The electric vehicle industry continued to make strides in 2022. Whether it was the continued increase in electric vehicle adoption or a commitment to electrify fleet vehicles all over the world, 2022 proved to be another year of successful EV development.
Here are ten exciting electric vehicle breakthroughs from 2022.
1. EV Sales Continue to Soar
It should come as no surprise that EV sales have continued to climb. During 2022, EV sales hit an all-time high. According to the International Energy Agency, global sales of EVs doubled in 2021 and represented approximately 9% of the car market. During the first quarter of 2022, EV sales reached 2 million, nearly a 75% increase compared to 2021. The IEA says that EVs are on track for their 2030 milestones—and for net-zero emissions by 2050.
While sales of EVs continue to increase, they are still not the primary mode of transportation globally. The lack of charging infrastructure has slowed improvements in this area, but the IEA’s director, Fatih Birol, is hopeful.
“There are more signs than ever that the new global energy economy is advancing strongly,” Birol said.
Despite infrastructure setbacks, 2022 set record EV sales, and hopefully, this trend will continue.
2. Driving an EV Has Tax Credit Benefits
In 2022, the Biden Administration provided a number of tax benefits to owners of electric vehicles. President Biden included tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act to incentivize owning an electric vehicle. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), this particular tax credit was only applicable through December 31, 2022, but as of January 1, 2023, new criteria will go into effect.
With the new law, there will be limitations on which electric vehicles benefit from the tax credit. However, despite the law changing in 2023, the Biden Administration still has the plan to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles—especially at affordable prices.
3. Increased Equity in the EV Landscape
The 2022 midterm elections brought hope to the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. Typically, charging stations are found in more affluent areas, leaving rural and underserved communities without access to electric vehicle charging stations.
Tennessee, alongside several other states, represents a small sampling of the work being done by NEVI. These states offer a glimpse into how creating more EV infrastructure will provide equitable solutions to underserved communities.
There are a number of factors that contribute to electric vehicles being inaccessible.
In an interview with Arthur Burton from AMB Renewable, he shares, “I see people looking at some of these incentives that they get for purchasing an electric vehicle, but their first question is, ‘OK, where can I go charge that?’”
It isn’t only that the price tag of electric vehicles has been daunting—the lack of charging options poses problems for many. Fortunately, the transition to clean energy and federal investments in electric transportation is starting to make a shift in how accessible these vehicles are to low-income communities. As a result of the 2022 midterm elections, equity in the EV landscape is starting to become a reality for many disadvantaged communities.
4. The Defense Industry Rethinks Electrification and Energy Emission Reduction
World leaders gathered in Egypt for the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) and there was much discussion about how to reduce the energy emissions of armed forces. In an attempt to reduce energy emissions, the armed forces continue to seek out options for electrification.
Though there are still many limitations when it comes to an all-electric transition, the Department of Defense (DOD) recognizes how reliance on fossil fuels poses continued problems related to climate change.
In 2022, the DOD released the Climate Adaptation Plan Progress Report which labeled climate change as a “national security issue.”
As a result of these growing concerns, the shift to electrification is being taken more seriously by the DOD. During the summer of 2022, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) requested that GM Defense, a division of General Motors, develop battery packs for electric military vehicles. The military’s increasing adoption of electric vehicles is intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
According to Electrek, “Most importantly, electric vehicles are quieter, more powerful, can accelerate faster, and are technologically superior, making them the perfect choice for the military.”
5. Furry Friends Prefer EVs
Not only does the adoption of electric vehicles benefit climate change efforts but scientists have found that dogs prefer riding in an electric vehicle.
According to the Metro Tech Reporter, electric vehicles can help calm down dogs, ease their anxiety and reduce car sickness. In a study conducted between the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom and CarGurus UK, scientists carried out the tests on 20 dogs. Each dog went on two 10-minute car rides with identical routes. The only difference: one route was in an electric car, and the other was in a gasoline car.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Professor Daniel Mills of the University of Lincoln, shared, “Our results clearly show that dogs seem to be more relaxed in electric vehicles, particularly when looking at behavioral traits such as restlessness.”
The study has been submitted for publication in an international science journal and investigates the primary effects of travel in electric versus gasoline on dogs.
6. Ford CEO Pursues Becoming Top EV Maker in the World
In April 2022, Ford CEO Jim Farley made his intentions clear: he wanted to bring Ford to the top spot in electric vehicle production.
As of November 2022, Ford built its 150,000th Mustang Mach-E, and it sold a total of 6,255 vehicles, which is an increase of 103% since last year. It’s not only that Ford’s sales have increased in 2022, but Ford also began production of the F-150 Lightning, an electric version of their best-selling pickup truck.
The electric vehicle version of the F-150 will be produced at Blue Oval City’s facility in Tennessee.
7. Racing Sports Explore Benefits of Electric Vehicles
Perhaps part of the appeal of racing is the rush of excitement as the engines roar to life at the starting line. As the US moves to eliminate gas-powered vehicles by the 2030s, personal vehicle owners aren’t the only people who are considering the impacts of this transition. NASCAR, amongst many other racing groups, is preparing for the imminent changes to the racing scene. Currently, NASCAR has an all-electric series—Formula E—but they, like many, are exploring other future options.
For example, Nitro Rallycross tested out an all-electric class of race cars for their eight-stop 2022-23 racing season. In November 2022, the fifth stop was in Phoenix, AZ, and the crowd gathered around with tacos and drinks—and an untraditional silence unfamiliar to racing fans.
Though the roar of engines was missing from this race, Chip Pankow, the general manager of Nitro Rallycross, thinks these international race events are merging environmental concerns with a fun, lively experience.
In an interview with AZCentral, Pankow said, “We’re building a new sport here and trying to do it with a festival atmosphere that speaks to a younger demographic, on their terms. The fans come to the racetrack and they see that these (electric) cars are cool, they’re fast, they’re fun to drive.”
8. More Businesses Opting for Electric Vehicle Fleets
More Americans have the opportunity to choose from an electric car, truck or SUV as electrification becomes more mainstream. As individuals begin prioritizing the purchase of EVs, businesses are also starting to consider EV fleet purchases.
In 2022, Amazon ordered 100,000 Rivian EDVs, and they partnered with Ram to design a battery electric vehicle that can be used for Amazon deliveries.
FedEx is another company that acquired electric vehicles. Currently, FedEx is testing 150 General Motors electric vans throughout Southern California, and they also have ten e-transit vans located throughout SameDay City delivery areas. While these two examples only offer a small sampling, they are indicative of the push toward an all-electric future.
9. Tennessee’s EV Industry is Booming
Ford isn’t the only company working towards electrification in Tennessee.
During 2022, the electric vehicle industry flourished in the state, and at the close of the year, five different companies were working on various aspects of electric vehicle production. Many of these companies acknowledge that Tennessee has highways, a lower cost of living and a workforce that make work conducive in the state.
However, Commissioner Stuart McWhorter, the head of Economic Development, says that Tennessee Valley Authority’s ability to accommodate the power needed to operate plants is a major driving factor.
According to TVA Spokesperson Scott Fiedler, the state’s electric grid is capable of providing Tennesseeans with clean energy and continuing to attract the industry of electric vehicles.
10. Uber Unveils All-Electric Robotaxi
In 2020, Motional, a joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv, was first established. Most recently, Motional and Uber formed a ten-year partnership, beginning in December 2022. This partnership is set to roll out all-electric autonomous vehicles (AVs) for the purpose of Uber ride and delivery services across major US cities.
In a press release from Motional, Ashkay Jaising, the company’s president, stated, “Today, Motional becomes the first AV company to conduct all-electric autonomous rides on the Uber network for public passengers…It’s a testament to our technology and the power of our partnership with Uber that we’re able to go from concept to consumer in such a short time. Las Vegas is the first of many cities in which Motional’s AVs will become an everyday transportation option for Uber customers looking for a safe and convenient ride.”