Key Electric Vehicle Market Trends for 2023
Over the past four months I have spent a lot of time thinking of about Electric Vehicles (EVs) and its future due to my marketing internship at a Dutch automotive startup. This deep fascination has resulted in my thoughts for the near future of the EV industry.
More Electric Vehicle (EV) Models
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) Will Remain a Niche Market
Solar Electric Vehicles (SEVs) Will Make Waves
Government Incentives in Full Swing
Public Charging Infrastructure in Catch Up Mode
1. More Electric Vehicle (EV) Models
McKinsey Predicts 400 new EV models in 2023
Ban of fossil fuel vehicles: Countries across the globe are planning to phase out fossil fuel vehicles and transition to 100% EVs between 2030 and 2040.
Examples of ban on sales of new fossil fuel vehicle include United Kingdom by 2030, European Union and United States by 2035.
The Rise of EV Fleets: Traditional fleet & logistic operators like Hertz, DHL, Amazon, FedEx, etc. plans to transition a large portion of their fleet to EV. New fleet startups, popping up across many cities, are already EVs like Greenwheels, ShareNow, etc.
Higher Fuel Price: Consumer attitude towards EVs become more favorable as EVs are more cost-effective (lower price per km), have lower maintenance cost, and offers a more sustainable mobility option.
2. Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) Will Remain a Niche Market
Commercial viability of FCEV is running against the clock as the battery tech & vehicle performance continues to improve.
Limited Availability of Hydrogen
Cost of Green Hydrogen & Infrastructure: Green hydrogen is being positioned as the future of energy due to its ability to provide longer range and faster refueling.
Although good in theory, the practicalities present major limitations: Green hydrogen production is expensive due to the massive infrastructure investments not easily possible for local production at every gas station → built across nations to be able to provide enough energy → not available everywhere → huge distribution process/cost.
Hydrogen fuel is best suited for transportation use-cases where local electricity production is not economically viable, vehicles require continuous operations (minimum downtime), and longer range than for typical passenger vehicles e.g. planes, ships, heavy-duty trucks, long-haul buses, etc.
“The future of energy is not one size fits all. It is mixed. BEVs are the future of passenger Vehicles and FCEVs are the future of large-scale transportation”
Today, FCEV requires 3 to 6 times more energy than all Battery EV (BEV) to transport a passenger the same distance; however, BEV need 8-16 times larger battery depending on distance travelled. Nonetheless, as the battery technology continues to improve in terms of energy density (longer range), ultra-fast charging (10 minutes or less) and with the wide availability of public fast recharging stations, BEV will continue to remain the best commercial option economically for passenger vehicle.
The key understanding that must happen in the automotive and energy industry is that one type of energy does not fit all. Your everyday car will transition towards BEVs as battery quality nears the quality of FCEVs. As they become more similar in terms of range/fast refueling the details start to matter. FCEVs require more energy for the conversion of water to hydrogen and back into energy. That extra step will not be necessary when batteries are able to be as fast as FCEVs.
Meanwhile, one might wonder what the sustainable future for mass transportation which is being heavily promoted by many governments as a green alternative. This is where the future of FCEVs lies as they provide long range and fast refueling which cannot happen easily at that large of a scale with batteries. So, the future of planes, boats, buses etc. are aligning more with FCEVs.
3. Solar Electric Vehicles (SEVs) Will Make Waves
A common misconception is that solar electric vehicles are regular cars with solar panels slapped onto the roof. That is how it started, but how did we move from solar being an added boost to a car to cars being able to rely on solar power.
The key here is a positive feedback circle where each part of a vehicles design must contribute to improving efficiency in the next. This is how SEVs makes its mark.
Ultra-Energy-Efficient Vehicle Design
SEVs are pushing the automotive industry to reimagine vehicle design to prioritize ultra-energy-efficient design. This includes, powertrain efficiency, chassis, aerodynamics, wheels, lighter materials, efficient batteries, etc. All of these are necessary for SEVs to be viable and therefore the current SEVs on the market are excelling in creating ultra-energy-efficient vehicles.
Offloading the Grid
Each part of the car factors into the efficiency of the next resulting in a long range, sustainable vehicle that requires minimal charging. By having a long range that is constantly being boosted by solar power the car can offset the need for constant recharging by having longer time in-between each recharge. This takes off the stress on the grid as a whole.
Just as we are making advances in fuel cell and battery tech we are also improving solar tech. Many SEV companies have specialized solar panels that can harness solar energy in many different climates and able to optimize the energy intake. In climates such as the Netherlands or UK one can still offset their energy bill by nearly 7,000 km per year if using a Lightyear car (SEV company). In sunnier climates these numbers can rise to circa 20,000 km. That is why SEV companies are popping up around the world such as Aptera in California.
“SEVs are able to operate in today’s infrastructure while benefiting the environment, offsetting the grid, and saving costs for drivers”
4. Government Incentives in Full Swing
Government policy initiatives coupled with billions of dollars/euros to incentivize EV adoption and built out of EV charging stations are fueling the explosive EV sales.
US federal government offers grants and loans to states, local governments, and private companies to support the deployment of EV charging infrastructure.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and Inflation Reduction Act are already having a huge effect as automakers are now working to onshore their EV supply chain and manufacturing to US in order to qualify for EV tax credit rule.
Some States and utilities offer their own incentives to encourage faster adoption of EVs such as rebates, tax credits, reduced fees for EV owners & discounted electricity rates, or credits for charging during off-peak hours.
In Europe, there are also several incentives available for EVs and charging infrastructure. Many European countries offer tax credits, grants, and other financial incentives to encourage the purchase and use of EVs.
E.g. France ‘ecological bonus’ – cars under 47,000 euros will receive 7,000 euros towards purchase. In Romania this goes up to 10,000 euros. Across nearly all European countries there are incentives.
Some countries also have policies in place to encourage the deployment of EV charging infrastructure, such as requiring a certain percentage of new parking spaces to be equipped with EV charging stations.
5. Public EV Fast Charging Infrastructure in Catch Up Mode
Limited Funding: although there is massive emphasis on moving towards greener mobility and energy the resources must also back this up. The US has allocated $7,5 billion for 500,000 new public EV charging stations. However, experts say that this is no where near the number of charging ports needed to back the forecasted exponential growth of EV sales.
Limited Space in Urban Areas: Charging ports are being invested in; however, city dwellers are not afforded the same luxury as residential neighborhoods as individual apartment dwellers do not have access to individual charing ports. Therefore, charging stations with multiple charging ports need to be installed for cities to also move towards greener mobility.
Compatibility in Payment & Charging Ports: Availability of high voltage grid, and the lack of plug & charge of any EV to any fast charger are hampering rapid adoption of EVs. Many EV companies are associated with certain charging station brands causing them to have specific billing systems. This can limit where people go to charge their EVs. This is the opposite of petrol stations which is available for any fossil fuel car. Action needs to be taken towards universalizing and standardizing payment and charging methods for EVs.
This article was first published on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/key-electric-vehicle-market-trends-2023-sne-prasad-alam/?trackingId=I2DQXzyrQmebaIHiJj5SzA%3D%3D