Electric vehicles (EV) and adjacent technologies have been gaining interest as the climate crisis worsens and alternatives to fossil fuels are explored. Increasing government support for the shift towards EVs adds to the confidence that automakers already have making the push towards all-electric or majority-electric product portfolios. Tesla is the dominant EV manufacturer at the moment, accounting for just over 21% of the fully electric vehicle market segment. Other companies such as Volkswagen, Hyundai, Volvo, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar Land Rover, and Ford are also making strides to carve a space of the EV market out for themselves.
Furthermore, the COP-26 Climate Change Summit held in Glasgow last month emphasized the global effort to address the carbon emissions that gas-powered vehicles are creating. Governments, businesses, and investors alike are committed to making all new passenger cars zero-emission by 2040 globally. To achieve such a goal, certain complications surrounding policies of EV production must be addressed. Governments need to create a strong path forward for EVs to become the dominant type of transportation. The European Union and UK, for example, have set hard CO2 emission limits. China has done this through their “New Energy Vehicle Policy” which sets fuel efficiency and consumption standards that manufacturers must meet. Other government help has come through the 2021 Infrastructure Bill passed in November, in which the U.S. has allocated $7.5 billion dollars to build a nationwide network of 500,000 public EV charging stations along highway corridors.
One area that EVs are soon going to effect is vehicle fleets and mobile workers. Within the infrastructure deal is $2.5 billion allocated to produce an estimated 11,000 new electric buses. President Biden also wants the entire federal fleet to be EVs, which is roughly 645,000 vehicles. Enterprises are already creating a demand for electric delivery vans, especially among transportation and logistics verticals. A recent survey by VDC found EV adoption ranked as the most impactful technology trend to affect transportation and logistics in the next 4-6 years. In the same survey, input costs such as fuel are ranked as the most impactful challenge facing transportation and logistics companies in the next 4-6 years. Large delivery companies are taking note, with Amazon and UPS both waiting for 100,000 electric vans to join their delivery fleets. Automotive manufacturers in the enterprise vehicle market such as Ford and GM are quickly looking to add electric vans to their portfolio to capture this growing demand.
As more EVs are deployed and charging stations become more abundant, other issues need to be taken into account. Since all these charging stations will have some level of connectivity, cybersecurity need to be addressed. Major concerns are that ransomware attacks and data breaches meant to target end users and/or centralized charging networks could result in stolen payment information, charging stations being held hostage, and power grid manipulation. Hackers could potentially take control of multiple charging stations and thus manipulate the power loads of charging stations and cause blackouts. Luckily, current cybersecurity measures used for bulk power systems in North America such as continuous monitoring for network abnormalities, isolating hacked areas of the networks, and data layering can be used to mitigate the current cybersecurity risks.
Logistical processes surrounding battery production, recycling, and resourcing are also in the limelight as EV production ramps up. Additionally, new use cases for rugged mobile devices, mainly rugged tablets for diagnostics, are presenting themselves as the EV market evolves. This is a market still in its infancy and has yet to permeate into all aspects of our lives; although that seems to be the direction it is headed.