Electric vehicles (EVs) will reach a ‘tipping point’ within the next two years, with emission regulations and price reductions expected to push them into the mainstream as early as next year.

Transport and Environment (T&E), the European body for non-governmental organisations lobbying for more sustainable transport, says the electric car is about to go mainstream in Europe, with 2020-2021 as a tipping point.

The main reason is Europe’s strict CO2 reduction (95g/km) requirements for the car industry. From 60 ‘electric models’ (including plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles) available at the end of 2018, the continent will see 176 models in 2020 and 214 in 2021, with 333 models expected by 2025.

T&E based its predictions on forecast data from IHS Markit and in-house analysis.

In July it released a report predicting production of electric cars would multiply six times between 2019 and 2025, reaching more than 4 million EVs, which is over 20 per cent of EU car production volumes.

T&E expects there will be sufficient production capacity in Europe, with enough batteries to power the electric fleet, “provided the current plans are delivered”.

“Currently, at least 16 large-scale lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facilities exist or are likely to come online across Europe. The confirmed plans alone will deliver up to 131 GWh of battery production capacity in 2023 (growing to 274 GWh in 2028),” the report said.

“The 2023 demand needed to electrify vehicles (cars, vans, buses, and trucks) and for stationary storage, batteries, is estimated by T&E at around 130 GWh, or within the planned capacity, provided it comes online on schedule.”

With the EU set to impose huge fines on manufacturers that don’t meet the goal of 95 grams per kilometre CO2 as an average for the whole brand fleet sold by the end of 2020, the European car industry is accelerating the development of the electric car.

Next year, 176 EV models will be available in Europe, with the Volkswagen Group delivering 35 of those. Daimler is next with 19 models, followed by PSA (17), Hyundai-Kia (16), BMW (15) and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, Volvo/Geely and FCA with 13 each.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will have nine EV models, while Honda will only have two and Ford four. Tesla will have five models by then. T&E says Ford predicts it will have ten electric models by 2025, compared to 78 for the Volkswagen Group.

Ford, however, has announced it will partner with Volkswagen on the further development of electric and autonomous cars. Volkswagen had previously announced it would share the technology of its dedicated electric platform (MEB) with others, even outside the VW Group.

For its own electric cars in Europe Ford will use the MEB platform, which will be further developed in Ford’s Merkenich R&D centre (near Cologne, Germany), and should be on the road in 2023.

56 million EVs by 2040

American news and analysis agency, Bloomberg, predicts that by 2040 around 56 million electric cars will be sold per year worldwide, outstripping conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
Bloomberg predicts a worldwide EV fleet of 550 million in 2040, a far more ambitious figure than that floated by the oil industry, with British BP and the OPEC predicting it will be only 300 million.

Batteries six times cheaper

According to Bloomberg, the cost of batteries for EVs will fall over the next nine years by a factor of six. Consumers will be more and more aware of the cost-effectiveness of electric vehicles with far fewer parts and maintenance requirements, and governments will push them with subsidies. Bloomberg expects car sharing platforms to invest heavily in EVs, with 8 of 10 vehicles being an EV by 2040.

The revolution is mirrored in the United States, where there are already more than 40 plug-in electric cars for sale. Ten more are expected to be introduced this year, with another 14 expected in 2020, promising an unprecedented level of compelling designs, long range and attractive prices.

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