The US lags behind China and Europe when it comes to production and uptake of electric vehicles domestically, according to a new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation — and that gap widened from 2017 to 2020. Since 2010, the world’s stock of electric passenger vehicles edged past a cumulative 10 million in 2020, according to the study. At the end of 2017, automakers based in the US had churned out 20% of the global stock of electric vehicles. By 2020, US automakers represented just 18% of the cumulative amount of electric vehicles produced since 2010, while share of production rose in China and Europe.
From 2010 to 2020, researchers found, China was the largest electric vehicle producer geographically and accounted for about 44% of electric vehicle manufactured with about 4.6 million units in both production and sales during the decade. Europe produced 25% of global electric vehicles from 2010 to 2020, accounting for the manufacturing of 2.6 million electric vehicles and sales of 3.2 million (making the region a net importer).
Looking at last year alone, US-based automakers produced at least 450,000 electric vehicles with Tesla accounting for about 85% of that output for the year. Annual electric vehicle exports from plants in the US in 2020 exceeded 215,000, the most of any single nation. Stronger demand overseas than in the states makes it a necessity for electric vehicle makers like Tesla to ship, and set up shop, beyond the US. Companies tend to sell their electric vehicles relatively near the plants where they are assembled.