Fairfax Tech Talk Column

Fairfax Tech Talk Column

08.1.2021 The year that the EV revolutions starts - Tech Talk Column 232


This will be the year that…how many times do we hear a prediction that finally, after a few false starts or stalled attempts, the BIG change is about to happen. It might be about the performance of an individual in sport or in relation to an election result. Technology has a history of making overly ambitious promises and then working hard to deliver. It was 1878 when Thomas Edison promised to light up a square mile of Manhattan “any day now.” Edison’s team did manage to deliver – four years after his initial promise!

Well today I am going to declare that this will be the year that…history will look back and say the future of the electric car finally started. It was just over ten years ago when the first-generation Nissan LEAF was introduced to the world. It was the first mass-market electric vehicle produced by a traditional car manufacturer.

Despite this decade of activity in the electric car space, global sales last year only accounted for 3 per cent of overall volume. Sure, I am an electric vehicle fan. I own three and I have been driving EVs and before that hybrid vehicles going way back to 2005 so I may be wearing glasses that are slightly rose coloured, but what does the research say?

ABI Research just issued its 2021 Trend Report and they believe all the indicators are there for EVs to start to make their way in to the mainstream this year. A mixture of policy and production will bring this market to fruition. We have seen clear evidence that when governments create EV-friendly policies, consumers respond. In 2016 Norway made the decision to ban the sales of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles by 2025. Norway currently leads the world with EVs making up 56 per cent of all new car sales. Iceland sits at 26 per cent of new car sales. The Iceland government removes import excise duties and VAT for EVs. The Netherlands has a similar story. The 15 per cent market share has been driven (sorry – too tempting to use that pun) by exemption of registration fees and road taxes. Many countries have bans in place for the sales of ICE vehicles that take effect over the next fifteen years. Belgium: 2026. Austria: 2027. Denmark, Iceland, India, and many more: 2030. Even states in the US are part of the process. California and Massachusetts have both put in place a ban on ICE sales by 2035.

With governments on board, manufacturers have confidence in sales volumes increasing. Tesla fell short by 450 vehicles of their target of 500,000 vehicle deliveries in 2020 but Tesla isn’t the only manufacturer. As further proof of the rubber hitting the road (two for the week) I expect to see a minimum of twenty-five new EV models available this year. These models will be a mixture of cars from traditional manufacturers and new companies entering the EV space. Companies such as Audi; BMW; Ford; Lexus; Mercedes; Porsche; Volkswagen and Volvo all have new models launching this year. Then there are new names that may become household in years to come. Cupra; Polestar; Rivian and Lucid are brands either created from traditional manufacturers or new start-ups but they all have new EVs to offer the market.

ABI predicts that 25 per cent of all new vehicle sales worldwide will be electric by the year 2030 but I believe the figure will be much closer to 50 per cent in the year 2030.

Tell me the percentage of EV sales you expect to see in the year 2030 at ask@techtalk.digital.

Mathew Dickerson