Despite what has been a rocky few years for the car market, rising demand for electric vehicles (EVs) is restoring confidence in this sector in the post-pandemic world.
In anticipation of the EU’s ‘Fit for 55’ proposals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and the UK’s ban on new petrol and diesel car sales by 2030, automakers are ramping up the development of EVs. As a result, these once seemingly futuristic vehicles will become the norm on our roads as electric cars become steadily more affordable, and consumers embrace the advantages of this new generation of car technology.
The number of EV registrations in the UK is increasing significantly every year. Indeed, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), more than 40% of models are now available as plug-ins. So, what are the benefits of electric vehicles compared to traditional petrol and diesel cars, and what can consumers expect to see coming from this market in 2022 and in the years to come?
Why is demand for electric vehicles growing?
Instead of the internal combustion engines found in traditional petrol and diesel cars, electric vehicles operate using battery-powered electric motors.
Pure-electric cars or battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs) are run solely on electric motor power and typically have an average range of 100 to 350 miles. These models do not have exhaust pipes and create no emissions, making them the most environmentally-friendly choice.
Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) run on electricity provided by a small battery and petrol or diesel fuel. Their maximum range is usually between 15 and 30 miles, after which the car will switch to fuel power until the vehicle recharges. Alternatively, hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) do not have a plug but use kinetic energy from regenerative braking to recharge their batteries on the move. HEVs can only run for a few miles using electricity alone.
This developing branch of the automotive industry produces cars that are quieter, more cost-efficient to run and have better resale value. Due to their many advantages for the planet, drivers and roads, there are also several incentives to owning an electric car, such as not paying congestion charges, financial grants and free parking in some places.
Plus, electric cars come equipped with all the benefits of modern manufacturing technology that facilitate a better driving experience with exciting gadgets and enhanced capabilities such as advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) in passenger cars.
Smart connectivity, automation and interactivity are massive selling points for EVs as consumer expectations for innovative technology grow in the post-pandemic world. With OEMs and start-ups alike churning out innovative new designs for the EV sector every year, the electric car market is forecast to continue its upward trajectory, with several new projects in the development pipeline for the future.
What lies ahead for the future of EVs?
As EVs become more accessible to consumers, we will see the development of even more models to suit a broader range of applications. Technological advances will also continue to expand the capabilities of electric cars and improve the overall efficiency and capacity of new vehicles.
Car manufacturers like Tesla and Ford are tapping into the growing market for electric pick-up trucks and off-road EVs. In countries like China and Vietnam, the electric two-wheeler market is taking off and is also at the forefront of battery swapping. Battery swapping, or battery-as-a-service, allows EV owners to replace discharged batteries with charged ones at swap stations for a more convenient user experience.
Developing suitable charging point infrastructure in the UK will be critical to overcoming the so-called ‘range anxiety’ that deters some people from opting for an electric vehicle. There has already been a dramatic increase in the amount of ultra-fast and public charging points, with the number of public charging devices installed growing 33% between March 2021 and March 2022 alone.
Thanks to rapidly evolving battery technology and manufacturing capabilities, electric vehicle prices will decrease in the coming years, with BEV prices expected to reach parity with internal combustion engine vehicles in all light vehicle segments in Europe between 2025 and 2027.
The automotive manufacturing industry may face obstacles to the manufacture of EVs due to supply issues, with shortages of semiconductors and other components of digital products expected to continue in the wake of COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine. However, supply chain management and investment in local manufacturing will help mitigate the impact of these disruptions on large-scale EV production.