Countries that are making good progress on clean transportation are working to build confidence that markets for technologies such as electric vehicles (EVs) will continue to grow. Many countries are providing greater clarity to businesses on their intent to accelerate market penetration of cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Overall, electric vehicles still represent only a small portion of total vehicle sales, but their sales have been growing fast since 2011 in places where policies are emerging, such as China, Europe, and the United States.


“Now more than ever, it is the responsibility of business to work in partnerships with governments to create solutions that contribute to developing a more sustainable and inclusive world. A.P. Moller-Maersk’s commitment to energy efficiency works in tandem with bold policy targets to take on the challenge of creating a sustainable world.

John Konerup Bang, Head, Sustainability Strategy & Shared Value, Maersk


Source: IEA Global EV Outlook 2018.

Governments at the national and subnational level are setting ambitious targets in major markets, including the United States, Europe, and China. These targets can help accelerate markets for electric vehicles, bringing benefits such as fuel efficiency, energy security, reduced air pollution, and GHG reductions.

For example:

  • China has set a goal to sell 4.6 million passenger and light-duty electric vehicles by 2020.

  • Several countries in Europe have set targets to sell 100 percent electric passenger and light-duty vehicles by 2030.

  • Eight U.S. states have targets that amount to reaching 3.3 million electric vehicles by 2025.

In parallel with growing market demand and government incentives, 20 major automakers (including Toyota, General Motors, Ford, Volvo, and others) have announced public targets to boost production and sales of electric vehicles.

Meanwhile other companies such as Walmart and Unilever are setting bold fleet efficiency and procurement goals, either individually or as part of coalitions such as EV100 and the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Challenge.

These commitments send a collective demand signal to manufacturers and show policymakers that major corporations are ready for an electric vehicle future.

Stepped up commitments from governments around electric vehicle incentives and infrastructure investments can further accelerate these efforts.



China set an ambitious goal of having 600,000 fully electric public service vehicles countrywide by 2020.

In 2009, the Chinese central government chose Shenzhen and 12 other cities for a pilot project to reduce emissions from vehicles. Bus electrification offers a high-impact opportunity for emissions reduction.

In 2017 China set an ambitious goal of having 600,000 fully electric public service vehicles countrywide by 2020.

Businesses are responding to China’s ambitious national goals and are jockeying to be leaders in a market that is expected to increase significantly over the coming years.

Two of the most critical barriers to bus electrification in China are upfront cost and charging infrastructure. Shenzhen implemented the policies and incentives to help overcome these hurdles:

  • Secured subsidies from national and local governments for investing in electric buses

  • Leasing rather than purchasing electric buses to reduce upfront costs

  • Working with charging infrastructure providers to establish more charging facilities along routes

  • Requiring lifetime warranties on batteries to increase bus operators’ confidence in e-bus profitability and reliability.

Shenzhen has the distinction of being the first city in the world to convert its entire fleet of 16,359 buses (more than the combined bus fleets of New York, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Chicago and Toronto) to electric buses by the end of 2017.

As of 2017, about 17 percent of China’s buses were electric, making up more than 99 percent of the 385,000 electric buses worldwide. Other cities are looking to electrify their bus fleets as well, including Paris, London, Mexico City, Quito, Cape Town, and Los Angeles.