Worldwide exports of electricity-powered automobiles were worth a total US$25.7 billion in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 207.4% increase from $8.4 billion in 2017 and a 123.1% gain since 2018.
Compared to $758.4 billion in overall international sales for all cars in 2019, electric cars represent 3.4% of all exported cars. However, the percentage of electric cars sold in 2019 is a strong increase from 1.5% in 2018.
Among continents, suppliers in European countries sold the most exported electric cars during 2019 with shipments valued at $14.6 billion or 56.8% of the global total. In second place were North American exporters at 30.5% while 12.6% of the international sales of electric cars originated from Asia. Tinier percentages came from Oceania’s (0.01%) Australia, African exporters (0.003%) and Latin American nations (0.001%) Colombia and Chile.
For research purposes, the 6-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 870380 for motor vehicles powered by electric motor only (also called electric smart cars). This is a relatively new HTS code since 2017 is the first year for which trade data specific to electric cars was available.
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of electric cars during 2019.
- United States: US$7.9 billion (30.5% of exported electric cars)
- Belgium: $5.1 billion (19.8%)
- Germany: $3.9 billion (15.1%)
- South Korea: $2.4 billion (9.1%)
- Austria: $1.3 billion (4.9%)
- Netherlands: $1.19 billion (4.6%)
- France: $1.17 billion (4.5%)
- United Kingdom: $1.1 billion (4.3%)
- China: $438.1 million (1.7%)
- Japan: $431.5 million (1.7%)
- Slovakia: $387.9 million (1.5%)
- Spain: $264.5 million (1%)
- Slovenia: $113 million (0.4%)
- Sweden: $38.4 million (0.1%)
- Hungary: $28 million (0.1%)
By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 99.6% of globally exported electric cars in 2019.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing exporters of electric cars since 2017 were: Belgium (up 2,882%), Austria (up 2,453%), United Kingdom (up 940.4%) and South Korea (up 458.8%).
Two major suppliers posted declines in their international sales of electric cars, namely Japan (down -27.8%) and the Netherlands (down -7.7%).
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for electric cars during 2019. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s exported electric cars and its import purchases for that same commodity.
- United States: US$6.3 billion (net export surplus up 122.1% since 2017)
- Germany: $2.3 billion (up 142.1%)
- Belgium: $2.1 billion (down -1751.5%)
- South Korea: $2 billion (up 454.9%)
- Austria: $738.4 million (down -616.6%)
- Slovakia: $342.2 million (up 381.6%)
- Japan: $298.1 million (down -41.4%)
- France: $84.5 million (down -65.9%)
- Slovenia: $75.5 million (up 588.4%)
- North Korea: $434,000 (down -176.1%)
- Bahrain: $3,000 (down -101%)
The United States of America generated the highest surplus in the international trade of electric cars. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms America’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for electric cars during 2019. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s imported electric cars purchases and its exports for that same commodity.
- Norway: -US$2.8 billion (net export deficit up 83.1% since 2017)
- China: -$2 billion (up 49.3%)
- Netherlands: -$1.9 billion (down -282%)
- Canada: -$1.2 billion (up 162%)
- Sweden: -$633.6 million (up 318.3%)
- Switzerland: -$625.1 million (up 160%)
- Portugal: -$552.1 million (up 646.8%)
- Italy: -$312.9 million (up 376.5%)
- Australia: -$219.7 million (up 114.1%)
- Denmark: -$206.8 million (up 1,922%)
- Spain: -$191.7 million (reversing a $1.1 million surplus)
- Taiwan: -$179.6 million (up 212.9%)
- United Kingdom: -$151.2 million (down -55.3%)
- New Zealand: -$128.9 million (up 231%)
- Finland: -$115.9 million (up 311.9%)
Norway and China incurred the highest deficits in the international trade of electric cars. Albeit based on early and limited data, these negative cashflows highlight both countries’ apparent competitive disadvantages for this specific product category, but also signals opportunities for these and other electric cars-suppliers to better meet the growing consumer demand for more environmentally friendly products.
Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles
Below are major global automobile makers with facilities for producing electric plug-in cars or hybrid vehicles. Shown within parenthesis is the country where each corporation has its headquarters.
- BMW i (Germany)
- BYD Auto Co. (China)
- Daimler AG (Germany)
- Ford Motor Company (United States)
- General Motors (United States)
- Nissan (Japan)
- PSA Group (France)
- Renault (France)
- Rimac Automobili (Croatia)
- Tesla (United States)
- Toyota (Japan)
- Volkswagen Group (Germany)