The Top 5 Trends in Electric Vehicles in 2022
Since 2010, electric vehicles have seen an astonishing renaissance – but did you know that the first electric vehicle actually appeared in the mid-19th century?
If we take a quick look back at the history of electric vehicles, you'll understand why this time is different: Electric vehicles are here to stay.
A Quick History of Electric Vehicles
There’s a debate about who actually created the very first electric vehicle, but many cite the date as April 1881, on a Paris street, when the first human-carrying electric vehicle with a power source was tested by a French inventor named Gustave Trouvé.
Shortly after, both France and the United Kingdom became the first nations to support development of electric vehicles. The only problem was, in comparison to an internal combustion engine, these battery electric vehicles were expensive, short-ranged, less reliable, and topped out at a much lower speed – none of which were attractive for a burgeoning automotive industry.
I bring up this quick history because it’s important to understand that electric vehicles are nothing new. However, where electric motors didn’t get adopted for private motor vehicles back then, it’s clear that we’ve reached a turning point today.
For proof, here are the 5 top trends in electric vehicles that we’re seeing in 2022!
1) Many more electric vehicles on the road
I have plenty of statistics to share with you on electric vehicle adoption, but first, consider what you’ve likely seen with your own eyes when you’re out on the road.
From the Nissan Leaf to the Tesla Model 3, it’s easy to spot an electric car as a matter of happenstance on your morning commute!
But what if you want hard proof that there are more EVs in circulation? Here are some of those statistics I promised you:
- Electric vehicle (EV) leasing company, DriveElectric, predicts that registrations of new electric vehicles (EVs) will rise by over 74% in 2022.
- According to CarWow, it’s predicted that 50% of new-car sales in the UK will be electric by 2030.
- Bloomberg NEF reports that global sales of electric passenger vehicles are expected to surpass 10.5 million this year, which is about 4 million above 2021 levels.
Beyond the fact that more people are already driving electric cars, there’s another important point: the demand for electric vehicles is now being driven more by organic consumer demand than by policy incentives.
In other words, more people want to buy an electric vehicle for its own sake, and not simply because the government will subsidise it. And most importantly, many of those people are actually buying.
Farther out, Bloomberg predicts that at least two thirds of global car sales will be electric by 2040. It’s clear that we can expect to see an acceleration in the number of electric vehicles on the road in 2022 and beyond.
2) Longer distances per charge – for less
If we take a jaunt back to 2010, the first modern electric vehicle released was the Nissan Leaf – and it had a maximum range of 175 km (109 miles).
And yet, today, this same manufacturer just released an electric vehicle with a range of 460 km (286 miles). That’s nearly 3X the range on a charge in just 12 years!
This isn’t by accident, of course – there’s been active development of more powerful (and less expensive) batteries over the past several years. But it’s still a huge deal for the potential growth of the EV industry.
Along with a greater range, EVs are also getting more affordable. This phenomenon is described by Wright’s Law, which states that there’s a 20 percent reduction in cost of a product every time production doubles.
In the case of lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery cells for EVs, this has actually proven to be an understatement, with the true cost reduction equaling 28% for every doubling of units produced!
In fact, by 2023, the cost of Li-ion batteries is expected to fall to around $100/kWh or slightly below – an incredible drop from the $1,200/kWh where they started. At that price point, EVs will be as cheap to make as gas-powered cars – a huge milestone and another major turning point for the electric vehicle industry!
3) The development of C-stores with charging stations
Recently, Shell made history by opening its first EV-only charging hub. This is a global pilot that demonstrated how the company could transform a traditional fuel forecourt into a charging station for EVs.
This site was in development since 2019, but the fact that it's open for business now marks a significant turning point in the progression of the UK toward electric vehicles and net-zero targets.
Think about it: most motorists that see something that looks like a traditional fuel station would expect to get gas there. But now, we’re starting to see the first C-stores that exclusively offer charging stations for EVs!
But there’s another important point here, which is the fact that more charging stations will help convince more potential EV drivers to take the plunge and buy their first electric vehicle.
As we just saw, the range on a charge for most electric vehicles has increased dramatically in the last several years – and if you pair that with wider availability of charging stations, buying an electric vehicle isn’t going to be such a difficult decision for many on-the-fence consumers.
4) Hampered growth due to semiconductor supply shortages
If the first few trends in this article indicated nothing but blue skies ahead for EVs, the reality is decidedly more mixed – especially in the first half of 2022.
As we mentioned in our article on the state of QSRs, supply chain issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic are wide-reaching and affecting people’s spending habits and the supply of goods.
When it comes to EVs, this supply chain issue extends to semiconductor supply shortages. Chips are particularly important for electric vehicles, as they require more than 2,000 chips each (nearly double that of a non-electric vehicle)! Thanks to a serious shortage, a number of the biggest automakers have been forced to suspend production for weeks at a time.
Unfortunately, the global chip supply will continue to be scarce because the factors used to build semiconductors will take a lot of time and money to build.
The bottom line is, even if there’s growing demand for more electric vehicles, it will still be some time before there’s enough supply to meet it.
5) High entry points preventing wider EV adoption
While electric vehicles are getting more popular, it’s by no means an accessible purchase for many consumers across the globe.
According to Kelley Blue Book, the average transaction price for an electric vehicle is £41,695 ($56,437 USD). Not only is that a huge sticker shock, but it’s also nearly £7400 ($10,000 USD) higher than the industry average of £34,227 ($46,329 USD) overall (which includes luxury cars). This can be offset by tax credits or other government policy incentives, but only for electric vehicles that still qualify.
The total cost of adopting an electric vehicle is even more expensive if you opt for more expensive chargers in your home to charge the vehicle faster. A wallbox through a specialist firm can vary in price from £400 to £1,500, depending on the power output of the charger.
And while it’s (hopefully) only a temporary problem, Britain’s energy prices for millions of households will continue to spike after a 54% hike to the regulatory price cap in April of 2022. This doesn’t bode well for anyone looking to buy a vehicle that depends on electricity to run.
Regardless of the ongoing costs, though, it’s the upfront expense that’s keeping people from investing in an electric vehicle. While these prices will continue to improve over time (remember Wright’s Law?), the fact is that EVs are still out of reach for a majority of car buyers in 2022.
What to Make of These 5 EV Trends?
So, now that we’ve looked at these 5 trends, the next question is: What do they mean overall?
I think the most obvious conclusion is that, unlike with the first round of all-electric vehicles in the 1880s, this latest crop of modern EVs is making a lasting impression on the automotive industry.
It’s anybody’s guess how quickly the world will make the complete shift from petrol to electric, but even the U.S. has targeted 2030 as the year it wants half of all new vehicles to be zero-emissions vehicles, whether that means fully electric, plug-in hybrid, or fuel cell electric vehicles.
In the long run, EVs are where the world is headed, but I think there’s plenty of evidence here to show that the transition won’t happen overnight. At the same time, innovations continue for cars that run on petrol and diesel to make them more fuel efficient and safer for the environment.
Electric Vehicle Frequently Asked Questions
Petrol vs Electric: Which is More “Green?”
A lot of people assume that the electric vehicle is “green” and the petrol vehicle is not. While there’s some truth to this, the reality is more complicated.
For one thing, electric vehicles have batteries that must be manufactured, and this is not a trivial matter. There can be a significant carbon footprint and greenhouse emissions to manufacture a lithium ion battery – plus all of the energy from the electrical grid that must go into charging batteries for EVs.
The “whole life environmental cost” of electric used to be much higher, but now, experts mostly agree that EVs have a lower carbon footprint over their lifespan than cars and trucks with internal combustion engines do.
But with electrical grids still powered by fossil fuels around the world, there’s still work to do to ensure that EVs have the minimal environmental impact we’re all hoping to see.
What Does the Rise of Electric Vehicles Mean for Petrol and Diesel Vehicles?
In the UK and EU, there are drop-dead dates to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, which means they won’t be sold at all after 2030. This doesn’t stop you from being a used one on the secondary market, however.
The laws are already in place for an inevitable shift to electric from combustion-engine vehicles. In other words, it’s a matter of when, not if EVs will become the dominant automobiles on the road in the UK.
While other countries around the world may not have such strict drop dead dates, it’s clear that this is where vehicles are headed.
I hope this piece on the top 5 trends in electric vehicles in 2022 was helpful for you!
Keep in mind that EVs are still a new technology for many, which is why it’s so important to work with someone who has experience providing hardware and software for electric vehicles.
Having worked closely with the first all electric charging station in London and being at the forefront of digital screen technology do reach out to me, James Hogg, if you’re interested in any help coming up with a signage or display solution for your vehicle, forecourt, C-store, or other EV-related use case.