The UK electric car industry continues to grow in 2021. Battery prices are going down, car choice is going up. Read our 7 predictions for the future of EVs.
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The future of electric cars – 7 predictions
The future of electric cars will be colourful – expect a lot of change. The distance you can travel from a single battery charge is on the rise. Charging point networks are fast expanding. The cost of producing electric car batteries is free falling. And more and more models are set for release – many with next level functionality and even greener power options. Here are some of our future predictions for electric cars:
1. Electric will soon be able to take you further
We already have many models claiming to offer a range of 250+ miles. The Tesla Model S Long Range is currently the longest range EV on the market at 379 miles. View other EVs with long range here.
With a recent Deloitte study showing that driving range is a top concern across Europe, and the UK in particular – attempts to push the boundaries are already in progress, with Tesla looking to offer a range of 620 miles with their upcoming Roadster v2.
2. Costs are going down – ambition is going up!
Despite EVs being cheaper to maintain and run than their internal combustion engine (ICE) equivalents, the initial outlay is still a big barrier for EV adoption – and few pure-electric models can be bought for less than £17,000.
But a recent Bloomberg study suggests that in just a few years’ time, electric vehicles will become cheaper to purchase than their ICE equivalents.
The main reason? Shrinking battery costs.
Back in 2015 the battery accounted for 50% of the cost of an electric vehicle, in 2019, it was around 33% of the cost, and by 2022, the prediction is around 25%.
And on top of that, Bloomberg’s research predicts that in just over 10 years’ time, large volume manufacturing of EVs will result in the cost of motors, inverters and power electronics being 25-30% lower than today.
VW has already announced plans to create six of their own battery factories by 2030 and operate a “unified cell” strategy – to reduce the cost and complexity of battery production. The automotive giant will be investing heavily over the next few years, with the belief that their production optimisation and economies of scale will make e-mobility affordable.
A reduction in cost will likely have a dramatic impact on the adoption of EVs.
3. EV charging networks are expanding
We’ve seen the UK’s network of charging points progress from just a few hundred, 8 years ago, to 40,000+ charging points today. Yes, there is still a long way to go to be able to support widespread EV adoption, but fast progress is being made…
At present, drivers are faced with having to register with many different operators and even use a range of swipe cards.
But in a bid to simplify the public EV charging experience, some charge point owners (such as Mer) are now promoting roaming agreements to offer EV drivers a seamless experience. These agreements between charge points operators allow drivers to use one charge card or app across several networks.
In addition, the UK Government announced in February this year (2021) that an additional £20 million will be provided to fund the installation of another 4,000 charge points on residential streets, which would take the total to 8,000. The investment is in-line with the Prime Minister’s ‘Ten Point Plan’ and £2.8 billion investment, designed to support the EV transition. Of this funding, £1.3 billion is set to be spent on EV charging infrastructure.
4. More corporates will electrify their fleets, influencing the market
Corporate car sales represent a large percentage of all cars sold – Deloitte predicts this figure to be around 63% in 2021 across Western Europe. So their actions will have a large impact on the uptake and success of the EV market.
Many businesses are realising their environmental impact is under scrutiny and there’s pressure to include climate action within their CSR, recruitment and PR strategies. And a reduction in VED and BIK rates for employees has also made EVs a more lucrative company car option.
Over the last few years the UK government introduced grants to help with both the purchase of corporate EVs and the set-up of workplace charge points.
And if the above is not enough to push corporates to take action, the new Clean Air Zone’s being introduced in cities across the UK – which will charge vehicles to pass through unless they comply with new emission standards – are likely to force behaviour change.
We’re already seeing delivery firms such as Royal Mail, DPD, UPS and Hermes starting their transition and committing to EV fleet targets.
The coronavirus crisis will no doubt have delayed the speed of fleet electrification. But as business confidence returns, we will see more and more fleet owners taking steps towards electrification.
5. Wireless & self-charging technology development
If Light Year One is anything to go by, we may start seeing more EVs with solar panel features, to allow for off-grid self-charging – which could further decrease costs. The Light Year One releases its pioneer edition to 946 owners in late 2021 – one to watch!
Wireless charging infrastructure is also under exploration – involving charging ‘pads’ positioned underground – allowing for wireless charge-ups while parked. Trials have already begun, with the Department of Transport having installed wireless ‘pads’ in taxi ranks in Nottingham.
6. The production process of EVs will continue to improve
Yes, EVs are significantly cutting fuel pipe emissions. But, the actual production process and materials used, are still having a negative environmental – and social – impact.
One such problem is tyre wear, an issue with ICE vehicles, and one that hasn’t been properly addressed with the introduction of EVs. Tyre wear accounts for up to 50% of air particulate emissions from road transport. However, at the end of last year, a group of British students (The Tyre Collective) were awarded the James Dyson international design award for the creation of a tyre attachment that reduces 60% of tyre wear particles on the roads. The group are now working with some of the largest tyre and vehicle manufacturers to develop their technology further.
Another issue is the amount of Cobalt used in the production of EV batteries – the majority of which is sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo where it’s often mined by children in unregulated conditions. Manufacturers are now committing to reducing the use of Cobalt in the production process – or in Tesla’s case, removing it completely.
Lithium iron battery production is also problematic as it can result in toxic chemical leaks capable of destroying wildlife habitats. Manufacturers such as Honda are committing to battery recycling and Mercedes are exploring replacing lithium all-together. And we’re seeing innovators such as US-based EV battery start-up QuantumScape making waves with their exploration of a Solid-state automotive battery, which would remove a lot of the environmental dangers with existing lithium batteries, and even make them lighter and more efficient.
7. Variety will increase as the industry catches up with Tesla
The last few years of focused investment into EVs is now starting to show, with most of the major manufacturers releasing exciting new models. Many manufacturers such as AUDI, Mercedes and Porsche are notably scaling up their electric car production. Volvo have now joined the EV market with their XC40 Recharge, with Lexus and Mazda set to launch their first EVs this year. And major launches from electric pioneers such as Tesla, Nissan and Renault can be expected.
Data from the European Federation for Transport and Environment indicates that 22 new BEV models will hit the European market this year, with another 30 expected next year and 33 in 2023.
2020 saw many manufacturers give their consumer classics electric upgrades, such as the Peugeot e-208, the Vauxhall Corsa-e and the MINI Electric. More crowd favourites are in the pipeline, including the VW I.D Buzz and the Fiat 500e.
And for those wanting state of the art technology, the likes of BMW, Tesla and VW will soon be offering autonomous driving functionality.
As industry giants begin to scale up production, Tesla’s dominance of the electric world is under threat. Volkswagen recently made headlines with their bid to become the world’s biggest electric vehicle maker. The manufacturer intends to become self-reliant in battery production and produce 26m EVs by 2030.
On that note, let’s take a look at some of the most exciting models due to hit the market in the next few years…
Future electric cars 2021 & beyond
Tesla pushes the performance bar higher with the Model Y, S & Roadster v2
The Roadster 2 – the first open top Tesla – is now set for release in 2022 following delays. It claims to be the world’s fastest car with 0-60mph in 1.9 seconds and boasts a 620 mile range.
However, we can expect both the Model Y – an SUV – and Model S Plaid to hit the market late this year. Model S Plaid is said to be capable of 0-60mph in under 2 seconds described by the manufacturer as the ‘most powerful and quickest-accelerating production car in the world’.
Another OG gets an electric revamp with Volkswagen’s ID Buzz
The van with a cult-following will be reborn in 2022, promising a 300 mile range, progressive design and Level 4 autonomous driving, There are even talks of putting the Buzz through its paces right away with MOIA, the European rideshare company. Read more here.
NIO’s ES6 electric SUV set to come to Europe
According to NIO’s founder, there are plans to launch their hugely successful ES6 electric SUV in the UK & rest of Europe in 2021. They are also said to be trialling a new 150 kWh battery for the launch, which would make the model capable of a 900 mile range.
The Chinese make 2.5 times as many cars as the US – so it’s unsurprising their EV market is experiencing rapid growth and ripe with innovation. Relative newcomer NIO is perhaps the only chinese EV manufacturer many have heard of in Europe so far, as they are now trading on the NYSE. But that won’t be the case before long, with many other Chinese manufacturers setting their sights on the continent.
The Volkswagen ID Vizzion cancels the steering wheel
One of the most progressive EVs getting people talking about futuristic possibilities right now is the VW I.D. Vizzion – looking like something straight out of the movie i-Robot. VW’s prodigy is potentially still a decade away from release, but projects a 665 miles range, facial recognition security, augmented reality removing the need for a steering wheel, and a fascinating level of personalisation. Read more here.
EV start-up Rivian leads the way for off-road EVs & delivery vans
Rivian’s R1T truck and R1S SUV will hit the market in the next few years – pioneering fast, powerful off-road EV style – both expected to deliver 0-60mph in under 3 seconds and capable of up to 400 miles of range. The R1T will even have Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities and can tow almost 5,000 kg.
It was also recently announced that Rivian is responsible for designing Amazon’s new EV delivery van – with a planned 10,000 going into action for the online retail giant by 2022.
BMW i4 sets the bar high with lightweight design
The i4 is due for release late 2021, with a driving range of 373 miles, 0-60mph in under 4 seconds and a 530hp motor. The manufacturer’s Chairman Harald Krüger said of the new model: “The leading factors that will set it apart are fantastic design, which is very different to anything else on the road, and the fact that it is lighter and therefore more dynamic than anything we see on the market today, thanks to the materials we will use. Couple that with the connectivity technology we are constantly developing and we are confident it will lead the market.”
Following the i4 release closely is the BMW iX, predicted to have a range of around 400 miles. It’s set to boast Level 3 ‘conditional automation’ which will allow the vehicle to drive autonomously on motorways and pull over in an emergency. Read more here.
Chinese start-up Byton’s K-Byte is eagerly awaited due its prominent but retractable sensors – which enable the vehicle to achieve level 4 autonomous driving on the majority of motorways. Read more here.
Mercedes ramps up the electrification of its range, bringing 6 new models to market 2021/2022
Mercedes has confirmed release dates for their new EV range, roughly equivalent to the S-class, E-class, and other popular Benzes:
Mercedes-Benz EQS S-class flagship sedan
Mercedes-Benz EQA: their smallest electric compact SUV
Mercedes-Benz EQBL: compact electric SUV
Mercedes-Benz EQE: E-Class-sized electric “business sedan”
EQE and EQS SUVs
Mercedes-Benz G-Class Electric
Alongside their recently released electric people carrier the Mercedes-Benz EQV and their first electric EV the EQC, Mercedes will have a total of 8 EV models on the market by the end of 2022.
We always look forward to see new electric vehicles being released! Follow us on LinkedIn for more EV news.
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