Electric vehicle industry continues to alter perceptions - Embedded.com

Electric vehicle industry continues to alter perceptions

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How the EV industry is faring and perspectives on new and emerging trends and events in battery EVs and plug-in-hybrid-electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are now accepted as the future of most transportation segments — an incredible change as even just five years ago, EVs were perceived as a niche product that wouldn’t become important for another 20 years or so. It is amazing how fast that perception disappeared. You can see some of my past discussions on EVs in this column.

Now let’s analyze how the EV industry is faring and provide perspective on new and emerging trends and events. In this column, I focus on the two EV segments that use rechargeable batteries: battery EVs (BEVs) and plug–in–hybrid–electric vehicles (PHEVs). BEVs will be the long–term winner and are already the clear leader in many countries and regions.

EV impact factors

The EV industry is now very competitive, with impressive startups vying for market share along with all of the traditional auto manufacturers. This has added impact factors that are changing some of the dynamics in the battle for future success in EVs.

Tesla has led the way in strategy for the BEV supply chain — from battery materials and battery technology to battery systems and completed BEVs. Today, most startups and OEM competitors are  following Tesla’s successful path.

Traditional auto manufacturers are investing in components and systems to get a portfolio of BEVs to compete across auto customer segments. These investments are creating significant constraints and shortages across all aspect of the BEV industry — supply chains, battery technology and battery factories, people expertise, and much more.

An interesting factor is that OEMs will no longer be able to invest much in internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV) technology and new features. The vast majority of OEM investments must be used to get established in the BEV industry. This will make future ICE models look stale, with few improvements appearing in new models by 2030 or so. This could accelerate the decline of ICEV sales.

Charging infrastructure remains an important consideration for potential EV buyers. A recent Consumer Reports survey identified charging accessibility as the most significant barrier for potential EV buyers. There are significant charging network investments by governments, OEMs, and other interested parties. This is promising but will take time to catch up with rapid EV deployment.

European Union trends

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) published a comprehensive report on the European Union’s path towards zero–emission vehicles in July 2022. This is the fifth yearly report and is available here. The report includes a variety of data for eight car segments based on fuel source. There is separate data on car and van registrations plus information on charging infrastructure. There is also data by EU countries.

EU new car registration

The next table shows EU car registration for 2017 and 2021, with market share and growth from 2017 to 2021. The EU report also includes data for 2018, 2019, and 2020. The registration figures are in thousands of units.

It is noticeable how quickly diesel and gasoline share has dropped since 2017.  Diesel car market share has declined from over 44% in 2017 to under 20% in 2021 — with unit sales declining over 65%. Gasoline car share has dropped from nearly 50% in 2017 to 40% in 2021, while unit sales have fallen by over 37%.

BEV and PHEV sales are nearly equal from 2017 to 2021. Both categories have increased their sales more than tenfold. Market share for both BEVs and PHEVs have jumped from less than 1% in 2017 to about 9% in 2021.

Hybrid EVs (HEVs) have also seen strong growth of 430% from 2017 to 2021. HEV market share increased from 2.9% to nearly 20% in the same time period. HEVs have a small battery (compared with BEVs) that is recharged from braking and from the combustion engine. They also have significantly higher fuel efficiency than ICE–only vehicles, which remains viable with the EU’s high gasoline prices.

Fuel–cell passenger cars were a niche product in the last five years and are likely to remain insignificant in the passenger segments. Fuel–cell vehicles will fare better in large truck and similar applications.

Cars using natural gas, compressed or liquified, as fuel declined from 2017 to 2021. Market share declined slightly from 0.40 to 0.45% This category will probably decline as EVs crank up their sales volumes and market shares.

EU new van registration

The report also includes van registrations, summarized in the next table. EU van registrations are much lower than passenger cars. Total new van registration increased from 1.34 million in 2017 to 1.56 million in 2021 — growth of 16.5%.

Van sales are dominated by diesel, which increased from 1.27 million in 2017 to 1.41 million in 2021. Van market share dropped from 95% in 2017 to 90.2% in 2021. The diesel category is expected to see future declines as more EV–based vans become available.

BEVs and PHEVs are gaining but had only a 3% market share in 2021. Strong future growth of EVs is expected. Hybrid vehicles grew rapidly but from a very small base of 50 units in 2017 to over 50,000 in 2021.

EU charging infrastructure

The ACEA report has data on EV charging infrastructure and similar data for hydrogen and natural gas filling stations. This column focuses on EV charging trends. The data is summarized in the next table.

The sum of BEV and PHEV new registrations is listed in the first line of the table.  The second line includes an estimate of the BEV and PHEV parc or number of vehicles in use, which grows from nearly 412,000 in 2017 to over 3.9 million in 2021. This is a growth of 858% in five years.

The EV charging points grow from nearly 110,000 in 2017 to almost 307,000 charge points in 2021 — growth of 179% in five years. The ratio of BEV + PHEV parc to EV charging points increase from 3.75 in 2017 to 12.86 in 2021.

This trend shows that there are nearly 13 EVs for each charge point in 2021 compared with 3.75 EVs per charge point in 2017. The EU clearly need to expand its charging infrastructure.

There is another weakness in the EV charging statistics: The number of DC chargers are low. DC chargers provide much faster charging than AC chargers. The ACEA report had only 42,000 fast chargers available in 2021, for 13.6% of total charge points.

Norway trends

Norway has been the leader in converting to EVs for the last five years, as was covered in this earlier column. This is an update for better comparison between EU and Norway.

The next figure shows how EV sales, including BEVs and PHEVs, have grown since 2014. The quarterly data is from this InsideEVs article.


New passenger plug–in car registrations in Norway (Source: InsideEVs)

The left side of the figure shows the scale of monthly EV passenger car registrations by month as bars. Norway’s total monthly sales are about 20,000 — quite small compared with millions in EU and other major automotive markets.

The right side of the figure shows the EV share in percent, which is the yellow line. In December 2021, EV share reached 90%, with BEVs having 67% share and PHEVs at 23%. For all of 2021, BEVs grew to 64.5% share, with PHEVs at 21.7% and a combined share of 86.2% of total car registrations.

Top 5 BEV models for 2021 included two Tesla models: Model 3 in first place and Model Y in third place. VW ID.4 was in second place. Ford Mustang Mach–E and Audi e–tron were in fourth and fifth place.

Based on half–year registration figures, Norway’s EV sales are likely to surpass 90% in 2022, with BEVs on the way to get 80% of total passenger car registration. Tesla Model Y is the sales leader, with VW ID.4 in second place in 2022.

Summary

The EV market continues its remarkable growth that was unforeseen five years ago by most forecasters. The data in this column for the EU and Norway clearly shows continued success. A future column will cover similar data from other regions.

Data for the first half of 2022 also looks good for increasing EV market shares but may not show the impact of recent EV price increases from higher battery–related costs.

The EV industry will see increasing headwinds such as temporary EV price increases, fewer government purchasing incentives, and various supply chain issues and production ramp–up complexities. Despite such concerns, the EV industry is on its way to dominate most segments of the transportation industry.

On the other hand, BEVs are on the way to become the dominant powertrain for the automotive industry. The momentum of BEVs has picked up in the last three years. Most OEMs are now committed to moving from ICEVs to BEVs in a decade or so for the vast majority of their vehicle sales. Auto buyers are seeing the momentum, too, but not all are convinced. BEVs will need more improvements and technology advances, which will require extensive investments in the necessary technologies from multiple industries. I will explore these trends in a later column.

>> This article was originally published on our sister site, EE Times.


Egil Juliussen has over 35 years’ experience in the high-tech and automotive industries. Most recently he was director of research at the automotive technology group of IHS Markit. His latest research was focused on autonomous vehicles and mobility-as-a-service. He was co-founder of Telematics Research Group, which was acquired by iSuppli (IHS acquired iSuppli in 2010); before that he co-founded Future Computing and Computer Industry Almanac. Previously, Dr. Juliussen was with Texas Instruments where he was a strategic and product planner for microprocessors and PCs. He is the author of over 700 papers, reports and conference presentations. He received B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Purdue University, and is a member of SAE and IEEE.

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