Big strategy decisions ahead for electric cars
Those making or intending to make electric cars or their components have big strategy decisions ahead. These decisions must be made in the context of all car-like vehicles, whether homologated as cars or as something else. As the new IDTechEx report, Hybrid and Pure Electric Cars 2014-2024: Technologies, Markets, Forecasts points out, it is essential to look at the big picture. Take the example of car-like, on-road micro EVs - quadricycles in Europe. Will they increase your mainstream e-car sales or decrease them? Are they a useful extra line of business or a threat?
Renault has the Twizy, Toyota has the pure electric iRoad three wheel motorcycle. Others are not so sure but they must take a position. Automotive manufacturers can argue that micro EVs are dangerous, needing legal restrictions of driver and vehicle, thus protecting conventional e-car sales. Alternatively, they can welcome micro EVs as a useful transition vehicle between e-bikes and cars and even sell some.
IDTechEx statistics show the overall micro EV business will be large, partly because it encompasses e-rickshaws in India and e-tuk tuks in the Philippines, which has over three million tuk tuk taxis to replace in the face of severe local pollution. Even Europe has plenty of poor countries where purchase of an homologated e-car can only be a distant dream. Sell them something in the meantime? The $188 billion global market in homologated hybrid and pure electric cars in 2025 is boosted by pure electric mainstream e-cars reaching a tipping point but it is not the whole story - micro EVs will be at least an additional $10 billion dollars in sales.
Strategy must address vertical vs horizontal integration. IDTechEx recommends a lightness of touch and speed of response because all mechanical, electrical and electronic components are changing their nature and merging into integrated structures, even smart bodywork and smart skin. The key enabling technologies of e-cars have been batteries, electrics/electronics and electric motors. Now we must add three generations of range extenders arriving including fuel cells. Then there are multiple energy harvesting and supercapacitors as new key enabling technologies.
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Top image of Twizy: Wikipedia