As global economies react and emerge from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the future of electric vehicles (EVs) needs to be considered as part of industry business models. During a recent panel discussion hosted by Electric Drive Transportation Association, “Recovery & Opportunity in Global Markets,” the outlook for the EV industry was discussed by panelists Daniel Will from Lucid Motors, Kevin Miller from Charge Point, Jennifer Diggins from Albemarle Corp., Prasanna Srinivasan from Parker LORD and Britta Gross from Rocky Mountain Institute.
With a current inflection point in the EV industry, as well as an increase in regulatory policies around the globe, now is a key time for automakers to adopt EV technology as part of their business model. Many great points were discussed throughout this session, the main takeaways can be found below.
Electric Vehicle Technology Goals
EV technology has made many advancements during its short life. It is important to remember that less than a decade ago only one or two auto companies had electric or hybrid vehicle models. Fast-forward to 2020 and the landscape is dramatically different. Many OEMs are investing in EV platforms, battery technology has evolved, and climate change awareness has increased. This has brought more concrete goals for the EV industry.
OEMs are all pushing towards a common goal – giving their customers what they want. OEMs and consumers want their vehicles to have the longest range to compete with internal combustion engine cars and to reduce range anxiety. Faster charging is a key advancement that will help with electric vehicle adoption. Lower costs are also a major aspect of mass market adoption.
As clean air is related to our populations health and safety, internal combustion vehicle bans are expanding after 2035 in the UK, California, and New Jersey.
Government and Policies
A major theme talked about among the panelists on this session was the large impact government regulations and policies can have. The European Union declared that any recovery they may provide would be green recovery after COVID. On the other hand, the reduction of CAFÉ standards, lawsuits with automakers to remove California’s authority to regulate own emissions and the 15 additional states that have joined together to regulate emissions, have all added challenges to the US response.
California has developed a goal of 100% EV sales by 2035. An agreement between 15 states and the District of Columbia calls for all medium and heavy-duty vehicles to be electric by 2050. In the short term, bailouts, subsidies and tax credits as a result from COVID-19 will help sustain the industry. Long-term growth must come from emissions standards. The use of standards will allow OEMs and their supply chains to plan for the future. Afterall, we can’t expect a global supply chain to conform for dissimilar goals around the world.
It is necessary in the US to have a policy and strategy, so the entire country is driving toward the same goal. If the US had a national policy, it could align with the policy of California, New Jersey, and New York. Eventually the goal is for US adoption rates to be equal to China and Europe. As for charging infrastructure, there is bipartisan agreement in US Congress that EV charging infrastructure is necessary. Right now, for those owning EVs, 60-80% of charging is taking place at residential locations. Expanding infrastructure along highways, in the suburbs and retail locations could contribute to faster EV adoption and a cleaner world.
Additionally, states are starting to think about charging and electricity rates. Even the federal government is thinking about how to electrify postal vehicles.
The Future of EV
The decisions made today will affect the future of electric transportation around the globe. What do we have to do now to manage a rapidly growing infrastructure?
The future should bring about the transition of electrified fleets, more than it has today. It’s impossible to prevent purchases of combustion engines or diesel, so it’s necessary to look at how to encourage the transition away from them.
The EV industry will continue to move closer to next generation battery breakthroughs including solid state technology. Additionally, an important part of the process is recycling where not many standards or methods are currently set up. A final, but important element is climate change. To help with the many wildfires and record breaking number of hurricanes, it is necessary to have a 55% cut in carbon by 2030 and to do so at least 20% of automobiles need to be electrified.
To learn more about electrification, visit our EV content hub for more resources.