UNDERSTANDING THE GLOBAL EV OUTLOOK 2019

The Global EV Outlook is a yearly publication that discusses current developments in electric vehicle mobility around the world and is developed with the help of members from the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI). This edition of the report features the analysis of the performance of electric cars and competing powertrain options in terms of GHG emissions over their lifecycle. It also discusses the challenges faced when transitioning to electric mobility and the solutions that can address these challenges.

Some of the findings are discussed below:

Electric Mobility Is Developing at a Rapid Pace

The first finding of the report was the rapid growth of electric mobility. In 2018, the global electric car fleet exceeded 5.1 million. This increase is almost double that of the previous year, with The People’s Republic of China retaining the title of the world’s largest electric car market, followed by Europe and the United States. China is said to have sold nearly 1.1 million cars in 2018, Europe sold 1.2 million, and the United States sold 1.1 million cars by the end of 2018. Although China topped the charts in terms of market sales, Norway remained the global leader in terms of its electric car market share at 46%. This figure is more than double that of the second-highest market shareholder—Ireland (17%). It is also six times higher than the third-highest shareholder—Sweden (8%).

By the end of 2018, there were more than 300 million electric vehicles on the road with sale figures in the tens of millions. Not surprisingly, the market for electric two/three-wheelers, electric buses, low-speed electric vehicles (LSEVs), and light-commercial vehicles (LCVs), that are mostly concentrated in China have all grown rapidly too. To add to this global EV stock is that of 5.2 million light-duty vehicle (LDV) chargers, (540 000 of which are publicly accessible), and 157,000 fast chargers for buses. 

The global electric vehicle fleet is said to have consumed an estimated 58 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity in 2018, of which two-wheelers accounted for the largest share (55%) of electricity demand, and China accounted for 80% of the world’s electricity demand for 2018. The global EV pool emitted about 38 million tonnes of CO2 (Mt CO2-eq) on a lifecycle basis. This is almost half the amount of an equivalent internal combustion engine (ICE) fleet (78 Mt CO2-eq). This has led to net savings of 40 Mt CO2-eq in 2018.

Source: BEVs = battery electric vehicles; PHEVs = plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Policies Have Major Influences on the Development of Electric Mobility

Useful policy measures are essential to stimulate automakers to increase the production and availability of electric vehicles. Policymakers can provide economic incentives to bridge the gap between electric vehicles and the less expensive ICE vehicles, as well as encourage the early development of charging infrastructure. Countries that are heavily involved in the rise of electric vehicles are already making progress on EV policy implementation. The European Union (EU) had significant policy approvals to include the fuel economy standards of cars and buses, and a Clean Vehicle Directive that provides for the public procurement of electric buses. 

Policies are essential to ensure that electric mobility has a positive impact on the environment, and opportunities for the integration of variable renewable energy sources for electricity generation are implemented. 

Technology Advances Are Delivering Substantial Cost Reductions for Batteries

High demand for batteries in consumer electronics has boosted its technological progress. With this progress comes the estimation that cost reductions are likely, if they are linked to developments in the automotive sector and the scaling up of manufacturing plants. Policy support has also been extended to the development of automotive batteries and this, in turn, has further helped to achieve cost reductions in battery storage for many applications. Another talking point is the manufacturing of solid-state batteries, which are garnering attention from all over the world and are a representative of the rapid pace at which innovation and economic growth have been successful in developing countries. Other options like the redesigning of vehicle manufacturing platforms to use simpler and more innovative design architecture and the presence of much fewer moving parts in EVs, have further influenced continued cost cuts. Not only has technology been progressing for batteries, but also battery chargers. There is a growing interest in the use of mega-chargers that could charge 1 MW or more. This will be especially useful in power heavy trucks, ships, and can even be used in the aviation industry.

Private Sector Response Confirms Escalating Momentum for Electric Mobility

Source

The private sector is proactively responding to EV policies and technological developments. The famous German auto manufacturer Volkswagen, has announced ambitious plans to electrify the car market, and Chinese manufacturers are actively deploying electric buses in Europe and Latin America as well. European manufacturers have also followed suit and in 2018, several truck manufacturers announced plans to increase the electrification of their product lines. Several utilities, charging point operators, charging hardware manufacturers, and other stakeholders in the power sector are increasing their investments in charging infrastructure. The American company DHL has pledged to reach 70% clean operations of last-mile pickups and deliveries by 2025. Steps like these will be crucial in ensuring that the transition from coal to cleaner energy takes place sooner rather than later.

Electric Cars Save More Energy Than They Use

The projected growth of EVs across all modes of transport will greatly impact the demand for oil, as the projected EV fleet is estimated to avoid 127 million tonnes of oil equivalent product demand by 2030. This means that EVs are going to be much more relevant for power systems than they have been in the past, and with uncontrolled charging, they can drive the incremental needs for peak power generation and transmission capacity. On the other hand, slow charging is more beneficial to power management systems. Concentrating on charging events at night when electricity demand is lower, could help flatten the overall shape of the power demand curve.

Right now, the lifecycle GHG emissions from EVs are determined by the combined evolution of the energy used by the EVs and the carbon intensity of electricity generation. The decarbonisation of power generation is important to limit the increase of GHG emissions from EVs. Countries that largely rely on coal to deliver electricity must transition towards a lower carbon generation mix by using renewables.

Safeguarding Government Revenue from Transport Taxation

EVs are subject to lower charges per kilometre as compared to ICE vehicles, therefore, in the short-term, road-use policies and vehicle and energy taxes in transportation need to be ready to adapt to changes in the vehicle and fuel markets posed by the transition to electric mobility. Through collaborations with stakeholders, tax regimes must be reformed for long-term challenges so as to ensure efficient use.

Conclusion

EV mobility is expanding at a rapid pace. Policies will certainly play a critical role in ensuring that technological advances will lead to significant cost cuts. Design architecture will be influenced by the private sector response towards more simpler and innovative designs. Battery manufacturing will also undergo significant changes, with more stakeholders interested in boosting their development.  All these changes will help deploy more EVs on the road and with certain adjustments to the taxation schemes, the transition from carbon-intensive fuels to zero-emissions mobility seems a very real possibility.

To read the whole report click here!

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