Worldwide exports of electricity-powered automobiles were worth a total US$11.5 billion in 2018. That dollar amount represents a tiny 1.5% of the overall $765.8 billion for all subcategories of exported cars, but a 37.7% increase in international sales of electric cars from 2017 to 2018.
Among continents, European countries sold the most exported electric cars during 2018 with shipments valued at $6.5 billion or 56.4% of the global total. In second place were North American exporters at 29.4% while 14.2% of international sales of electric cars originated from Asia. Much smaller percentages came from Oceania (0.01%) led by Australia and New Zealand, African exporters (0.001%) then Latin American nations (0.0002%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
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 and 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 2018.
- United States: US$3.4 billion (29.4% of exported electric cars)
- Germany: $1.8 billion (15.7%)
- Netherlands: $1.2 billion (10.8%)
- South Korea: $1.1 billion (9.5%)
- France: $963.6 million (8.4%)
- United Kingdom: $699.9 million (6.1%)
- Austria: $658.1 million (5.7%)
- Belgium: $543.5 million (4.7%)
- Japan: $389.4 million (3.4%)
- Spain: $247.9 million (2.2%)
- China: $129.8 million (1.1%)
- Slovakia: $103.6 million (0.9%)
- Slovenia: $67.4 million (0.6%)
- Poland: $57.2 million (0.5%)
- Sweden: $23.9 million (0.2%)
The listed 15 countries shipped 99.1% of all electric cars exported in 2018 by value.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing electric cars exporters since 2017 were: Austria (up 1,225%), Poland (up 693%), United Kingdom (up 564.5%) and Belgium (up 217.4%).
Two top countries posted declines in their exported electric cars sales namely Japan (down -34.9%) and Netherlands (down -4%).
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for electric cars during 2018. 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$3.1 billion (net export surplus up 8.4% since 2017)
- Germany: $963.8 million (up 3.6%)
- South Korea: $861.6 million (up 141%)
- Austria: $440.3 million (reversing a -$142.9 million deficit)
- France: $426.7 million (up 72.2%)
- Netherlands: $360.6 million (down -65.1%)
- Japan: $319.6 million (down -37.2%)
- United Kingdom: $301.5 million (reversing a -$338.3 million deficit)
- Belgium: $108.1 million (reversing a -$124.4 million deficit)
- Slovakia: $78.5 million (up 10.5%)
- Slovenia: $44.4 million (up 304.4%)
- Spain: $6.4 million (up 494.5%)
- Cocos (Keeling) Islands: $4,000 (no 2017 data)
The United States has 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 2018. 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$2.3 billion (net export deficit up 43% since 2017)
- China: -$1.1 billion (down -21.4%)
- Canada: -$928.0 million (up 95.9%)
- Sweden: -$305.4 million (up 101.3%)
- Switzerland: -$237.9 million (down -0.5%)
- Portugal: -$178.2 million (up 143.1%)
- Italy: -$144.8 million (up 120.5%)
- Jordan: -$104.8 million (up 232,889%)
- Bangladesh: -$72.7 million (up 14.4%)
- New Zealand: -$70.3 million (up 82.3%)
- Australia: -$67.2 million (down -34.4%)
- Denmark: -$58.4 million (up 471.3%)
- United Arab Emirates: -$49.9 million (down -55.2%)
- Hungary: -$47.4 million (up 267.3%)
- Ireland: -$45.4 million (up 219.3%)
Norway and China incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of electric cars. Albeit based on early and limited data, these negative cashflows highlight both country’s apparent competitive disadvantage for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for electric cars-supplying countries that help satisfy their powerful consumer demand.
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)