There is a lot of momentum with electric vehicles. Manufacturers from all across the globe are announcing new EV models, plans for battery factories, and timelines that have been drastically moved forward. Two traditional automakers have been in the focus in the past days and weeks: Volkswagen and this week now Toyota.
VW didn’t just present its ID, but is also turning the big tanker with the helmsman Herbert Diess to transform its entire platform to become fully electric. Not without resistance from some shareholders and workforce, who fear the large investments and potential job losses – not without cause.
And then Toyota announced (in collaboration with Subaru) this week a surprising turn of strategy. An EV initiative is set on track with the goal to have half of all cars produced being electric vehicles. That is five years ahead of the initial plan and demonstrates a drastic change in strategy for the company that until recently had been beating the drums for hybrid and fuel cell vehicles.
And then China announced to lift the quotas for electric vehicle registrations. So far many Chinese cities had quotas for license plates, and prospective car owners had to bid on the licenses. For electric vehicles thosee quotas will be lifted and shall compensate the subsidies for electric vehicles that are running out.
Porsche received so many pre-orders for its first battery electric vehicle, the Taycan, that its first targeted annual production goal of 20,000 vehicles is already completely sold.
And despite the avalanches of reports that electric vehicle pioneer Tesla will soon be facing bankruptcy (again) (and here, why you should get over it that this ‘nightmare’ Tesla will not go away), the company is heading towards a second quarter 2019 with record sales.
The Power of Exponential Growth
All the facts and recent events give the forecasts of how electric vehicle sales will develop more credibility. So far new electric car registrations double globally every 12 to 18 months. In Germany the new registrations of the past months were twice the numbers of the same months of last year. With a total rate of 1.9 percent of all new car registrations this may not sound much. But if the doubling keeps at that rate of every one-and-a-half year, then end of 2020 there will be 4 percent of electric vehicles in the new registration statistics. Mid 2022 it will be 8 percent, end of 2023 already 16 percent, by mid 2025 32 percent, reaching end of 2026 a total of 64 percent.
The conservative estimate tells us that sometimes between 2025 and 2030 the majority of new car registrations in Germany will be electric vehicles. With the projection of an exponential growth that new technologies usually undergo, we start understanding the announcements anc changes of strategy from VW and Toyota. With the extension and increase of electric vehicle subsidies those numbers could even accelerate and the 50 percent mark be reached beforre 2025.
Norway has already passed that point. In March 2019 the country had 58 percent of all new car registrations being electric vehicles, plus an additional 19 percent hybrid vehicles. The netherlands follow with big steps in the path, the country saw more than 7 percent of all vehicle registrations being electric vehicles.
The demand for electric vehicles is larger than can be satisfied by automakers, but many of them are working on getting their models on the roads.
The Tipping Point – the moment where the point of no return has been reached – is already surpassed, and the demise of the internal combustion engine cannot be stopped. And that happens much faster than many expected it to be even a few months ago.
This article was also published in German.