The electric car industry saw a lot of changes last year. From the prices of electric vehicles to the number of people driving EVs on the roads, 2021 was an exciting year for the electrified car space. The future of electric transportation has never looked so clear.
Here are ten amazing things that happened last year in the EV industry.
1. EV Battery Costs Continue to Drop
EV batteries are expensive, and this is a major problem for overall EV adoption. Higher battery costs mean higher sticker prices for electric vehicles. Since the upfront cost of an EV is generally higher than most gasoline-powered vehicles, consumers can be swayed from switching to an EV.
However, according to a 2020 article released by Bloomberg, EV battery costs have dropped $1,000 per kWh over the past ten years, which is an 89% drop since 2010. This trend is forecasted to continue with lithium-ion packs to drop to $92 per kWh by 2024 and $58 per kwh by 2030.
2. Electric Car Sales Soared
The revolution of EVs has continued to soar. According to Argonne National Laboratory, in March 2021, 33,370 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and 12,687 plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs) were sold in the US.
These numbers set new record sales in the history of EVs. The number of BEVs and PHEVs has not hit a record in those categories of products since December 2018. March 2021 saw an overall record high of EV sales. This is a great sign for the EV industry and the progress in the electrification of mass transportation.
3. Wider Range of EV Selection
The days of limited EV selection are over. 2021 saw the release of many electric vehicles, which included Volkswagen’s ID.4, Volvo’s XC40 Pure Electric, the 2021 Kia Niro EV and others. The addition of more EVs into the market will help bring EV costs down and increase EV adoption rates.
The trend of increasing EV selection will continue into this year as 2022 should be the year of the electric truck. The GMC Hummer EV Pickup, the Ford F-150 Lightning, the Rivian R1T Electric and the Tesla Cybertruck will all be hitting the streets in 2022.
4. President Joe Biden Backs EV Adoption
President Biden has made it clear where he sees the U.S. and electric vehicles in the future. President Biden’s goal for the U.S. is for half of new passenger vehicle sales to be electric car sales by the year 2030. This goal comes from President Biden’s pressing stance on fighting climate change. According to the NOAA, as of July 2021, the concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere is the highest it has been in human history.
Greener transportation is vital to curbing emissions, and since electric vehicle sales are increasing, the pathway to this goal seems to be a straightforward one. Plus, transportation experts have also stated this goal is achievable, “but it will require industry and government to develop supply chains for raw materials and grow investment in charging infrastructure.”
5. Increase in Charging Stations in the U.S.
The U.S. Department of Energy data reported that the U.S. currently has a total of over 45,000 public EV charging stations and around 120,000 charging ports total, with the vast majority being Level 2 chargers. This is a significant jump in numbers compared to the data the Associated Press reported in 2020 of 26,000 electric vehicle charging stations and with around 84,000 plugs.
The charging infrastructure will only keep increasing as the development of public charging stations will be part of a $2 trillion infrastructure bill being pushed by the Biden administration.
6. Increase in Funding for EV Development in the U.S.
2021 was the year of electric vehicle funding. The Biden administration is going all-in into EVs. President Biden’s American Jobs Plan includes a $15 billion investment to fund and build a national network of 500,000 charging stations. This will include a focus on installing chargers in multiunit dwellings, public parking, communities and along roadways.
$4 million of this will be to encourage collaboration and new programs to increase workplace charging to help increase EV ownership for consumers in underserved, low-income communities. This is a huge need. According to a report by Reuters, “Chargers are distributed very unevenly across the country, with California having nearly the same amount of charging stations as the 39 states with the lowest count combined.”
7. Black Women Trailblazed into the EV Industry & EV Technicians Were Recognized
Black women made their mark in EV history in 2021. The tech startup, ChargerHelp!, led by Kameale Terry and Evette Ellis, was approved by the U.S. Department of Labor for an O-NET Code. The O-NET Code database is vital to many Americans as it is the nation’s primary source of occupational information. This code allowed for ChargerHelp!, the first and only on-demand repair app for electric vehicle charging stations, to become a breakout in the workforce development space for electric vehicle charger technicians.
In an interview with Afro Tech, Ellis said that ChargerHelp! is “honored to have led the way and laid the foundation for our technicians to be nationally recognized by name and pay.”
8. Nissan Unveiled a Plan to Introduce 23 Electrified Models by 2030
In November, Nissan showed its commitment to electric vehicles. They announced the “Nissan Ambition 2030” project, an ambitious project to have 23 electric vehicle models available by 2030. The project will have $17.7 billion to fund it, and in addition to EVs, Nissan will also be using the funds to develop solid-state batteries.
According to J.D. Power, a solid-state battery is a rechargeable energy storage system similar in overall structure and operation to the more familiar lithium-ion battery. However, compared to its lithium cousin, a solid-state battery is lighter, recharges faster and offers more range.
Nissan stated this project is part of their “long-term vision for empowering mobility and beyond for a cleaner, safer and more inclusive world”.
9. The World’s First Electric Polar Bear Sighting Vehicle
The Tundra Buggy, pictured above, is a vehicle from Frontiers North Adventures that allows up to 40 passengers to see the beloved polar bears. These trips used to be made by a diesel truck, but a recent conversion using a repurposed battery from an e-bus is now making history.
John Gunter, the CEO and president of Frontiers North Adventures, told CTV News that this move “will reduce our [Frontier North Adventures] greenhouse gas emissions by about 8.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide.”
The conversion was fairly simple according to Gunter. The old diesel undercarriage was rolled out and replaced with a new frame, new suspension, new axles, new propulsion and new motors. The company’s goal is to convert all 12 vehicles in its fleet from diesel to electric power before the end of the decade.
10. The Pope Wants to Go Electric
More people every day are considering the switch to electric, and one of those people happens to be the man holding the highest position in the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis. The 266th Pope has made history as he is the first Pope wanting to be transported in an electric vehicle.
Pope Francis met with Henrik Fisker and Geeta Gupta-Fisker, the founders of EV startup Fisker, in Vatican City to talk about an electrified Popemobile. The care of the environment and climate change are very important topics to the Pope. In 2015, he wrote an encyclical letter about climate being a common good. It seems the Pope is taking this to heart as he focuses on lowering his own carbon emissions with a Fisker Ocean Popemobile.