Electric vehicles are expected to disrupt the conventional automotive ecosystem in coming years
Today’s cars and trucks travel using an internal combustion engine that burns gasoline or other fossil fuels, which has caused some serious concerns. As per United States Environmental Protection Agency, a conventional passenger car emits about 4.1 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. The number may vary based on the vehicle's fuel, condition, and the number of miles driven per year. This has not only impacted negatively on the environment but also caused severe concerns to human health, economy, and global warming. Transport alone is responsible for around 30% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, of which more than 70% is coming from road transport. This issue is enormous to handle and needs a strategic plan to control. Governing authorities have taken measures to control vehicle pollution by setting up standard rules and regulations across the globe. Despite decades of efforts undertaken to control pollution caused by automobiles, people are still living in areas with chronic smog problems including metropolitan cities across the globe. As per our secondary sources, two thirds of death from air pollution in India were attributed to exhaust emissions from diesel vehicles. There were nearly 385,000 deaths in 2015 in the country due to pollution caused by air pollution and on-road vehicles were responsible for approx. 50% of them in 2015.
So, what could be the solution to control or completely eliminate the pollution caused by automobiles? There are two ways to minimize the CO2 emission by vehicles:
- Proper maintenance and use of replacement fuels which cause less emissions,
- Use of electric vehicles which do not require burning of fossil fuels for vehicles to run.
Let’s see how electric vehicles, which are gaining much attention and commercialization among users will impact the conventional automotive sector.
The background of the concept of zero emission vehicles goes back to the early 2000’s. However, the concept of electric vehicles took a leap when Tesla came into the picture and the Lotus Elise-based, lithium-ion battery-powered Tesla Roadster was introduced in 2008. Now the electric vehicle ecosystem is huge and incorporates numerous stakeholders including vehicle manufacturers, battery manufacturers, technology integrators, and others. We predict that there will be more than 22 million passenger electric cars by the end of 2025, globally. This growth is majorly attributed to changing mindsets of consumers towards lower levels of CO2 emissions and mandatory zero emission vehicle programs as well as other supportive rules & regulations imposed by respective governments across the globe.
Now, how this growth in demand for electric vehicles will affect the conventional automotive industry? Let’s analyze it for each of the stakeholder present in the value chain:
Automobile manufacturers are now diverting their focus towards electric vehicles. In April 2021, Toyota announced its BEV series – Toyota bZ. A concept version of the first model in the mentioned series – Toyota bZ4X is expected to be introduced in Shanghai. The company plans to launch 15 BEVs including 7 from the bZBEV series by 2025, globally. The company is taking initiatives to set up a full line-up of electrified vehicles which is working to reduce carbon emissions, based on the concept of introducing sustainable vehicles to the market.
Dealers will have to embrace the new technology and learn to sell both the conventional model of cars as well as electric vehicles. A diversified skill-set will be required among sales representatives which are well aware about the product descriptions, benefits, and usage.
Suppliers will need to re-invent their business models as per the emerging trends in the automotive industry. Failure to do so can compromise their survival in the industry.
Incentives and subsidies have created a positive impact among consumers. The increasing number of charging stations network, technological advancements such as emergence of supercharging, battery swapping stations, etc., and superior features of electric vehicles are expected to boost the demand for electric vehicles among consumers.
Governing authorities have welcomed the concept of electric vehicles with open arms as it significantly reduced the carbon footprint and other concerns caused by conventional automobiles. Initiatives such as subsidies or incentives, removal of tolls on expressways, and priority of parking spots for electric vehicles will promote the adoption of electric vehicles.
Other stakeholders include market players who have taken a keen interest in the electric vehicle concept and have been actively participating in the industry through some breathtaking initiatives. For instance, Uber – one of the largest rideshare companies recently introduced its zero-emission incentive and Uber Green category which offers its riders an option to choose drivers with electric cars. The company is also planning to include only electric cars in its fleet by 2030.
Envoy Technologies is a vendor who connects real estate property owners to electric vehicle fleets with which they can promote zero-emission mobility within their premises. The company offers a platform wherein users can raise requests to reserve electric vehicles on demand to travel from one place to another within the boundaries.
The market for electric vehicles surely has a great future ahead, however it demands supportive factors such as awareness among consumers, regulations, promotional activities from vendors as well as governments, and so on.