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New charging plugs grew by 60% last year as experts forecast massive EV growth

Even with the coronavirus pandemic, electric cars should still expand their share with more of them on the road.

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As automakers and other firms look to big growth in the electric car market, the number of places to charge EVs grew by a whopping 60%.

In new outlook data the International Energy Agency released Monday, the group said the charging point growth comes as automakers prepare for more EVs on the road in the years to come. Charging availability is often a sticking point -- especially in the US -- when it comes to swapping buyers out of cars with an internal-combustion engine. It's where we coined the phrase "range anxiety."

Now, around the world, there are 862,118 charging plugs. The vast majority of the plugs exist in China, however, where the state government has long pushed "new-energy" vehicles and attached attractive subsidies and rebates for buyers. The US placed third for the most charging points, behind a combined category of "other" countries.

As the number of EV chargers grows, the IEA forecast battery-powered cars will still have a decent year despite the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, the EV segment posted its highest-ever share of new cars sold, with 2.6% of all cars sold globally packing a battery and electric motors. This year, it should climb slightly to 3%, with about 2.1 million EVs sold. In total, 1% of all cars on the road will be electric, IEA data shows.

The figure remains a drop in the bucket compared to global new car sales, however. Last year, drivers purchased approximately 75 million vehicles. However, as government policies shift, we'll see a rapid increase in EVs on the road. The IEA says under its "Sustainable Development Scenario" the global stock of EVs on the road will increase to 36% with about 245 million battery-powered cars on the road come 2030. Don't confuse the figure with EVs sold by the same point in time. The global stock refers to the number of EVs on the road compared to cars powered by an engine.

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