Who’s winning the international race to all-electric vehicles?
25th August 2021
Automotive manufacturers around the world are agreed that electric vehicles (EVs) are the way forward. This is especially true in the UK, where the manufacture fossil fuel-powered vehicles will be banned from 2035.
Manufacturers understand the changing landscape, but which companies are in the running in this increasingly important race?
The market for EVs is still relatively small. But it’s growing faster and faster.
In 2020, total EV sales around the world reached just over 3m. That’s an increase of 39%, against a global car market that saw a 14% drop in overall sales during the same period.
Tesla’s Model 3 was the highest-selling EV – with 365,000 cars sold. Tesla delivered almost half a million vehicles in 2020 - around 1.6% of the total world EV market.
Tesla’s rise is in contrast with the Nissan Leaf – formerly the best-selling EV worldwide - with around 500,000 sold since its launch in 2010.
These are impressive numbers. But with 750,000 Ford F-Series pick-ups sold in the US alone in 2020, EVs are still a long way from overtaking their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts.
This acceleration in sales is no surprise, and it’s unlikely to slow down. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has predicted total global EV sales in 2030 between 23 and 43 million units. This huge growth will be driven by the wider range of EVs available, with lower whole-life costs and better performance.
Making EVs a mass-market choice will require more than simply investment and effort from manufacturers, however. They’ll also need support from governments, energy companies and the organisations responsible for the electricity grid. This will ensure that the infrastructure is in place to allow the predicted growth to happen.
Car makers are already pumping money into EVs. Jaguar Land Rover has invested £1bn to build EVs in the UK alone. Hyundai has committed $87bn to EVs by 2025. The EV revolution now has a clear timeline with clear aims.
(Original sources: BMI Research & The European Federation for Transport and Environment)
Driving the change
Governments will play a huge part in moving drivers towards EVs. Many have already set firm dates for banning new sales of ICE vehicles. COP26 will put even more pressure on policy makers to accelerate the phase-out.
The world’s largest car market – China – has announced that by 2035 all new car sales must be ‘new-energy’ vehicles. Half of these must be pure EVs, the other half hybrids .
All car manufacturers want the biggest possible share of the EV pie. But it won’t be them alone who’ll make electrification mass market. Again, this will be a joint effort across government and industry.
Just as our current road networks wouldn’t work without a network of filling stations, the EV future is going to need planned out charging infrastructure.
This revolution will also need changes to regulation, and new and smarter power grids.
New battery ‘gigafactories’ will be needed to provide the electricity storage all these new EVs will require . And of course, the behind the meter technology will need to change to keep up with the increased demand for power.
The race to electrification has well and truly begun. And it’s getting faster all the time. Provided the companies and institutions driving it keep on going all the way to the finish line, we all stand to be winners - as does our planet.