- Kenya sees investments for battery electric motorcycle taxis
- China looks ahead to autonomous EVs, artificial intelligence, partnerships
- Norway electric vehicle sales surpass 50 percent market share
Battery powered vehicle sales, manufacturing and infrastructure are expected to make major strides around the world this year. From emerging markets to industry leaders, here’s what we know about current global trends in transportation electrification.
“We are definitely on track to reach the 2025 target.”Oeyvind Thorsen, CEO, OFV (Road Traffic Information Council)
EV sales across Norway jumped (again) in 2020, overtaking the country’s sales of combustion-engine cars and bringing battery-powered cars to 54 percent of market share, according to Automotive News Europe.
Norway wants to be the first country to end the sale of gasoline and diesel cars, and it aims to do so by 2025. One way it’s been working to hit that target is by eliminating taxes on the sale of fully-electric vehicles.
So far, it seems to be working. 2020 was the first time EVs surpassed sales of all other vehicles.
“The trend toward electrification is correct in the medium-to-long term, but this is hasty.”Anonymous Honda executive, as reported in Nikkei Asia
By 2035, Japan aims to ban sales of all gas and diesel vehicles, according to Autoweek. Tokyo, specifically, is shooting for sooner–2030. But that doesn’t mean hybrid cars won’t be available to consumers around Japan, or that Japanese automakers will stop manufacturing combustion engine vehicles for foreign export.
As reported by Nikkei Asia, Tokyo will ask manufacturers to adhere to its ambitious plans rather than introduce legislation or impose penalties on those that don’t embrace them.
Industry leaders will likely push back. But, signaling compliance, Toyota has pledged to make all of its vehicles “equipped with electric vehicle functions (including hybrid models) by 2025.” (The company has sold over 15 million hybrid or electric vehicles in the past year alone, according to its website.) And Nissan indicates 60 percent of its vehicles will be electric as soon as 2023.
Thankfully, for consumers, the Japanese government announced in December it’s doubling subsidies for the sales of all new EVs, says Electrive.
“We must act with urgency to ensure global emissions fall to net zero by 2050.”Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand
All of New Zealand’s government fleets will be “fully carbon neutral” by 2025, if Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her administration meet their goals. Nearly 16K vehicles make up the country’s current public sector fleet. But, according to CleanTechnica, all governmental departments will be required to replace them with EVs in an effort to reach the nation’s net zero targets.
Further, as reported in Stuff.co, Megan Woods, Minister of Energy and Resources, aims for the nation as a whole to operate on 100 percent renewable energy by 2035, and have transitioned to a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.
Analysts speculate that shifts in legislation like these could drive EV sales significantly higher, by as much as 64 percent by 2025.
“At present…an EV should ideally be the second or subsequent vehicle in a typical Indian household.”HT Auto Desk, HindustanTimes.com
The pace of EV adoption across India is slow. Leaders there have set an ambitious 2030 goal for going all-electric, but charging infrastructure remains a barrier to widespread sales.
Nevertheless, India is focusing much of its mobility resources on electrifying public transit. It rolled out its first inter-city electric bus service in 2020, and plans to introduce 10K electric buses as well as 50K three-wheeled electric rickshaws across the country “within the next few years,” says Mordor Intelligence.
The country is also generating some incentives that make private ownership more affordable. Mercom reported in October 2020 that Delhi eliminated the road tax for drivers of fully electric cars, for instance. But it could take some time before sales really pick up.
“The recovery of our planet and of our economies can and must go hand-in-hand.”Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of England
You won’t be able to buy a combustion engine vehicle in 2030 in the U.K., says Prime Minister Boris Johnson. And if you’re in the market for a hybrid car, you only have until 2035 to get one, according to The Verge.
The ban on fossil fuel-run cars was announced recently as part of the U.K.’s ‘green industrial revolution,’ which aims to cut emissions across transportation sectors, including from air transit and shipping as well as private vehicle ownership.
Lucky for drivers across England, public charging equipment is abundant, especially in major cities such as London.
Scotland’s government procured a major investment last September to electrify more than 40 passenger buses, says Electrive, putting it well on its way to a greener future.
And Ireland reported in mid-2020 that more than 17K EVs were operating on roads there. With government fleets electrifying, consumer incentives available and lower-cost models attracting buyers (e.g., Renault Zoe), TechCentral says sales in Ireland could double in 2021.
“High tag price and public charging infrastructure absence have deeply discouraged electric vehicles adoption.”World Electric Vehicle Journal, Sept. 8, 2020
EV sales across Brazil remain somewhat slow, adding up to just about 1 percent of total market share for 2020, says Automotive World. Still, given its huge vehicle market, around 2K EVs per month were being sold across Brazil prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian government has announced plans to ban the sale of petrol and diesel-based vehicles by 2030, according to GlobalFleet.com. But unlike elsewhere, the country hasn’t invested in supporting electric mobility or offered any consumer incentives to spur its growth.
Instead, according to a report covered by Nature Research, Brazil has prioritized ‘flex fuel,’ a combination of ethanol and gasoline, to mitigate the climate crisis.
“Virtually identical” to gasoline-powered cars, says Car and Driver, flex fuel vehicles are somewhat cleaner for the environment than traditional cars but still emit significantly more carbon than electric ones. In fact, SocialSciences.com states that, “An ethanol powered car in Brazil emits almost four times more CO2 than a compatible electric vehicle.”
In order to begin seeing a wider embrace of EV technology there, experts believe public and private fleet electrification will be key. And for any meaningful strides to be made in the EV market, those changes need to come from the government.
“We’re getting as many [electric vehicles] as we can, but likely not as many as we need.”Pierre Boutin, President, CEO, Volkswagen Canada, Wheels.ca, Oct. 17,2020
Availability of electric vehicles sufficient to meet growing demand seems to have been a major hurdle for Canada in 2020. In addition, we know that charging infrastructure is a challenge for such a vast country with geographically hard-to-reach communities.
While 2020 initially brought a 50 percent jump in EV sales to Canada, says InsideEVs, the pandemic surely slowed things down. Still, the Canadian government offers generous rebates ($5K for new purchases) and other incentives to entice buyers. Unfortunately, according to Wheels.ca, just two-thirds of dealerships last year had a battery-powered vehicle on their lots. And buyers have had to wait many months to get their new EVs.
But Electric Autonomy, with its newly released Canadian EV Tracker, says more models, and wider dissemination of them, are on the way.
Thanks to locally-based OEMs like Lion Electric out of Quebec, Canadian (and U.S.) fleets have seen an uptick in electrification. Lion manufactures and delivers battery-electric powered school buses and delivery trucks. Solving two problems at once, it would seem, Lion recently announced a new partnership with FLO and AddEnergie. The triad will now offer fast-charging equipment as part of the package for Lion EV customers.
“E-mobility has become a mainstream feature of the mobile society.”Richard Damm, President of Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority
2020 saw triple the number of EV sales across Germany above 2019’s figures, according to European Autonews.com. This puts it “well on its way to reaching its goal of having 7 million to 10 million registered electric vehicles on German roads by 2030.”
Transportation leaders there have been eager to see the country’s vast and ample, yet underutilized, network of charging stations get put to more use. As of mid-2020, there were well over 30K such stations, 80 percent of which are operated by electric utilities. Those utilities had been hoping to see a return on their investments, but the pace of consumer sales wasn’t quite keeping up with such rapid infrastructure expansion.
At least not until now. According to Electrive.com, Volkswagen sold 212K EVs in 2020–an increase of 197 percent over 2019. Audi sold nearly 50K e-Trons. Mercedes sold about the same number across all its electric models. Sales figures like these prove demand for EVs is thriving despite the global pandemic.
“Government agencies are working together to provide the necessary infrastructure for non-fuel based cars.”Miriam Wangui, Kenyan Wall Street
The desire to reduce emissions and advance EV technology in Kenya is strong, but charging infrastructure is lagging, and it’s still quite expensive to buy an electric car there. Nevertheless, says Changing Transport’s Herman Kwoba, “electric mobility is gradually gaining momentum.”
Yahoo Finance points out the country is well on its way to a greener future: “Currently, more than 93 percent of Kenya’s electricity demand was met by renewable energy and the country has secured funding to electrify its new rail system.”
In addition, Alternet Systems Inc. (ALYI), with funding from RevoltToken, recently launched a “comprehensive strategy to build a far-reaching electric vehicle ecosystem” across Sub-Saharan Africa, to include public transport vehicles and charging infrastructure. It will begin in Kenya, according to a press release distributed earlier this week.
ALYI is set to deploy 2K electric motorcycles into the country’s taxi system starting this July, and to continue building out its ecosystem into the future. This ought to help the country achieve its goal of 5 percent EV market share by 2025, says Kenyan Wall Street.
Meanwhile, duties on importing foreign electric vehicles to Kenya was from 20 down to 10 percent recently by its government, says Changing Transport. This is important because Kenya doesn’t currently have a domestic EV manufacturer, so buying foreign is the only way to go.
Swedish-born electric drive train company Opibus, however, does operate a local subsidiary in Nairobi. It hires local engineers and technologists, and allows local drivers and fleet operators to convert their combustion-engine cars to electric.
“The sector is expected to become staggeringly huge.”South China Morning Post, Jan. 26, 2021
It’s no secret that China leads the world in EV sales and manufacturing. It invested early in offering incentives to spur the market. Under such conditions, consumers bought 1.3M electric vehicles there in 2020, up from 1.2M in 2019.
But last month, the Chinese government announced it would cut back on subsidies for EV purchases, according to Fortune.com, “claiming that production had gotten cheap enough to no longer warrant government support.” Nevertheless, EV sales are expected to continue climbing across China this year.
What’s more notable, however, are the many partnerships taking shape to bring EVs to the next level. Manufacturers and battery producers; utilities and technology companies; governments and investors are teaming up, all to infuse tomorrow’s EVs with self-driving capabilities, 5G, artificial intelligence, cloud computing software and more, according to the South China Morning Post.
These newly formed alliances could signal a major shift in the way we, as a society, achieve mobility. Such is the nature of progress, where collaboration, above all, is key.
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