Average range of battery electric vehicles have increased with an overall reduction in average manufacturer's suggested retail price; however, electric vehicles still struggle to break sales charts
Technological advancements and government policies across the globe have been constantly supporting the quick adoption of zero-emission driving. This has made some progress in terms of adoption, but much has to be done when overall sales numbers are considered against internal combustion counterparts. Almost all OEMs have an electric portfolio added to their projects and they have made significant advances to improve range and reduce acquisition costs. In fact, we recently had an insightful webinar on the EV topic in our ATR Tech Chat Series discussing the progress and hurdles seen by the EV industry. Lux Research has revealed in its recently released report that pain points continue to plague the sales of EVs even as OEMs have made remarkable overall improvements.
RANGE HAS GONE UP, MSRP HAS COME DOWN
The report brought to the fore the fact where the average manufacturer's suggested retail price for battery electric vehicles (BEV) hovered around the $ 42,189 back in 2016, the price has come down to $ 33,901 by 2019. Additionally, the number of models on offer too has significantly risen providing more options to customers. Technological advancements have increased the range extracted per charge as well, the report noted. The average BEV range has extended by 13 % CAGR since 2011 to 370 km last year. This increases long-distance travel times by 22 % against the time spent charging. The prime focus of manufacturers is still on boosting the efficiency of chargers. Lightweight manufacturing too is witnessing a considerable rise in terms of battery weight. If a vehicle has to carry less, it will offer a longer range and will inflict less impact on all components.
PLATFORMS AND MARKETS
According to the Lux report, EV sales have grown at a steady pace since 2011 and a number of government schemes and policies focussed on emission reduction has pushed it along. Environmentally-friendly green vehicles with low emission are the need of the hour for nations with high pollution content in the atmosphere. This is where electrified powertrains become an ideal mobility solution. Manufacturers have continued to introduce hybrids, EVs, and plug-in hybrids to further the cause of the green revolution, the report pointed out. Full-electric BEVs have witnessed the most development and growth and companies like Toyota Motor Corporation and Ford Motor Company have lined up strong electrification plans for the future, the Lux Report stated.
Toyota will release six BEVs by 2026 and is keen to convert 50 % of its global sales to HEV, BEV, and PHEV powertrains. The company is working with Subaru on e-TNGA (electric Toyota New Global Architecture) at a modular platform allowing 80 kW to 150 kW, or even 300 kW dual motors and 50 kWh to 100 kWh battery configurations. Toyota will be focussing its initial approach on China and Japan markets though. Ford has targeted an $ 11 billion spent towards 40 hybrid and electric vehicles by 2022. This will include 16 BEVs models in the line-up with attention to hybridise its mostly truck and SUV lineup. In terms of platform, the Mustang Mach E is a heavily modified version of the C-segment platform termed global electrified 2 (GE2). From 2023, Ford will partner with VW for the MEB platform and autonomous vehicle development.
CHANGES IN KEY METRICS
According to the research report, limited range, slow charging, and higher price tag the concern areas of the customers. Lux Automotive Battery Tracker data revealed some interesting points. Region-wise, China remains the largest plug-in vehicle market and a more successful BEV ecosystem with cheaper models than other markets. Model-wise, Tesla Model S’s higher price is justified by its 683 km WLTP range. On the opposite end of the scale, competitors like Jaguar I-Pace, Porsche Taycan and Audi e-Tron have displayed poor range results. However, additional work on software was able to extract more range from Audi and Jaguar. Hence, the range anxiety will continue to pose a barrier towards quicker adoption of BEVs. This also includes charging time concerns that have been plaguing BEV sales for now.
Apart from lowering the cost of batteries by innovating manufacturing and raw material processes, more attention should be directed to extracting more efficiency from powertrains, the report observed. The cost reductions from economies of scale is a limited approach and is expected to slow down. Electric motor design is a development area, where efficiency can be enhanced with lower costs of processing. Brands like Magnax, Linear Labs, and C-Motive all target opportunities in mobility. Current BEVs save a window of charge in order to protect the battery, which can be up to 10 % in some cases and battery management systems (BMS) can increase efficiency in this area, the report noted. Hardware-based solutions like Titan AES’s ultrasound-based BMS improves the accuracy of measurements, whereas software solutions enable using a wider state-of-charge window.
Despite a global downturn and supply chain losses, Lux Research continues its long-term forecast that plug-in vehicles (BEVs and PHEVs) will take over more than half of the global vehicle sales by 2035-40. The COVID-19 crisis is delaying adoption practices, but continuous development of cost-effective platforms should quicken timelines.’The luxury and premium mass market will register the healthier adoption of EVs due to the segment’s tolerance on higher costs. Lower-priced markets, too, will look at increased competition as EVs close the gap towards internal combustion vehicles.