Many will remember 2022 as the “tipping point” year for electric vehicles (EVs) in the U.S. when overall sales reached 5.6%, which is the point where sales have taken off in 18 other countries. Globally, we saw that demand for EVs continued to grow in otherwise weak auto markets. A total 10.5 million battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) were delivered — a 55% increase over 2021 sales — bringing the global total of EVs on the road to 20 million. For 2023, the consensus is that EV sales will continue to grow, although at a slower rate than seen in 2022. Here are four major trends that will shape the eMobility industry in 2023.
1.Major automakers accelerate electrification with new models, lower prices.
Dozens of new EV models, ranging from new luxury models to middle-market sedans and SUVs to pickup trucks, will debut in world markets in 2023 and 2024 as major automakers expand on their fledgling EV lineups. Up-front costs have long been an obstacle to EV adoption, but major automakers are also dropping prices on existing models, including Tesla, Chevrolet, Nissan and Hyundai. The introduction of more mid-market models will open EV driving to a wider range of buyers, particularly when under $40,000 prices are combined with government-provided incentives. For U.S. buyers, 2023 will also see the introduction of more new EV models that qualify for federal tax credits.
2.Zero-emission truck and bus markets continue to grow.
Globally, the electric commercial vehicle market, including vans, buses and trucks, is projected to grow from $56.13 billion in 2021 to $848.94 billion by 2030, at a 9.51% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). For 2023, electric truck production is projected to increase 300% in the U.S., with major manufacturers bringing out new models ranging from heavy-duty trucks to delivery vans, while federal tax incentives, bolstered by California Advanced Clean Fleets regulations, come online. While growth of long-haul (400 miles) trucking will depend on roadside high-speed DC charging stations, commercial trucking fleets that return to base nightly will find that the lower-cost Level 2 charging infrastructure will meet most needs, further fostering market growth and fleet deployments.
3.EV battery advancements focus on cost, chemistry, and supply chains.
Growing demand for EVs plus concerns about battery cost, critical minerals and vulnerable supply chains are driving academic and investment focus on batteries in 2023. EV drivers want lower cost, faster charging and longer range EVs, and improving battery technology is critical to making that happen.
One new technology expected to show real progress toward commercialization in 2023 is the solid-state battery, which promises to deliver greater energy density, faster charging, and improved safety. Also look for advances in battery chemistries, including lithium-air and magnesium-ion. Closest to market are sodium-ion batteries that replace scarce and expensive lithium with cheap, highly available sodium. This year could see breakout adoption of batteries using low-cost, safer lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathodes, with major automakers already announcing plans to use LFP in some models. Companies working on using silicon for lithium-ion anodes are also expected to make progress toward commercialization in 2023.
To strengthen U.S. battery supply chains, the Inflation Reduction Act will provide billions of dollars in loans and grants to battery makers. This is in addition to EV tax credits that incentivize automakers to source battery materials in the US or from free-trade partners as well as to manufacture batteries in North America.
4.Increased use of local energy storage, including second-life EV batteries, as part of smart energy management
Speaking of EV batteries, 2023 will be a breakthrough year for using second-life EV batteries to store renewable energy and feed it back to the grid when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Grid-scale battery storage is considered essential in the transition to renewable energy. It’s the same principle as vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging, where batteries – in this case, in the EVs themselves – store power during off times and feed it to the grid during peak demand.
Second-life EV batteries are also being used for local energy storage at public EV charging plazas, fleet depots, commercial buildings and other sites with EV charging. The charge point operator (CPO) can store grid energy when it is cheap — or solar energy produced onsite — and use it during peak times when electricity is expensive or as supplemental power for ultrafast DC charging.
Smart energy management is the key to making local energy storage work for EV charging. It monitors and manages energy consumption, orchestrating locally generated renewable energy resources, battery storage and the grid to ensure reliable delivery of power to EV chargers while optimizing costs.
These are a few of the trends that are gaining traction as EV adoption grows. To ensure that we can successfully electrify transportation and have plentiful renewable power for homes and businesses – utilities, governments, auto and battery manufacturers, CPOs, eMobility service providers and other key industry players need to work together. The benefit will be recharging our planet for generations to come.