the number of Destination chargers to 15,000 units within the next 2 years."

Above: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk using a Tesla Supercharger (Source: Business Green)

And, according to Tech Insider, after Tesla open sourced all of its patents, Musk explained, "Most of the good that Tesla will accomplish is by cutting a path through the jungle to show what can be done with electric cars... the big impact Tesla will have is that we induce other car companies to accelerate their plans for electric vehicles." Musk has remained steadfast about his mission for Tesla, he emphasizes: "The reason we are doing Tesla is to try to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport, to have there be more electric cars on the road." That said, I'm sure the IEA's big news will make him smile.


*Source: Carbon Brief via IEA's Energy Technology Perspectives 2016 Report