Aug. 3 (UPI) -- The drive toward electric vehicles gained international momentum with Germany and the United States making strides on the sea change in the automotive industry.
Two million electric vehicles were on the road globally last year, though nearly all of those were in China, the European Union and the United States. A report from the International Energy Agency found that dense metropolitan areas were taking leadership roles in encouraging electric vehicles because of pollution concerns.
Beijing this week said it would expand the number of electric vehicles in the public transportation sector. In Germany, energy company E.ON said it would place an ultra-fast charging station at a motorway between Frankfurt and Nuremberg.
Dorothee Bär, the federal transport minister, said the government has set aside $355 million to help build tens of thousands of charging points on the German highway network.
"The main obstacle to expanding e-mobility is not a technical one but rather people's concern that they will run out of battery power while they are on the road," she said in a statement.
In Michigan, which lies at the heart of the U.S. automotive industry, the state Public Service Commission's Agency for Energy said chargers outside its headquarters in the state capital, Lansing, will be the first in the state to charge users by kilowatt hour, rather than using a day or monthly rate. Agency Executive Director Valerie Brader said in a statement this makes charging more comparable to paying a per-gallon fee for gasoline, and offers a "sensible payment option" for electric vehicles.
At the global level, the IEA said it expects EV sales to quadruple by 2020, though cost remains a prohibiting factor to further deployment. Based on 2016 figures, however, they make up 0.2 percent of the total market.
The agency added that, if no improvements are made to the global fleet of heavy trucks, oil demand from the sector will account for about 40 percent of the projected 2050 total demand growth.