Electric Vehicles Around the World: An Overview

By: Siva Soorya

The latest developments in the Electric Vehicle Market?

After an initial surge and rapid decline in the late 20th century, the electric vehicle (EV) has again experienced a recent upsurge. Either through the form of hybrid vehicles, in which they are a mix of an Internal Combustion Engine and electric battery, or fully battery-powered vehicles (BEVs) , EVs have re-emerged as a viable technology. At the latest count, 3 million electric vehicles are plying the world’s roads. BEVs account for two-thirds of the world’s electric car fleet. Additionally, over 1 million electric cars were sold in 2017 alone- that itself is a new record. These new developments have changed the perception of EVs and more governments are realigning their mobility policies to include an entirely separate infrastructure for EVs.

External Factors:

According to the latest American Lung Association’s 2017 “State of the Air” report, more than 125 million Americans live in counties with unhealthy levels of air pollution, which is one-third of the U.S. population. This pollution has many sources: energy production, manufacturing and industry, vehicular emissions, construction activities and road dust. Of these, vehicular emissions from internal combustion engine vehicles is one of the major contributors of air pollutants. Though United States’ dependence on large scale imports of crude to meet most of its mobility fuel needs has reduced over the years, this dependence has been offset by increased production of shale oil. Thus, the need to move to an EV based auto force has been identified as a potential solution to solving all the mentioned problems.

Market Factors:
There a variety of market factors which require the wide adoption of electric vehicles around the world: stricter emission regulations, lower battery costs, more widely available fast charging infrastructure, increasing consumer acceptance and better total cost of ownership. Each of these will create new and strong momentum for the adoption of EVs in the future.

Penetration & Adoption:

EV penetration of automotive sales is expected to be 35%-47% by 2040. As of 2017, China has the largest global electric car stock in the world, with 40% of global sales occurring in China alone. Other countries which have a significant share in the EV sales market are the Scandinavian countries, Iceland, Germany and Japan. In fact, Norway is said to be the world’s most advanced market of electric cars in terms of sales share, with 39% of new car sales coming from EVs. On the other hand, even though China has the largest sales, it only had a market share of  2.2% within internal automobile sales. The U.S., the second-largest electric car market globally, had a market share of roughly 1.1%.

Down to Business:

So, what is the potential of EVs and what sector should they be sold in? Around the world, two wheelers (such as motorcycles and bicycles),  are said to be the largest segments in the automotive industry where EV sales can be maximised because they occupy the highest share when you divide transport by various modes. Hence, this vast sector has the best potential to kick start EV sales in mostly developing countries. Also, two wheelers have been thought of to solve the ‘last-mile’ connectivity problem. Hence, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) must focus on producing more electric two-wheelers which can be followed by three-wheelers (3Ws), then by buses( of both intra-city and inter-city types) and finally taxi agglomerates. Private cars and commercial vehicles, particularly medium and heavy commercial vehicles (M&HCVs), would be adopted later in time because very few people and corporations can afford them. It is important to note that vehicles are being electrified for the masses, and not for the benefit of a few.

As American companies and other global OEMs prepare to mass produce EVs on a large scale, it is important to know if the market is ready for them. A new AAA survey which finds 20% of Americans say their next vehicle will be an electric car might indicate so. But, is our current physical road infrastructure ready for supporting the new electric vehicles? Are there enough charging stations to facilitate an ecosystem for both conventional and electric transport? Is the government doing enough in terms of research and development to look into even more sustainable prototypes of EVs. Elon Musk had boldly predicted that within 30 years all electric vehicles on American roads would be BEVs. There might be various challenges which we have to tackle but let us make the best efforts for the prediction to come true!

Works Cited:

Image Source: https://www.carmagazine.co.uk/electric/best-electric-cars-and-evs/

Bomey, Nathan. (2018, May 09). Americans more likely to buy electric cars, AAA study finds. Retrieved August 23, 2018, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2018/05/08/electric-cars-aaa/586987002/

Bohlsen, M. (2017, May 01). EV Company News For The Month Of April 2017. Retrieved from https://seekingalpha.com/article/4067449-ev-company-news-month-april-2017

CBS News. (2018, April 18). U.S. cities with the worst air pollution. Retrieved August 23, 2018, from https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/air-pollution-worst-us-cities-2018/

Global EV Outlook 2018 : Key Findings. (2018, May 30). Retrieved August 23, 2018, from https://www.iea.org/gevo2018/