October 11, 2022
Electric car sales in the United States doubled their market share to reach 630 thousand vehicles sold in 2021. As a result, end-user investment in transportation has shifted, with 65% landing in the realm of electrification for light, commercial, and heavy-weight vehicles.
What is driving this market growth and what is hindering it from achieving faster gains? Read on to find out more about the state of the EV industry.
The rise in EV popularity is driven largely by mounting climate concerns. Along with changes in consumer preference, there has been an international push towards sustainable alternatives through the implementation of laws and regulations. The most prominent of these is The Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement is a legally binding climate change treaty that aims to curb global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably 1.5 degrees, below pre-industrial levels. To achieve this goal, there needs to be a 45% reduction in global emissions by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050. As the 2030 deadline closes in, many of the 194 signatories are enacting internal laws to expedite change.
In April 2022, US President Biden established a climate plan to reduce emissions by at least 50% from 2005 levels by 2030. Meanwhile, California lawmakers have taken a stronger stance by enacting a ban on the sale of new ICE vehicles by 2035. Many countries across the globe have taken similar action.
Europe is expected to be the first region to fully adopt EVs. The UK, Israel, the Netherlands, Ireland, Iceland, and Denmark aim to be EV-dominated markets by 2030. Norway is working to achieve this by 2025. The EU has also passed regulations pertaining to fleet vehicle emission reductions of 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2035 from 2021 levels.
Outside of Europe, Japan and China have plans to cease ICE sales by 2035, while Chile and Canada are working towards a 2035 zero-emission deadline for 100% of their new light-vehicle sales. If this type of rapid adoption continues, we can expect to see the global electric vehicle numbers to exceed 300 million units by 2030 and comprise 60% of new vehicle sales.
Climate change isn’t the only thing shifting consumer preference. Increasing petrol prices and the implementation of regulated clean air zones have many people reconsidering their next vehicle purchase. In an EY Mobility Consumer Index study, 52% of consumers intend their next vehicle purchase to be an EV (hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or fully electric), compared to 7% in 2020.
Another motivator for consumer adoption is lower maintenance costs. ICE vehicles have around 200 moving parts that need to be maintained, fixed, and replaced throughout the ownership cycle. EVs, on the other hand, have about 20 moving parts. A fact, that according to one Yale School of Environment study, makes EVs around 40% cheaper to maintain. EVs also eliminate the need for bi-annual oil changes. Instead, owners can expect free software updates that increase the functionality of their vehicles over time. In the current EV landscape, some of these updates still mandate a visit to a dealership. However, as more OEMs adopt scalable over-the-air software update solutions, like Sibros’ Deep Connected Platform, regular dealer visits will be eliminated from the equation and allow owners to initiate the updates with the push of a button and from the comfort of their own home.
Despite a global shift towards EVs, there are still several pain points slowing progress and adoption. These are:
As mentioned, EVs have lower ownership costs over time. However, the initial payout is often between 25-50% higher than a comparable ICE. This price disparity is predominantly a result of the EV battery materials and production costs. Fortunately, we have already seen this gap shrink as manufacturers continue to turn to more cost-effective options. The EV battery of 2010 came to around $1,100 US per kilowatt hour, while the EV battery of 2022 is around $160 per kilowatt hour and would have been lower were it not for supply chain issues.
Prices will drop further as OEMs reduce their dependence on raw materials. Not only are these expensive but when the extraction of materials such as copper, aluminum, and steel is compromised it leads to bottlenecks in the supply chain. Couple this with inefficient assembly line methods and you’re looking at serious production delays. Lucid Group recently announced yet another reduction in its 2022 production target. The company was initially slated to produce 20,000 units, which they cut down to approximately 13,000 after Q1, and then to between 6,000 and 7,000. EV startup Rivian has experienced similar issues. Fortunately, advances in 3D printer technology are helping ease bottleneck restraints. As for logistic operations, that’s something only experience and the application of time-proven procedures will help alleviate.
Since the advent of the first electric car, range and performance anxiety have been a pain point. Although battery range far exceeds what it once was, potential users still have qualms that OEMs must address before full adoption is achievable. Potential solutions include increasing the energy density of batteries or leveraging different battery configurations and cell quantities. This can also help decrease the range variability that comes with different driving terrains, traffic conditions, and vehicle loads. Ensuring faster charging port speeds will also decrease user anxiety.
Unfortunately, different EVs have different charging port requirements (AC vs DC, CHAdeMO vs GB/T vs CCS, etc). This increases the complexity and expense associated with installing new ports and could lead to further issues down the line. For example, if the United States decides to standardize CCS ports and Mexico chooses CHAdeMO ports, then a driver traveling from Mexico to the US might be stuck without a compatible charging port. Standardization of charging ports and methods will greatly ease EV adoption.
Of course, even more pressing than standardization is establishing a viable EV charging port infrastructure. Insufficient charging options increase user anxiety and stall adoption, particularly outside the urban metropolises. China currently has the highest number of charging ports, accounting for around 85% of fast chargers worldwide and 55% of slow chargers. However, when it comes to charger density, the Netherlands is in the lead with 19-20 charging stations for every 100km. China is the runner-up with 3-4 stations per 100km, followed by the UK with an average of 3. These numbers will undoubtedly need to increase as user adoption rises.
To overcome these pain points and keep up with the global demand for electric vehicles, OEMs must think three steps ahead. Government incentives and investments will prove fruitful in encouraging infrastructure development and consumer adoption. But to overcome some of the stickier pain points, such as range deficiencies and charging times, OEMs will need to develop their own solutions. The Deep Connected Platform (DCP) provides manufacturers with data from every vehicle component for real-time vehicle health monitoring and over-the-air updates to keep EVs functioning to their highest capacity. DCP is an end-to-end solution that OEMs can leverage to expedite product and software development, streamline EOL testing, and ease the full-vehicle lifecycle management of their entire fleet. Take your EV fleet farther than ever before with Sibros, contact us today to learn more.