The global push to achieve carbon neutrality has led to increased attention on electric vehicles. But while EV sales are rapidly growing in China and Europe, they remain at less than one percent of new car sales in Japan.
Data compiled by automobile industry research firm MarkLines show that in China, about 1.11 million electric vehicles were sold in 2020, accounting for 4.4 percent of all new vehicle sales.
In Europe, EV sales accounted for 4.5 percent of the total, at 712,500 units. The United States saw 260,200 EV sales, or 1.7 percent of new sales.
Meanwhile, in Japan, only 12,900 electric vehicles were sold, accounting for 0.3 percent of new sales.
Last year, overall car sales fell in many parts of the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, sales of electric vehicles increased 14 percent from a year earlier in China, and roughly doubled in Europe. But they fell by around 36 percent in Japan.
The surging EV sales in China and Europe are a result of government efforts aimed at taking leadership in the EV market. This includes offering consumers subsidies to buy EVs and measures to help carmakers develop the vehicles.
Japan offers similar subsidies and support. But EV sales remain sluggish due to a wide range of gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles on the market and a lack of charging stations.
Also, in Japan, thermal power accounts for more than 70 percent of all sources used to generate electricity. This means making electricity for charging EVs will lead to more carbon dioxide emissions.