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Sales of electric vehicles doubled in 2021

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Electric vehicles are displayed before a news conference.

The sales of electric cars tripled over the past two years. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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More than 6.5 million electric cars were sold around the world in 2021. That’s more than double the number sold in 2020 and more than triple what sold in 2019, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency

Those record sales are despite the semiconductor chip shortages and other supply chain issues that have slowed the production of gas and electric cars during the pandemic.

Much of the growth in electric car sales is happening in China, but Europe and the U.S. aren’t far behind.

“The electric vehicle market is booming in the United States because we have such a great selection now,” said Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions.

Now that it’s possible to buy all sorts of electric cars — including SUVs and trucks — more people are doing it. And they’re seeing their neighbors drive them too.

“The biggest thing to increase the adoption of electric vehicles in the United States will be more electric vehicles in the United States simply having an experience with somebody who has had one will drive this up,” Fiorani said.

Until now, it’s primarily been government policy driving the increase in EV production and sales, according to Alan Jenn, a researcher at the University of California Davis.

“But nowadays people are seeing the value in this technology,” Jenn said. “And it’s getting hard for automakers to keep up with the demand.”

Still, electric vehicles only make up about 9% of cars sold worldwide. Gas-powered SUVs, meanwhile, account for about 45%, IEA said. Sales of those also set a record last year. 

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