In Electrification Insights, Insights

The 2020s Will Be Remembered For The Birth Of Popular EV Brands

Major auto brands across the world are increasingly eager to unveil their electric vehicle (EV) ranges. This is not just because EVs are starting to be seen as a viable alternative to the traditional internal combustion engine, but many governments have now announced a final date for the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles. The days of the gas guzzler are limited and popular EV brands are starting to take shape.

In most cases these government end dates allow for around another decade of traditional vehicles to be sold – then it will be EVs only. Naturally it will take some time for the present stock of petrol and diesel cars to age, but the process is in motion – within a couple of decades petrol vehicles will only be sought out by classic car collectors.

BMW has already sold over a million EVs. They have built a comprehensive EV range and are confident that they will hit their two millionth EV sale before 2025. The German auto maker is so confident of growth in this market, they are hiring an additional 6,000 employees to cope with the demand.

BMW is an interesting brand to focus on because they have long accepted that the EV market is quite different to traditional petrol vehicles. Auto brands need to influence – or at least take an interest in – many other areas that affect the life of a car owner. This may include insurance policies for EVs and national charging infrastructure – all areas that traditional car brands did not need to worry about.

Board level executives at BMW are actively promoting the increased rollout of charging infrastructure in urban areas. They see it as a ‘chicken and egg’ situation. Independent charging companies don’t want to build large networks of infrastructure without knowing the EV customers are out there, but people will not readily convert to using EVs unless they are confident that they can find charging points when away from home.

Likewise, VW is investing a large amount in converting hundreds of their American dealerships into EV experience hubs. Maintenance, and accident repair are all important services that any vehicle owner requires and VW is acknowledging that all their dealers need to be selling and servicing EVs – within a few years this will be their primary business, but the next decade is likely to be a hybrid where customers can choose either option.

The EV battery market was valued at $13.36 billion in 2019 and is estimated to reach $46.80 billion by 2027. If we remember the 1990s for the birth of the Internet and the 2000s for the birth of social media then it is likely that this decade will be dominated by the transition away from petrol and diesel to EVs. Kids born in this decade and beyond will only know of petrol vehicles as the cars they can see in “old” movies.

EV critics used to focus on battery range, but then switched most of their comments to the required servicing, insurance, and charging infrastructure that widespread EV use will require. These critics are seeing their arguments taken apart one by one. Brands such as VW and BMW openly acknowledge that they need to not only build the vehicles, but influence and stimulate an entire EV ecosystem. They are stepping up and investing. The auto brands that create a sense of confidence in EV customers will be the ones that succeed in this decade and in the 2030s.

Building great EVs is not the only ingredient required for long term success. Tesla has built a huge fan base thanks to their innovative design, but for EVs to truly go mainstream we need service stations to all offer charging, dealers to be 100% comfortable when servicing EVs, and parts to be available. Brands such as BMW and VW are acknowledging this and working hard to change the market.

Please get in touch with me directly on LinkedIn here if you want to discuss these ideas further. Interested in learning more about electric vehicle customer experience solutions? Please contact ICON’s Mark Matthews.

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