Number of electric cars worldwide climbs to 1.3 million; Tesla Model S takes top spot among new EV registrations

According to a research report released this past week from German-based ZSW*, the number of electric cars around the globe nearly doubled to around 1.3 million. ZSW researchers recorded around 550,000 new registrations in 2015, up 68% from last year when 330,000 new electric vehicles were sold. The Tesla Model S took the top spot among new registrations in 2015 with 42,730 vehicles sold.

The Tesla Model S edged out a pair of Japanese models, the Mitsubishi Outlander (41,080) and the Nissan Leaf (40,270) in the rankings. It was also the first time a Chinese manufacturer earned a spot among the market leaders with 31,900 BYD Qin sold. See below for cumulative "stock" of plug-in electric vehicle car models.

China saw the steepest rise with more than 200,000 new [plug-in electric] vehicles last year, [while] the USA has the world's biggest fleet overall with more than 400,000 electric vehicles on the road. Norway defended its international lead in terms of electric vehicles' percentage share of all cars nationwide: around 3% of some 2.64 million cars in this Scandinavian country run on electricity. What's more, Norway nearly doubled the size of its fleet to about 79,000 cars. Every fifth new registration last year was an electric vehicle.

The report notes that for many years now, around 95% of traffic on the road has been based on fossil fuels, which comes with all the associated problems for the environment and climate. Electric mobility is aimed to help mitigate these problems. "The number of electric vehicles manufactured in the past year, 550,000, clearly indicates that industrialization is picking up momentum," says Prof. Werner Tillmetz, a member of ZSW's board of directors and head of the Electrochemical Energy Technologies division. "With the continued high growth rates, electric mobility-centered value creation is rapidly gaining in importance."

ZSW researchers tallied cars with battery-powered electric drives, range extenders and plug-in hybrids. They did not count motorcycles, trucks, buses or full and mild hybrid vehicles. The evaluation is based partly on data sourced from the German Federal Motor Transport Authority as well as from government agencies and NGOs abroad.


*Source: ZSW / Photos: Wikipedia; The ZSW (Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg) is one of the leading institutes for applied research in the areas of photovoltaics, renewable fuels, battery technology, fuel cells and energy system analysis. There are currently around 230 scientists, engineers and technicians employed at ZSW’s three locations in Stuttgart, Ulm and Widderstall. In addition, there are 70 research and student assistants.