Electric Vehicle trends

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Planetwide sustainability and environmental concerns

A growing number of electric vehicle drivers are demanding easy access to car charging facilities. They are also looking for car parking amenities where they can rest, have fun or go shopping, but just as importantly, they require access to e-car recharging on such sites.

Why is this trend growing today? The simple answer is global warming. The Paris Agreement sets out a global framework designed to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to below 2°C. It also aims to strengthen countries’ abilities to deal with the impact of climate change and to support them in their efforts. The European Union has been at the forefront of international efforts to fight climate change. It was instrumental in brokering the Paris Agreement and continues to show global leadership.

By 2030, the European Union as a whole is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared to 1990 levels. Transport contributes almost one-quarter (23%) of current global energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is growing faster than any other energy end-use sector. By the year 2030, GHG emissions from transport are anticipated to rise by nearly 20%, and close to 50% by 2050, unless major action is undertaken.

According to the International Energy Agency, such a transition requires the implementation of global rail transport electrification, which is already underway, as well as the electrification of a major part or all road transport vehicles.

It is no surprise then that many countries and cities have already initiated such green initiatives. Going green has many benefits - companies can boost their image, and moreover, they can benefit from government assistance and attract new customers. On average, analyses show that green customers have an elevated profile, good salaries, better shopping and cultural behaviors.

Here we list some of the most important current worldwide initiatives:

  • The EV30@30 campaign sets the objective to reach a 30% sales share for EVs by 2030.
Fig. EV1 – Future global EV stock and sales by scenario, 2018-30 (Source: IEA, Global EV Outlook 2019)
  • C40 CITIES is a network of the world’s megacities that are committed to addressing climate change.
  • EV100 campaign is a global initiative that brings together 113 forward-looking companies committed to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles and making electric transport the ‘new normal’ by 2030.
  • EVAPP - the Electric Vehicle Association of Asia Pacific is an international membership organization that promotes the development and use of electric and hybrid vehicles in the Asia and Pacific region.

On top of those initiatives, government policies are also key to reach environmental targets.

To date, 17 countries around the world have proposed the future ban in the sale of passenger vehicles that are powered by fossil fuels such as gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas and diesel. Europe with very advanced countries such as Norway, The Netherlands, Iceland, Sweden is leading the way in terms of regulation and EV fleet size (60% of new car sales in Norway are electric and Europe became in 2020 the first EV market in terms of sales before China). Nevertheless, even though they don’t have yet committed to official targets, many other countries and cities around the world are working toward an ICE vehicle ban plan.

Government regulation and incentives in the European Union

In 2014, the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID) was adopted. At that time, the electric vehicle market in Europe was just starting out, with only a few models available on the market, such as the Renault Zoe, Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and Tesla Model S. Back then, policymakers trying to determine the future EV market uptake and infrastructure needs had very limited experience.

Today, the situation is different: battery and charging technologies have progressed and will continue to do so for many years. With EU car and van CO2 standards in place for 2021-2025-2030, a wave of electric vehicle models is arriving in Europe, and policymakers now have much more clarity with regards to expected market uptake. Many elements that seemed uncertain in 2014 have now become much clearer.

AFID is currently elaborating a climate strategy, “The European Green Deal”. This strategy presents key political directions, flagships and funding mechanisms to support decarbonization, including the deployment of a charging infrastructure. AFID has committed to reviewing the Directive in 2021 to accelerate the deployment of zero- and low emission vehicles, and to deploy a funding call to support the deployment of public recharging and refueling points from 2020.

In most European countries, the main incentives are related to the ownership of e-Cars: that’s to say, no purchase tax, road benefits, exemption or reduction of ownership and company car taxes. More importantly, new regulations are in favor of the electrical vehicle infrastructure; specific EV public infrastructure investments are in place in Norway, Germany, France, UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Spain. New buildings will have to be equipped or pre-equipped, depending on the country, for electrical vehicle charging, and there are plans to upgrade electrical installations in residential and commercial buildings.

Electric vehicle: fast growth

Since 2020, we have been witnessing a new phase for the Electrical Vehicle market. Up to 2019, we were witnessing fast growth driven by subsidies, with very few e-Cars models and few clear improvements and choices. The next phase will be accelerated by indirect policy mechanisms and the electrification of general transport beyond passenger vehicles.

In 2020, more than 10 million passenger electric vehicles (BEV + PHEV) were on the road, globally. By the end of 2025 this figure could reach 53 million. EV adoption is also becoming more popular and attractive for segments like buses, two-wheelers, ride hailing services, and delivery vans. In 2020, there were more than 1 million electric buses and electric commercial vehicles and there were 263 million electric 2 and 3 wheelers. Those number could reach respectively 6 million and 331 million by the end of 2025. Charging infrastructures are also growing, with 4.2 million connectors now in place globally.

The global market share for electric passenger cars is 0.8% in 2020 (BEV + PHEV), but this figure is growing fast thanks to new e-Car models and prices, which are attracting more consumers, who are also making the most of the incentives and benefits associated with driving a zero-emission car. Indeed, even if e-cars are currently more expensive than ICE vehicles, this trend is evolving as battery costs are decreasing. Price parity between EV and ICE vehicles shout be hit by 2023 and convince additional consumers to switch from ICE to EV.

Globally, between 2019 and 2020 passenger car sales overall declined by 12%, but the demand for electric passenger cars (BEV + PHEV) increased by 46%.

China used to be the leading country for electrical vehicles, not only as a result of its commitment to electrification, but also due to the popularity of electrification amongst consumers. Recently, European EV sales have also rised significantly. This trend has been driven by national incentives, increased model availability and the rising concern over urban air quality. In terms of sales, Europe used to be the second largest EV market after China, but since 2020, it became the first largest EV market. Within Europe, the market trends are very different from one country to another. Indeed, in 2020, the U.K, Germany, France and Italy represented 61% of all EV sales in Europe.

Electric vehicle charging infrastructure: also growing fast

As regards to the EV infrastructure, there are around 4,2 million public & private connectors worldwide, which equates to around 2 passenger cars by connector, which is sufficient for the current market. Beyond 2020, this charging infrastructure will need to be developed in order to keep pace with the growing e-mobility industry. This is why new regulations for infrastructure for public and private investments are playing an important role in this new phase.

The charging deployment should be spread across the world to ensure all country get the same opportunity to shift to zero-emission mobility.