Electric Vehicles (EV) are already a mainstay on the roads, with a growing number of all-electric models being available to buy right now. The electric effect is now in full force, with established brands committing to offering a wider range of pure electric cars in the future, while those who depend heavily on diesel are seeing sales falter – with a deadline of 2030 in regions like the UK to halt sales in combustion cars.
Although EVs have been on the market for some time now, the mass public uptake of the technology has not happened. Concerns about charging between journeys, as well as range anxiety are key barriers to buying an EV – but this could change very well in the future with the improvement of battery technology among others. EV Prices are falling, models are diversifying and it’s all going hand-in-hand with increased investment and roll-out of charging networks. And with the auto industry investing billions to meet strong pollution standards globally, the oil industry has good reason to be nervous.
No wonder the oil industry is skittish. Bloomberg predicts the EV “revolution” will displace 13 million barrels a day of crude by 2040 and 2 million barrels per day as early as 2023. It’s easy to see why the future of electric vehicles is bright. Here are five reasons Why the Future of vehicles is Inevitably Electric in the next 10 years and beyond.
1. Future Infrastructure will adapt to Charge more EVs than ever
If the ambitious goals of the green industrial revolution are to be met, technology must adapt to the needs of people from all walks of life. We cannot simply ban everyone from getting a petrol car, install a charging point in every neighbourhood and think that will be sufficient. The number of EVs roaming the roads is estimated to increase to 116M by 2030, which would be a fleet 13 times bigger than the current one. In this new world, EVs will be predominant. In order to service this new landscape, the existing scale of EV charging infrastructure needs to increase significantly.
Having an EV charging network in each country will be key to successfully motivate citizens to buy an electric car. The number of stations available, location of the stations, fast charging capabilities, etc. are all variables that will need to be improved in each region to adapt to this new reality. Let’s take a look at some innovative solutions and trends in EV Charging that help to push the electric car revolution:
The name is pretty self-explanatory: Bidirectional chargers are a type of charging technology that goes two ways. How does this work? When an EV is charged, AC (Alternating Current) from the grid is converted to DC (Direct Current) power. This can be carried out by either the car’s own converter or a converter located in the charger. In addition to charging an EV in the traditional sense, this technology allows for energy stored in an EV’s battery to power a house/external load (V2H) or send it back to the grid (V2G).
Charging devices without cables isn’t new – (think about charging your wireless electric toothbrush) and this wireless charging is also applicable to electric vehicles. By parking the car on a spot with a charger on the ground, the vehicle’s battery can be refilled wirelessly. It works in a similar way to wireless phone chargers, but on a bigger scale. As one can imagine, the amount of energy being exchanged in these wireless systems far outpaces a wireless cell phone charger, and these innovations must be robust, safe, and certified solutions, often pointing to a long path to market for startups developing them.
Israeli startup Electreon wireless takes this to another level. Instead of charging while the vehicle is parked, charging happens even when the vehicle is in motion. The company aims to create and build the first electric city road in the world, with their demo project in Tel Aviv. it will form a 2km (1.2 mile) stretch between the tel aviv university and their main train station. The concept itself enables EVs to charge while driving, powered by charging coils buried underneath the road surface. This ensures energy can be fuelled on the go and the range of EVs is maximized.
Tesla, ABB, ChargePoint, EVbox and other OEMs and networks offer fast-charging stations already. With these stations you can fully charge your car in around 20-60 minutes, which is still far from the time it would take to fill a tank of gas. That’s the ultimate goal, though: to fully charge a vehicle in less than 10 minutes. Among other hurdles associated with handling the huge amounts of power needed for these solutions, if not done correctly, fast charging can lead to faster degradation of the battery.
Portable Charging Units
Range anxiety represents the main concern for those considering buying an EV. What if you run out of battery and can’t find a charging station that’s close enough? There’s good news, though. Startups are building power banks for cars, just like there are power banks to charge smartphones, and you’ll be able to order them right from a cellphone app.
2. Improved Battery Technology will power Future Electric Vehicles
Liquid lithium-ion batteries have some inherent shortcomings which limit the potential of electric vehicles. Solid-state batteries, an emerging technology, could deliver improved performance at a comparatively low cost. The technology is still under development and automobile companies are vying to be the first to introduce this technology in the market.
Are Solid-State Batteries the Future of Electric Vehicles?
A potential alternative to liquid lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are solid-state batteries (SSBs) which use solid electrodes and electrolytes rather than liquid or polymer electrolytes. The adoption of SSBs is expected to be a gamechanger for electric vehicles (EVs) as these batteries offer high performance and safety at a lower cost.
SSBs have been under research for some time and are finally ready to enter the EV market. Several automobile companies are racing to be the first to launch the revolutionary battery. The global SSB market is estimated to expand from USD 62 million in 2020 to USD 483 million by 2027, at a CAGR of 34.2%. One of the main growth drivers is expected to be the rising application of SSBs in EVs.
Why solid-state batteries?
SSBs have many advantages such as lower flammability, higher-potential cathodes, improved cycle characteristics, higher stability, increased life span, ease of fabrication, better electrochemical stability, and higher energy density compared to liquid batteries. However, the most attractive feature of SSBs is their ability to increase the range of EVs by 80% compared to LIBs.
One of the leading developers of SSBs, QuantumScape, has shared the performance data for the batteries based on its R&D activities. The company has managed to overcome critical issues related to charging time, cycle life, safety, and operating temperature, among others, making SSBs ideal for EVs.
Major advantages of SSBs are given below.
Increased safety – SSBs use flame-retardant electrolytes, making them less susceptible to fire accidents. This makes them a much safer option than LIBs, which use liquid electrolytes; battery leakage poses a threat to the entire vehicle.
High energy density – The energy density of SSBs can be increased per kg as these batteries are 80–90% thinner and have higher decomposition voltage than LIBs. This results in enhanced energy density and consequently high power output. This, in turn, could significantly raise EVs’ driving range, thereby eliminating the requirement for frequent charging.
Fast charging – Liquid electrolytes tend to heat up due to fast charging which is risky for vehicles. As SSBs do not have liquid electrolytes, they provide higher safety compared to liquid LIBs, making them highly attractive in the EV market.
Low cost – Installation and maintenance costs of conventional liquid LIBs are very high. This is mostly attributed to scarcity of raw materials such as cobalt. SSBs are considered comparatively cost-effective.
The manifold benefits of SSBs have resulted in several automobile brands in the Original Equipment Manufacturers segment investing in the technology:
QuantumScape, a Bill Gates-backed start-up, has received USD 100 million from Volkswagen for the development of SSBs. The company has already worked on a prototype single-layer pouch cell. QuantumScape has reported attractive features such as battery recharge up to 80% in 15 minutes; this would enable a car to cover thousands of miles even in extreme temperatures. Volkswagen is aiming to manufacture one million EVs by 2025, including SSB-powered vehicles.
Solid Power, a company working on SSBs, has received an investment of USD 20 million from BMW. The automobile company plans to launch 12 different models of EVs by 2025. Toyota is leading the race for the launch of SSB-powered EVs. It has already initiated its pilot projects. However, a fully commercialized vehicle is expected to enter the market only by 2030. Toyota has also formed a joint venture with Panasonic to develop innovative next-generation SSBs for EVs. Hyundai has invested in a US-based start-up, Ionic Materials, which develops solid-state electrolyte materials. Hyundai plans to launch SSB-powered EVs by 2025.
The biggest challenge facing SSBs is related to the dynamics of the solid electrolyte and electrode interface (cathode (or anode)/electrolyte interface). In solid electrolytes paired with lithium anodes, the lithium metal has been found to penetrate to the Li/solid electrolyte interface during electrodeposition and extend through the bulk of the solid electrolyte, causing short circuits and battery damage. Additionally, Li/ solid electrolyte interfaces are thermodynamically unstable. Structural and chemical changes naturally occur upon contact and under electrochemical operation; this could alter ion transport characteristics and mechanical integrity.
The development of high-performance all SSBs would require greater control over the evolution and reactivity of the solid electrolyte/electrode interface.
3. Benefits of electric cars on the environment
EVs have gained importance as the world looks for ways to reduce the carbon pollution and oil dependency that fuel dangerous climate change. They emit fewer greenhouse gases and air pollutants than petrol or diesel cars. And this takes into account their production and electricity generation to keep them running.
The major benefit of electric cars is the contribution that they can make towards improving air quality in towns and cities. With no tailpipe, pure electric cars produce no carbon dioxide emissions when driving. This reduces air pollution considerably.
Put simply, electric cars give us clean streets making our towns and cities a better place to be for pedestrians and cyclists. In over a year, just one electric car on the roads can save an average 1.5 million grams of CO2. That’s the equivalent of four return flights from London to Barcelona.
Through their entire lifetime, electric cars are better for the climate.
In the manufacturing process, electric vehicles will produce more global warming emissions than the average gasoline vehicle, because electric cars’ large lithium-ion batteries require a lot of materials and energy to build. (For example, manufacturing a mid-sized electric car with an 84-mile range, results in 15% more emissions.)
However, once the vehicles get on the road, it’s a whole different energy story. Electric vehicles make up for their higher manufacturing emissions within, at most, eighteen months of driving — and continue to outperform gasoline cars until the end of their lives
The average electric car on the road today has the same greenhouse-gas emissions as a car getting 88 miles per gallon — which is far greater than the average new gasoline-powered car (31 mpg) or truck (21 mpg),
Electric vehicles have a smaller carbon footprint than gasoline-powered cars, no matter where your electricity comes from.
The electricity that charges and fuels battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles comes from power grids, which rely on a range of sources — from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy.
Energy grids can vary from one state to another, which means that the carbon footprint of driving an electric vehicle ranges depending on the source of its electricity.
The very good news? Because electric vehicles are more efficient in converting energy to power cars and trucks, electricity across the board is cleaner and cheaper as a fuel for vehicles, even when that electricity comes from the dirtiest grid.
Running electric or hybrid cars on the grid in any state has lower greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline-powered cars, as revealed in a study by experts at the Union of Concerned Scientists. And as states clean up their energy grids, the benefits of electric vehicles become stronger.
4. Electric Buses will be the future mode of Mass City Transport
A short battery range has been a big factor in the slow sales of many electric vehicles. But there’s one form of transport where that isn’t really an issue: buses. Most municipal routes in the U.S.and major cities worldwide are less than 20 miles, making EVs a viable–perhaps even preferable–alternative.
Matt Horton sells buses to transit agencies around the world, so he’s pretty well versed in what people don’t like about the product. For him, a key pain point is perception.
“A lot of what people don’t like about buses is due to the diesel engine at their heart,” says Horton. “Buses are seen as noisy and polluting.”
Horton, the chief commercial officer for Proterra, a U.S.-based manufacturer of electric buses, doesn’t worry about that problem anymore. With the rise of Tesla, increasing concerns over urban pollution, and a budding, if still small, EV marketplace, 100 percent electric buses are not just a reality, but, as Horton sees it, are ready to take over the market.
“We believe buses will be the first market to go 100 percent electric,” he says. For air quality reasons, many operators have moved away from diesel in favor of either diesel hybrid or natural gas. Experts claim that electric makes more sense in the long-term because its costs are only likely to fall, while the price of fossil fuels is uncertain.
Electric buses cost upward of $700,000, significantly more than their diesel peers, but Horton says the fuel savings and lower maintenance costs make them cheaper long-term investments. Over its lifetime, an electric bus could save $400,000 in fuel expenses and $125,000 in averted maintenance costs, according to figures from bus manufacturer New Flyer that were cited in the report.
Electric buses could provide fuel and maintenance savings of up to $50,000 a year over fossil fuel powered buses, resulting in a five year payback period, according to estimates from another bus manufacturer, Proterra, cited in the report. Electric buses have significantly fewer parts than fossil fuel buses. They do not have an exhaust system, their braking systems last longer, and they do not require oil changes. In addition, if a bus is equipped with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities, it could potentially generate up to $6,000 a year in V2G revenues, depending on a utility’s rates.
“We believe transportation will change dramatically over the next 10 years, and think electric buses will be a viable, critical piece of the transportation industry,” he says. “EVs will be seen as the workhorses. Think how this can impact other city fleets, from maintenance crews to garbage trucks.”
5. Society is making a switch to electrification in the very near future
Governments and countries around the world are making plans right now to completely change their societies into abandoning fossil fuel vehicles and making the switch to electrification in order to reduce their own emissions. Here is a general timeline of these plans so far:
Several cities across the European Union already have some form of restrictions in place for petrol and diesel-powered vehicles. But the first national level restriction on the books that’ll go into effect is going to be in Norway where the country is presently planning on banning the sale of all new diesel and petrol vehicles by 2025 – or in other words just four years from now
Currently, existing diesel and petrol vehicles will of course still be able to be driven, you just won’t be able to buy a newly manufactured one. The only new vehicles you’ll be allowed to buy are non-fossil fuel vehicles and it’s already begun to affect the country. Over 60 percent of new car purchases in Norway are already EVs which is the highest market share of any country in the world so far. But they’re far from the only place that’s planning on restricting the sale of fossil fuel vehicles in the future, they’re just the first.
Austria plans on limiting the registration of new taxis and ride shares to EVs only by 2027. By 2030. Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Slovenia and India all have some kind of plan right now to join Norway in eliminating the sale of any newly produced non-electric vehicle. In addition Israel also has plans by 2030 to eliminate the importation of any newly produced petrol or diesel vehicles.
A whole host of cities plan on restricting the use of petrol and or diesel vehicles inside of them by 2030 as well including London, Bristol, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Utrecht, the Hague , Copenhagen, Oslo, Heidelberg, Milan, Athens, Los Angeles, Seattle, Mexico City, Cape Town, Auckland and surely more to come by then.
By 2035 Japan is also planning on eliminating the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles. This will certainly end up having the most profound effect on the automotive industry yet as the Japanese automobile market is among the largest and most influential in the world with huge brands like Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda and others becoming highly affected by the policy. The United Kingdom is also intending on eliminating the sale of plug-in hybrid vehicles by this point as well.
Despite the transportation industry taking up 30% of all of America’s greenhouse gas emissions, the United States doesn’t currently have any plans at the federal level to eliminate new fossil fuel vehicle sales. But a few states do, both California and Massachusetts have so far made plans to eliminate new fossil fuel vehicle sales by this point as well as the Canadian province of Quebec and other states / provinces are likely to follow them.
By 2040 the entirety of Canada is expected to eliminate new fossil fuel vehicle sales, while the province of British Columbia is taking it a step further with plans to eliminate all existing fossil fuel vehicles by this point with plans to rely exclusively on EVs by then.
Egypt, France, Spain and Taiwan all have the same goal as Canada for ending new fossil fuel vehicle sales by 2040. While Sri Lanka and Singapore have the goal to completely eliminate all internal combustion engine vehicles from the country by the same year. New or used, New York City intends on converting all city-owned vehicles to EVs by 2040 as well.
The final country with a firm plan on eliminating new petrol and diesel vehicle sales is Costa Rica which they plan on doing by 2050.
The world is at the tipping point for the widespread adoption of electric vehicles, and it’s going to happen steadily over the course of the 2020s. Every company can see the writing on the wall with Volkswagen, the world’s largest automobile manufacturer pledging to transition to an all-electric lineup by the end of the decade and with Tesla surging ahead to become the world’s most valuable car company. The internal combustion engine will stick around for a while longer but it’s almost certain that the future is going to be almost entirely electric.
The world stands at a crossroads. If humanity doesn’t do anything to address the growing climate crisis then we can expect global temperatures to increase well beyond 2 degrees celsius over pre-industrial levels by the end of the century which will have catastrophic consequences for all of us. Governments, corporations and individuals like you and me have to do what we can to reduce and mitigate this catastrophe from happening and reducing our emissions is just one of the many steps we have to take.
Improved Battery Technology will power Future Electric Vehicles – https://www.aranca.com/knowledge-library/articles/ip-research/are-solid-state-batteries-the-future-of-electric-vehicles
Future Infrastructure will adapt to Charging more EVs than ever – https://www.plugandplaytechcenter.com/resources/future-standard-electric-vehicles-charging-infrastructures/
Benefits of electric cars on the environment – https://www.edfenergy.com/for-home/energywise/electric-cars-and-environment
Electric Buses will be the future mode of Mass City Transport – https://www.publicpower.org/periodical/article/electric-buses-mass-transit-seen-cost-effective
Society is making a switch to electrification in the very near future – https://youtu.be/N0D4jUEmTMQ