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What the Shift to Electrical Means for The Automotive Industry

  • by: Conor McKeon
  • On: 24, Oct 2018
3 min read

Electric cars have been gaining in popularity for years, with more research, funding and development going into the batteries that power them. As the cost of fuel rises and it becomes increasingly hard to ignore the effect of fossil fuels on the environment, more people are switching to electric cars. In 2017 sales of electric vehicles grew every single month in 2017.

Electric Vehicles Are The Future

It’s predicted that electric cars will be cheaper than traditional models as soon as 2025, and by 2040 more than half of all cars sold will be electric. The growing interest in electric cars can also be attributed to more and more people turning away from traditional car ownership models.

Millennials are much more likely to use a ride-sharing or a rental service than to own a car. In urban areas, the number of cars owned per person is predicted to plummet over the next fifty years as cities become more densely populated. This means public transport and ride-sharing will have to pick up the slack, and both sectors are poised to make the transition to electric vehicles as soon as it is feasible.

With many of the world’s governments imposing emissions regulations which will only get stricter in the future, the pressure is on to adopt electric vehicles. England and France have motioned to ban all diesel and petrol cars by 2040, and Sweden and Scotland plan to implement the ban.

But how will electric vehicles change the world in the short-term?

Why Are Electric Vehicles Poised to Disrupt the Automotive Industry?

The Automotive industry has operated in largely the same way since it began. Automation has improved the vehicle manufacturing process, but the guiding principles have remained unchanged: build a multi-person vehicle with an internal combustion engine to be sold to an individual.

Electric vehicles threaten the Automotive industry because all the above factors are changing. Cars are getting smaller, with ‘pod’ vehicles and microcars overwhelmingly preferable in urban areas. The internal combustion engine is changing, slowly being phased out and replaced by lithium-ion batteries with ever-growing lifespans. Cars are also increasingly less likely to be sold to an individual for personal private use, as ride-sharing and rental services are on the rise. The mobility-as-a-service sector is expected to generate over $1 billion by 2030.

With all these changes, one would expect the Automotive industry to respond quickly and confidently to meet demand. But not every manufacturer has prioritised electric vehicle manufacturing; some Automotive companies are still undecided about electric vehicles and whether they’re a sustainable product.

Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz announced it will invest $735 billion into a new battery facility in Beijing, cementing Daimler as a key player in the emerging electric vehicles market. Volvo has gone one step further, pledging to phase out all conventional engines by 2019. Volvo’s Chief Executive admitted the move was a risk, but argued “a much bigger risk would be to stick with internal combustion engines.”

It’s clear the Automotive industry is moving towards widespread implementation of electric vehicles manufacturing. But with the sector so huge, and a crucial part of our everyday infrastructure, a paradigm shift like the shift to electric will have an impact on our lives.

What an Electrical Future Might Look Like

All electrical vehicles will require charging stations to replenish power. Like today’s petrol stations, electric charging points are a pivotal piece of technology which will impact the feasibility of an electric vehicle for many of us.

The average distance driven by a privately-owned car in 2016 was under 30 miles a day. This is easily within the range of most electric cars, some of which can travel 1,000km before needing to recharge. In the UK there are nearly 15,000 charging stations already, with this number set to grow in the coming years as electric vehicles become more popular.

An electrical future would mean individuals having charging facilities at our homes, assuming we all had electric cars to charge. Increased electric vehicles manufacturing could see a shift towards a more adaptive future, with fewer people owning their own cars.

Learn more about how technology is changing car manufacturing.

Looking to work in electric vehicles manufacturing? VHR is always recruiting for technicians and engineers to work in the Automotive sector.

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