The parade of more than 150 electric vehicles during the 2011 Michelin Challenge Bibendum in Berlin, where more than 4,000 personalities from various parts of the world gathered to shape the future of mobility, somewhat heralded the transformation of how cars are now being made.
The tire manufacturer wanted to give the world a preview of what to expect on the mobility front, so at that enormous conference at the former Tempelhof Airport Convention Center, a variety of small and enormous 2-wheel, 3-wheel, and 4-wheel vehicles running on “electric” were launched.
“We need to encourage the electrification of vehicles, improving internal combustion engines, and utilizing a variety of energy sources. All this needs to be done concurrently without wasting any time, with defined objectives, a well-balanced regulatory framework and all this must be coordinated globally. In contrast to conventional technologies, which will undoubtedly still be used due to the high prices of energy, raw materials, and de-pollution solutions, we need to outline the scenarios under which these technologies will become economically feasible. This is why we are emphasizing the business case component in the numerous workshops that we are planning for Berlin,” said Patrick Oliva – the chairman of the Michelin Challenge Bibendum, whose statements, few years later, seemed to foretell future developments.
Yes, almost ten years after that incident, the world has come to accept “electric vehicles” as one of the finest options for a more sustainable and cost-effective transportation system.
The call to “decarbonize” the environment was already in full swing just before the pandemic hit the entire world in 2020. The majority of customers supported the clean air initiatives that were promoted by various governments throughout the world.
The majority of European nations began producing their cars exclusively out of electric power while accelerating the development of their electric infrastructure. Europe can be considered a success in its transition to EVs, even though it took some time and was briefly derailed.
Up until the middle of the 2010s, the industry’s focus was on diesel technology because of the strict emissions regulations set by the European Union. However, after Volkswagen was implicated in the massive “Dieselgate” emissions-cheating scandal in 2015, work on EV technology—which had previously advanced in the background as diesel technology advanced—began to pick up speed. Germany is setting the pace for the continued fast expansion of manufacturing capacity. German manufacturers in particular have historically depended heavily on the Chinese market, and Europe’s reaction to how quickly the Chinese EV market was expanding also had a role.
The two countries where the development of EVs significantly advanced were China and the United States
With the help of Elon Musk’s Tesla, an electric vehicle (EV) production that swamped not only the US market but the entire world, Elon Musk is a visionary multi-billionaire.
As it tackled its pollution problem, China began converting its fleet of public and private buses to electric vehicles (EVs). Many manufacturers were persuaded to switch to electric vehicles with the assistance of the government through various incentives, and consumers showed a great deal of enthusiasm.
2015 marked the “Made in China 2025” movement – a long-term industrial strategy with the objective of becoming China the world’s leading vehicle producer by 2025. The strategy sets a goal of 20% of all new car sales being electric and other new-energy cars, which is anticipated to be reached by 2022. The Chinese government was successful in creating a comprehensive supply chain for batteries and other electric car components by providing significant subsidies for electric vehicles and enacting laws that benefited domestic manufacturers. A phased reduction in subsidies in recent years and worries that EVs would lose popularity resulted from the Chinese market at one point becoming oversaturated with literally hundreds of EV manufacturers vying for business. However, rapid growth in charging infrastructure ensured that China’s EV policy got off the ground.
Japanese automakers, who have long dominated the global mobility market, were slow to jump on the EV bandwagon since they experimented with the technology for a very long period and had little success with their own battery-powered EVs. As a result, they have been pushing hard for the hybrid system, which powers the car with both electric and gasoline batteries.
Here’s an intriguing perspective from a Japanese writer on why that country would be viewed as a latecomer to the EV boom. See how Kuwajima Hiroaki put it: “In 2020, there were slightly under 120,000 electric vehicles (including plug-in hybrids) sold worldwide that were built in Japan. The sum for both Nissan and Toyota is shown here. No doubt, Japanese automakers were quick to introduce electric vehicles. With the i-MiEV, Mitsubishi led the way in electric vehicle development in Japan in 2009. Nissan followed suit with the Leaf in 2010, and Toyota followed with the midsize SUV RAV4 EV in 2012. Therefore, it is not always the case that Japanese firms are coming late to the party. Instead, Japanese producers never increased their capacity for EV production. This is due to the many years spent developing expertise in the production of internal combustion engines, an area in which Japanese automakers excel, as well as the Prius, which Toyota introduced in 1997, and other hybrid vehicles, which are fiercely competitive. It cannot be denied that the enormous costs associated with the development of a brand-new platform have made them hesitant to invest in new technology that would take a long time to turn a profit (a phenomenon similar to what Harvard lecturer Clayton Christensen dubbed the “innovator’s dilemma”).
Furthermore, hybrid production plants have now fully depreciated, making hybrids a leading source of revenue for Japanese auto manufacturers.In addition, manufacturers in Japan are still leery of EVs because of difficulties in setting up a charging infrastructure, problems with lithium-ion batteries’ safety and cost, problems with range, and problems with the rare earths and conflict minerals imported from Africa and other places to make the motors and batteries that make up the bulk of EVs. Japanese manufacturers may have misinterpreted the swift expansion in the EV market seen in nations like the United States and China, which was worsened by delays in acquiring information on outside markets owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The history of the Japanese automobile industry also indicates that, despite some differences between manufacturers, the industry still tends to be vertically integrated, with trade largely kept within corporate group silos. As a result, the prospect of restructuring a component supply chain optimized for legacy technology is extremely expensive.
Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the boom for these supposedly eco-friendly electric automobiles began in 2021, and it continued through 2022.
According to the most recent edition of the yearly Global Electric Vehicle Outlook, the number of electric cars (totally electric and plug-in hybrids) sales doubled in 2021 to a new record of 6.6 million.
Sales continued to grow rapidly into 2022 despite supply chain challenges, with 2 million electric cars sold globally in the first quarter, up by 75 percent from the same period a year earlier. By the end of 2021, there were around 16.5 million electric vehicles on the road worldwide, which was quadruple the number in 2018.
In 2021, the number of electric car sales in China nearly tripled to 3.3 million, accounting for roughly half of all global sales. Sales increased significantly in both Europe (by 65% to 2.3 million) and the United States (more than doubling to 630 000). Compared to other markets, Chinese electric vehicles are often smaller.
EVs are gradually making their way into the Top 10, and their ascent to the top is truly rapid and furious, despite the fact that cars powered by ICEs still dominate the global market.
The Corolla and RAV4 from Toyota were ranked first and second in a recent survey of the best-selling vehicles worldwide. In 2022, 1.12 million Corollas were sold compared to 870,000 RAV4s. But strangely, compared to last year, both of their sales were down. In contrast to last year, the Corolla is down 2% while the RAV4 has significantly decreased by 14%.
With 787,000 sales last year, the Ford F-Series is a very close third overall. However, this number is lower by 9% than their revenues for 2021.
The two Tesla EVs, the Model Y and the Model 3, which are the biggest surprises, are both electric vehicles. With 759,000 sales, the Tesla Model Y is fourth overall. Many people were surprised by its popularity given that its sales this year are an astounding 88 percent higher than they were last year. The Tesla Model 3, on the other hand, came in at number seven with 596,000 sales, an increase of 4% from 2021.
The two other ICE cars are the Honda CR-V, which sold 601,000 units in 2022, down 18% from last year’s sales, and the Toyota Camry, which came in at No. 5 with sales of P675,000, a 3% decrease.
Although one could argue that gas-powered cars are still in their prime. Those electric cars are definitely moving slowly. While they still still represent a small portion of new car sales, their market shares are increasing slowly but steadily in most areas, and there are some pieces of information that make it evident that EVs are rapidly replacing conventional vehicles.
Many automakers have plans to electrify their fleets that go beyond legislative targets, and an increasing number of nations have ambitious vehicle electrification ambitions for the ensuing decades. Globally, there were 450 electric car models available by the end of 2021, which is five times as many as there were in 2015.
However, buyers are beginning to have second thoughts about electric cars. Additionally, the bulk of Japanese automakers are urging its devoted customers to purchase hybrid automobiles.
Hybrid vehicles, which come in a variety of varieties such plug-in hybrids, mild hybrids, and complete hybrids, use both an internal combustion gasoline engine and an electric motor for power.
Hybrids lessen range anxiety because they do not run only on electricity, and you do not have to schedule longer journeys around available charging stations. They also guarantee greater fuel efficiency than their gasoline-only equivalents.
It is important to compare your potential purchase to other comparable conventionally powered alternatives because the benefits may not always be a given, regardless of whether you are looking for performance or economy from a hybrid arrangement. Any economic advantages a hybrid vehicle may have are swiftly offset by higher initial purchase costs, lengthy highway travel, and reckless driving. Conversely, if you spend the majority of your commute in the traffic, stick mainly to city roads and can take advantage of the electric-only mode on a regular basis, a hybrid can offer a significant fuel saving.