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Commentary & Voices

The EV Decade Has Arrived


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September has been a busy month for EV news, and we still have a week to go. Last week Ford was touting (again) a new electric version of their best-selling F-Series pickup trucks, which is scheduled for launch in 2022 and will be built in an updated facility near company headquarters in Michigan. We also heard this month that General Motors has locked into a strategic partnership with EV startup Nikola, agreeing to provide EV technology and also hydrogen fuel cells. Shortly thereafter, company founder Trevor Milton stepped down, replaced by Steve Girsky, an auto industry veteran who was previously a vice chairman of General Motors. The Nikola story is far from over.

Kia announced plans for an EV brand in the U.S. market earlier this month as well, following confirmation Hyundai will grow its Ioniq line of EVs. And later this week, Volkswagen will showcase its new ID.4, an all-new EV destined for sale in the United States. There are also new EVs in the offing from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo, Toyota and General Motors. If EV technology fails to take off in the U.S. market, it won’t be for a lack of effort or resources.

Later today, Tesla and its leadership will be in the spotlight. The company is holding its annual shareholder meeting followed by a much anticipated, well-promoted event billed as Battery Day. CEO Musk has been talking about Battery Day for months now, helping stir up all sorts of speculation about what Tesla has in development on the battery front.

Advancements in battery technology are the big story in the industry right now, and Tesla is hardly the only company working to improve the breed, although it’s understandable why many consumers might think otherwise. Tesla dominates the EV business and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. The Tesla brand continues to be among the strongest in the industry, and Tesla products accounted for 80% of the nearly 240,000 EVs sold in 2019, according to an estimate by Kelley Blue Book. 

EV sales are only a sliver of the U.S. market right now – sales are growing far more quickly in China and Europe – so it may be easy to dismiss Tesla’s Battery Day event and other EV announcements as minor activities. But that’s about to change. According to numbers compiled by Kelley Blue Book, there will be 49 all-new EVs launched in the next 39 months, through the end of 2023. All of these EVs not for sale today will likely push EV technology and capability further down the road of improvement.

While EVs remain a minor part of the current auto business, it’s likely the decade ahead will change that – we’re entering the EV decade. Lea Malloy, head of research and development, Cox Automotive Mobility, recently led the work on the latest Cox Automotive white paper, “COVID-19 Recovery: Speed Bump or Accelerant for the EV Market?”.

We asked her what she thinks of all the EV news, including Tesla’s Battery Day. Malloy said, “The many EV investments and product innovations are doing more than just garnering headlines – they’re generating much-needed exposure which in turn drives both consumer interest and education. The battery battle is a great example: The race is on to produce the lowest cost cells with the best safety, density, power and life span. Product launches and press days are great ways to spread the word about what consumers can expect when it comes to this key part of the EV. The more the industry is talking about electric vehicles, the more likely they are to become a reality.”

If you want to speak to Lea Malloy or other members of the Cox Automotive team, reach out to the Cox Automotive PR team.

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