Electric Vehicle Market Insights – Wharton Global Youth Program – globalyouth.wharton.upenn.edu | CarTailz

Attention all new and aspiring drivers. Are you planning to go electric? The data suggests you are. A recent survey by Cars.com, an online vehicle marketplace, found that 56% of 1,000 respondents believe all teenage drivers will learn to drive an electric vehicle within the next 10 years. This is you behind the wheel of a car that runs on battery power, not gas. As high school students who are just starting out in driving and care about preserving the health of our planet, the EV market has important implications. So let’s get in.

An electrified future

It’s an incredibly timely moment, experts agree, to be talking about the electric vehicle industry, which is both in a period of dynamic development and central to tackling the problem of climate change – primarily the long-term changes in temperatures and weather patterns caused by human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels from sources such as gasoline used in traditional internal combustion engines.

The challenge? Shifting a massive transportation system that relies heavily on gasoline to one that relies on more climate-friendly energy sources, while ensuring security and equity.

The good news is that change is happening. This is being driven in part by the urgency of climate change and governments pushing for a faster move toward reduced emissions. Electric vehicles have captured 7% of new vehicle sales in the US

“This is a really important technology, policy and market moment,” said Genevieve Cullen, president of the Electric Drive Transportation Association, a US group of companies representing the entire electric transportation value chain, including vehicle manufacturers and electric utility companies, companies in the materials supply chain ( think lithium mining to make car batteries) and companies helping build EV infrastructure. “The future of transportation is electrification,” notes Cullen, who recently joined fellow EV experts on a panel on “Cars and Climate: The Transformation of Electric Vehicles” during Penn Climate Week at the University of Pennsylvania.

The panellists agreed that the motivation to drive electric comes from a variety of sources. “Transport is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions (causing climate change) and you need to be electrified to counter that,” adds Cullen. “That’s where the global market is headed. So if the United States wants to be at the forefront of the technology that will power the next century, we need to invest in electrification. This is also part of energy security. We need to drive our transport sector differently. Electrification is also essential for environmental justice. The communities that suffer most from air pollution are often vulnerable communities. By electrifying personal, commercial and public transportation, you can achieve better health outcomes in vulnerable communities. There are many reasons for that.”

dr John Paul MacDuffie.

Other signposts are leading Americans toward widespread adoption of electric vehicles, says John Paul MacDuffie, a management professor at the Wharton School, a leading auto industry researcher and director of the Vehicle and Mobility Innovation program. Power generation is going green faster than any other sector (think solar and wind), so anything that can be switched to electricity will advance emission reduction goals faster – namely cars.

Acceptance, Affordability, Innovation

According to MacDuffie, the market is overcoming one of the biggest barriers to wider EV adoption — the high price of EVs from just a few manufacturers. “While most of the press went to Tesla and other startups, it’s pretty clear now that the established automakers — the big names in internal combustion engines — will be bringing EV models to market,” says MacDuffie. “So it’s not a situation where the incumbents of the old technology miss the transition and it’s being adopted by newcomers. Everyone now agrees that GM, Ford, Volkswagen, Hyundai and eventually Toyota will have successful electric vehicles.”

And these prices? They come down, suggests MacDuffie. “Right now there’s still a bit of an affordability issue, but companies like GM – in alliance with Honda – are promising to bring lower-cost vehicles to market,” he notes. “I don’t think we’ll ever see very cheap Tesla vehicles. But the big automakers are used to making many products in different segments for different types of customers. They will be able to.”

Affordability and better EV performance depend heavily on improved battery technology. According to MacDuffie, this is an area of ​​explosive technological innovation.

Most plug-in hybrids (which run on both electric and petrol) and pure electric vehicles are powered by lithium-ion batteries. Improved battery cell chemistry addresses some of the issues with sourcing raw minerals and metals. “You can read articles about how cobalt comes out of Congo with child labor and human rights abuses and how that will plague the transition to electric vehicles,” says MacDuffie. “More and more battery chemistry can do without cobalt. All of these batteries require lithium. As it turns out, lithium is abundant in the earth, but mining is lagging behind demand. We’re going to see a lot of investment in lithium, and there are a few different mining models that are showing promise.”

MacDuffie adds that automakers are beginning to design the chassis — the frame on which a car is built — to house the necessary battery cells. Other areas of the EV market ripe for innovative thinking: more convenient battery charging stations and faster, more efficient EV manufacturing.

MacDuffie sees teens playing a valuable role in the future of electric vehicles – both as innovators and consumers. “I would say try them out. The nice thing is that there will be a lot of models from a lot of different automakers at a lot of different prices,” he notes. “Even if you’re not sure you live in a situation where you need one right away (a lot of young people are moving to the cities to start their careers), it’s a great time to get out there and take a test drive.” to find out what’s going on and catch some of the excitement. Young people could be early adopters of this technology without really giving up anything. You can be more open and motivated by helping the goal of reducing emissions and dealing with climate change. Why not board on the ground floor of this exciting transition?”

conversation starter

Why is it an incredibly timely moment to talk about the electric vehicle industry?

In which three directions is the electric vehicle market and related technologies developing?

dr MacDuffie says teens should consider EV test drives Have you done this or are you planning to? Would you buy an electric vehicle? Share your story and insights in the comments section of this article.

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