EV sales surpassing hybrid sales? The ‘third wave’? Greater availability of EVs? As we enter 2024, we’ve spoken to those in the know about what we might see in the EV industry this year.
Supporting the growth of EV charging
Joel Teague, Founder, Co-Charger
“In 2024, I expect to see the narrative around EV charging to rebalance to something more in line with the realities of how EVs are charged. For a start, I hope that we see less whining about public infrastructure and more praise for the speed and direction of its improvement, which I feel has been extraordinary and under-appreciated.
“That, I hope, will allow the industry, media and government to focus far more on the much larger sector that’s rarely even mentioned: Alternative Base Charging, or ABC.
For years we’ve been under-serving the millions of people who can’t charge at home, expecting them to buy EVs ‘once there are enough charge points’. And for years they’ve just kept buying fossil fuel cars.
“Perhaps in 2024 we may finally listen to them and realise that they need bookable, dependable, affordable and convenient alternatives to home charging or they simply stick with fossil fuels. Those ‘ABC’ solutions do exist and if we’re to avoid a further slowing of the transition to EVs we must start to make them a huge part of the narrative in this industry. ABC will eventually represent over twice as much charging as all the public networks combined – so let’s give it a proportionate level of attention!”
Improvements to EV availability and much more!
Jordan Brompton, Co-founder and CMO, myenergi:
“While it’s fair to say that limited supply has proven somewhat of an unexpected barrier to adoption in the UK’s transition to electrification, supply chain pressures experienced over the past few years are finally beginning to ease. As a result, OEMs are catching up on production deficits fast, with finished vehicles now rolling off production lines at record rates.
“As we head into 2024, we’ll likely see three things happen quite quickly. Firstly, EV availability will rapidly improve. Compared to the long lead times experienced over the past 18 months, in particular for the luxury end of the market, waiting lists will shrink and lead times will fall accordingly. With a number of new brands looking to penetrate the UK market, this will put pressure on the legacy OEMs.
“Secondly, with supply beginning to match demand, production efficiencies will continue to increase and prices will resultingly fall – bringing EVs far more in line with ICE-powered cars from a purchase price perspective – a major positive for the consumer, as well as the wider transition to electrification. We’ve already started to see this across the leasing industry, with many electric models now almost at price parity with their petrol or diesel counterparts.
“Finally, as the transition to electrification continues to accelerate, we’ll see vehicle manufacturers further increase their spend on EV R&D and cut investment into ICE models almost entirely. This will most likely be the final nail in the coffin for traditionally fuelled vehicles, with consumers unwilling to purchase dated technology.
“These scenarios, alongside continued national investment into the public charging network, will see barriers to adoption crumble and registrations soar. This is positive news all round.”
The third and fourth wave of electric vehicles
Samir Maha, COO, McLaren Applied
“As an industry, we’re facing what we call the third and fourth waves of automotive electrification, which will take us into an era of mobility in which EVs dominate. This is where carmakers will prioritise developing super-efficient EVs which align with the driver experience they want to deliver and their brand ethos.
“The immediate focus is on achieving greater drivetrain efficiency, and this is what we define as the third wave. The competitive landscape is ramping up significantly now that all manufacturers have established their product entry points. Models based on dedicated 800V architectures are leading the way, driving what we call the virtuous cycle. An efficient drivetrain inherently has a smaller battery, which makes the vehicle cheaper, lighter, and easier to control, and offers a smaller carbon footprint in terms of raw materials. It also increases the range and speeds up charge times, building trust in the technology.
“The fourth wave will be characterised by a ‘definable experience’. More electric models on the market means a greater need for differentiation, especially with mass market brands already stealing a march on sports marques. Today, you can buy a compact EV that accelerates faster than a Lamborghini, which may be great fun initially but doesn’t build that all important ‘character’ and driver engagement.
“Differentiating the driver experience through the application of drivetrain hardware and software will be crucial. Through advanced inverter technology and software for fine motor control, engineers can start programming different characteristics into vehicles, delivering the most appropriate driver experience for their brand and type of car. Next generation inverter platforms can play a key role in this transition.”
Battery electric vehicles surpassing hybrid EVs in sales
Dunstan Power, managing director, Versinetic
“EV sales are expected to continue rising steadily in 2024, likely increasing around 50-70% year-over-year. This growth comes despite economic challenges facing consumers like high energy prices and cost-of-living pressures.
“We expect that economic issues will only temporarily slow, not reverse, EV adoption trends. Once economic shocks stabilize, fundamental factors underpinning EV growth will persist. Government policy supportive of EVs provides tailwinds in many markets too.
“Specifically in the UK, a change in political leadership could accelerate EV sales growth. Any new government will likely emphasize EVs more to meet carbon reduction targets. The previous administration had cut EV subsidies and proposed new taxes, creating temporary uncertainty. A policy shift could quickly boost consumer confidence.
“Moreover, once emerging from the current economic crisis, consumers will refocus on long-term fuel savings from driving electric. Both energy security and climate change considerations favor EVs. As more affordable EV options launch too, sales should rebound strongly by 2024.
“In summary, the EV transition is slowed but not stopped amidst short-term economic fluctuations. Industry analysts widely agree underlying EV adoption trends remain intact. Thus, electric vehicle sales growth is forecast to continue rising at around a 50-70% annual pace despite facing some economic headwinds.
“We predict that every month moving forward, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will outsell hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). This transition officially began in January 2023. From now on, BEVs will be the second highest selling powertrain behind mild hybrid petrol cars.
“BEVs have experienced rapid sales growth in recent years, while HEV sales have stagnated. This trend will accelerate in 2024. Total BEV sales could jump over 70% next year alone as more affordable options launch.
“Meanwhile, HEVs have little room left to gain market share given their low starting point. As BEVs expand, they will increasingly eat into petrol and diesel car sales too. Experts forecast BEVs could grab an additional 4% share of total auto sales in 2024.
“As BEV options diversify, and prices continue falling, consumers look set to switch away from petrol vehicles more rapidly. Volvo’s decision to cease diesel car production in 2023, for instance, foreshadows moves by other automakers to come. Diesel’s decline will free up even more market share for BEVs to capture.
“Battery electric vehicles are poised to dominate the fast-growing EV category moving forward. Their sales will rise by over 70% next year, cementing their position as the number two powertrain overall. Accelerating BEV adoption will directly cut into petrol and diesel sales, signaling the imminent decline of ICE vehicles.”
Government action to achieve net-zero
Stuart Cottrell, Head of Energy Services and Government Partnerships, Tevva
“We believe that further government action is required to ensure that the UK achieves its net zero goals in the best and fastest possible way for the good of the environment, economy and British people.
“We certainly do appreciate the British government’s support to date, but for this country to accelerate EV adoption and meet its net zero goals, more is needed. Brexit put us in a position where we were theoretically free from the ‘shackles’ of the European Union (EU) and free to pass our own legislation and create our own targets.
“But what good are ambitious targets if you don’t have the policies or appropriate measures in place to see them achieved. As the UK has the most ambitious targets for battery-electric truck adoption, we need the most attractive incentives in place to stimulate demand, especially as we’re no longer bound by EU state aid rules limiting the amount of support governments can give specific industries.
“No one said the electrification of trucks was going to be easy, but it is inevitable, and the technology has developed to a point where an electric truck is a viable proposition for many fleet operators.
“Yet constraints on charging and refuelling infrastructure, as well as clarity on ownership costs, will need to be addressed in 2024. Tevva is actively collaborating with its partners and customers to address these critical factors. We are confident that our electric trucks will not only save organisations money over the vehicle’s lifetime but also enhance fleet and driver performance.
“Yet our ambitious targets in the UK are not backed up by the right actions to enable, incentivise and de-risk the shift. It’s imperative that these actions and policies are put in place to facilitate the journey to net zero, by this government or the next.”