E-Mobility Year in Review with Jane Hunter, Tritium CEO
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and a slowing global economy, 2020 was a turning point for e-mobility. Electric vehicle (EV) sales showed resilience with a 6 percent increase during 2020, while total automotive car sales decreased by 25 percent. The 2020 global fleet of over 2.3 million EVs boosted the EV market share to 3.2 percent of the entire automotive industry worldwide.
This growth in EV adoption was fostered by the injection of industry investments and government mandates for clean transportation. The change was also enabled by improvements in charging infrastructure, including customer convenience with integrated payment options, connector standardization, scalable technology, and fleet electrification. As we look back on 2020 and forward to the new year, the future for e-mobility is incredibly bright.
Key 2020 Takeaways
There was a substantial rise in the accessibility to new capital by the major EV automakers as the EV market share grew, translating into a significant production expansion effort. For the first time on record, private-equity firms globally did more cleantech deals during 2020 than in oil and gas, according to PitchBook data as of early December.
Larger valuations of the future EV market size are expected to ease access to capital in the coming year.
Focus on Driver Convenience
The e-mobility industry made significant strides during 2020 to make things easier and better for the drivers. Perhaps most importantly, the ease of use of the technology is rapidly approaching the ease of filling up at a gas station.
For example, the development of Plug and Charge technology has emerged, a universal data sharing and communication protocol across system platforms. Plug and Charge enables EVs and charging equipment to communicate, authenticate, and bill customers via the charging cable. This technology provides drivers the freedom to pay their charge without the need for an RFID membership card, a smartphone application, or a credit card reader.
Introduction of Future-Proof Hardware
One significant evolution in 2020 EV charging was the Modular Scalable Charging (MSC) hardware platform to enable scalable electric vehicle charging networks. The MSC platform, developed by Tritium, provides customers with the flexibility to increase their charger’s power level as EV charging capabilities advance and “pay as you grow.”
Under MSC flexibility, charger power can be increased in 25kW increments, starting at 25kW and increasing to 350kW and beyond. This technology represents a future-proof, ‘no regret’ charging investment for businesses and fleets as they continue to scale up their charging infrastructure.
The e-mobility market’s reach expanded beyond passenger vehicles during 2020 into classes like buses, trucks, and other vehicles. Fleet electrification is critical for energy freedom and provides a benefit for the end customer. While we await 2020 totals, the International Energy Agency reports that global sales of electric trucks hit a record in 2019 with over 6,000 units, while the number of models continues to expand.
According to a new report by Allied Market Research, the global electric bus industry was estimated at $18 billion in 2019 and is expected to hit $31 billion by 2027. This expansion would translate into a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.6 percent from 2020 to 2027.
The future of fleet electrification is bright, with rising demand for electric buses including fuel-efficient, high-performance, and low-emission designs, increasingly stringent government rules and regulations for vehicle emissions, and a reduction in battery prices.
Looking Forward to 2021
Customer convenience will continue to increase in 2021 as EV charger companies build on scalable technology and Tritium uses the DC bus architecture to create more affordable and flexible e-mobility applications.
Chargers will get even faster and more efficient in power ratios to charge EVs more quickly. Some high power smart charging systems can power EVs to an 80 percent charge in 15 minutes on average and that number will improve over the near term. Additionally, we will continue to see a rise in fleet electrification and improvements in technology. There will be several focal points in the growth of the EV market this year.
Continued Fleet Electrification
A new study on EV range and fleet suitability found that 64 percent of fleet vehicles could be switched to a comparable fully electric or plug-in hybrid option for less money over the same seven-year service life. The Geotab study also found that for nearly 50 percent of fleet vehicles today, an existing battery electric vehicle is available that would be range-capable for over 98 percent of daily needs.
Companies looking to diversify their business model and think about the future and sustainability will rapidly embrace EV fleets this year.
No Regret, Future-Proof Charging Investments
More homeowners, business owners, and fleet managers will invest in EV charging infrastructure during 2021, thanks to more transparent utility rules on charging rates, rebates from government bodies for charging investment, and more evident economic gain.
And with scalable technology readily available, upgrading to higher power levels will be more cost effective for business owners globally.
Focus on Sustainable Energy Sources
There will be an industry effort to make EVs even more sustainable this year, including gains in battery recycling and repurposing. The use of renewables for generating charging electricity and high-capacity battery storage to retain that energy will amplify the industry effort.
Customer convenience is paramount, and drivers should have the flexibility to charge whenever and wherever they choose. For 240-volt AC home or public charging, the SAE J1772 connector type is the most common. With recent news of CHAdeMO-format charging being phased out by many auto manufacturers, Combined Charging System (CCS) format DC fast charging is leading the market and will continue to become the common standard.
Reduced Footprint and Size of Chargers
Chargers are entirely disconnected from the fuel grid, enabling the opportunity to install charging anywhere and everywhere. At the same time, more homeowners will opt to add a charging unit this year, more businesses will add charging infrastructure as the overall size, cost, and a smaller footprint is continuously reduced.
Continuing 2021 EV market growth presents a host of new opportunities to discuss charging infrastructure and requirements in the near future. We look forward to working with our partners, customers and EV drivers to continue revolutionising electric transportation and innovating the future.