Dr Peter Harrop, Chairman of IDTechEx, has published an analysis of pure electric vehicles, arguing that this is the period of fastest growth for the market.
Dr Harrop said: “Like most other new products, electric vehicles sell in an S curve of a slow start with over supply. Then comes fastest growth with supply sometimes unable to keep up with demand then comes saturation. Take pure electric buses as an example. Here China rapidly deployed 400,000, 99% of the total number in the world, then it collapsed subsidies causing a collapse in deliveries and sadly it mainly makes smoking buses again.”
Pure electric vehicles: the global trends
“The rest of the world is beginning to compensate”, Harrop continues.
He lists examples, including:
- Qbuzz in the Netherlands has ordered 159 pure electric buses;
- Helsingborg Sweden 76, Brussels Airport 30 and London 68 pure electric double deckers;
- Cities across the UK recently placed a total of 263 orders for zero-emission buses;
- Warsaw will order 130 pure electric buses for delivery by 2021;
- Kazakhstan is expecting 700 electric buses;
- Azerbaijan will gain another 500 electric buses over the next three years; and
- India has a government plan for 10,000 pure electric buses.
The energy storage challenges and how these are being overcome
Harrop explains: “Battery costs have been a primary impediment. However, in an interesting development, busy bus routes are seeing progress to less or no battery. Eight countries have ten-second charging supercapacitor large buses now and non-stop top-up charging in many forms has arrived from solar bodywork to intermittent catenary, rails, coils in the road. Top-up, including stationary forms with gantries etc at bus stops, typically leads to 80% less battery and this and the reduction in battery prices has led to some projections of the battery being a mere 6% of bus cost in ten years’ time.”
“That will hasten the day when the up-front price of pure-electric buses is at parity with diesel. The rising cost of diesel powertrains also helps. Consider the extra cost of diesel fume reduction measures such as 48V mild hybridisation and the cost of adding equipment to treat emissions. IDTechEx currently projects price parity around 2030 for large buses but the future can come early.”
Entering the fastest growth phase
The report concludes: “Like buses outside China, pure electric cars are now near to the fastest-growth phase at around 70% increase in numbers sold yearly, with subsidies already less critical because parity is approached earlier with small vehicles. Many now agree with IDTechEx that the smaller pure-electric cars will have lower up-front price than internal combustion equivalents around 2023 – the killer blow.”
“This time China is in synch with the rest of the world: it has the largest pure electric car sales but, as a percentage of the number of cars being made, nothing exceptional. China is expected to dominate global manufacturing of pure electric cars just as it has grown to be the biggest global manufacturer of conventional vehicles.”