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What Will Our Future EV World Look Like?

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EV sales will grow at least four-fold by 2030 and make up between 62% and 86% of global car sales in 2030. In fact, EV sales could overtake ICE sales as early as 2026. While many pundits bemoan the current state of electric vehicles (EVs), others are imagining what the future EV lifestyle will be. EVs by the next decade will resonant with drivers due to broad yet reasonable changes in the way that EVs are manufactured, priced, charged, and outfitted.

The social world will redefine the driving experience: What it means to be on the open road, to fill up, and to appreciate the miles will feel different yet special in an EV. An Auto Pacific study points to a growing enthusiasm among drivers to embark on electric voyages, with 58% of survey respondents expressing interest considering an EV for their next vehicle purchase. Message framing in the form of cost saving information will have a lasting impact on consumer EV car choices, as will activating EV ownership as a desirable normative belief. As the automotive industry yields to the push to innovate, EV drivers will be part of a social consciousness that insists on zero emissions everything.

Automakers will embrace an all-electric platform: Automakers who are now methodically converting their offerings to battery electric vehicles will become more consistent with ending gasoline car sales by 2035. Major plant retooling projects will be commonplace, and a suite of local, state, and federal policies already in place will expand to meet the exponential needs of battery power.

More models and price ranges will drive interest: People in the US already have a much greater variety of EVs to choose from as part of an EV lifestyle than ever before. While high initial pricing on many EVs has been a concern for many consumers, pricing will stabilize as models that offer a range of features and capabilities come onto the marketplace. Automakers will manufacture lower-tiered vehicles at a price point that is attractive to customers and still allows manufacturers to secure profit margins. Consumers will have seen the evidence that switching to EVs saves money, especially over the long run.

Governments will step up to support more EV adoption: The successful implementation of zero-emission vehicle goals will be spurred by commitment and action at the regional level. Cumulative capital investment of $82 billion in public and private charging infrastructure will augment the assumed costs, including charging equipment and installation but excluding the cost of grid upgrades and distributed energy resources.

Infrastructure for charging electric vehicles: EV drivers will become accustomed to a redefined charging experience by 2030. As more companies and workers embrace remote work, the future EV lifestyle will balance individual driving habits and charging needs. Range anxiety will become a thing of the past as charging stations become pervasive in nearly every community. The knowledge that daily driving habits don’t require commensurate daily charging will assuage fears about running out of charge. Most will install home charging, yet public charging stations will be very important. They will be well lit, display easy to understand signage about charging speed and pricing, and offer amenities like windshield cleaners, air pumps, and vacuums,  Renovated convenience stores will cater to the EV clientele and offer amenities like cafe-like menus, good service, tables and chairs, and clean bathrooms.

The EV will become an extension of the home: Connectivity will expand into more point of sale opportunities; consumers will purchase items or services directly from a vehicle’s center infotainment screen. Anything from ordering takeout to items catered specifically to families’ needs will be readily available via an in-vehicle marketplace. Such capabilities will become another revenue-generating source for automakers, in addition to drivers’ ability to stream video content, play games, join video conferencing, and browse the internet. The Auto Pacific study predicts that “ADAS features, comfort amenities, and even performance-focused treats like quicker acceleration and extra range for EVs” will be available through the touchscreen.

Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) tech and grid enhancements: Managing the interplay between EVs and the power grid will be a challenge to overcome for the EV lifestyle to become stress-free. Bidirectional power flow of the EV’s battery charging to either charge the car or sustain the utility grid will be in demand. No longer will V2G be affected by diverse loading conditions that challenge the network’s acceptable voltage and optimal power-sharing within the electrical network. Since the V2G perspective is based on the 5Ds (decentralization, decarbonization, digitization, deregulation, and democratization), its common implementation will overcome the shortcomings in the contemporary power grid. Dynamic electricity pricing will likely encourage certain EV charging and discharging behaviors. The addition of renewable resources to meet additional load from EVs and state emission-level requirements will be augmented by supportive smart charging behaviors.

Autoworkers will experience a just transition in the workplace: The vehicle electrification trend is expected to generate demand for labor in three main areas: the design and development of electric vehicle models, the production of batteries that power them, and the installation and maintenance of charging infrastructure. Unions like the UAW will have secured pathways for workers in which employment is guaranteed because fossil fuel companies will be required to compensate for the economic damages they’ve caused. Workers will be paid partially through that compensation.

Battery production and raw materials: Battery costs continue to decrease so much that Goldman Sachs projects costs in 2025 will be 40% cheaper than in 2022. To offset the raw minerals challenge, the industry will massively scale up resource production and focus on the recycling of battery metals in the future to meet the increasing consumption of electromobility. Depending on the growth and technology scenario, the future demand for lithium and cobalt exceeds today’s production by up to 8 times in 2040. The recycling potential for lithium and nickel is more than half the raw material demand for lithium-ion batteries then, and cobalt recycling potential exceeds the raw material demand in 2040.

Extended economic benefits come along with EV adoption: The tendency to use EVs leads to development, and many companies will strive to be leaders in the application of a sustainable development business plan. By default, companies will encourage innovations that reduce emissions and assume social and environmental responsibility that will preserve the environment.

EVs will increase public health: The adoption of EVs will have a positive impact on public health. Reduced exposure to ICE-vehicle-related air pollution, which is associated with increased adverse health effects such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, hospitalizations, and premature mortality, will lessen with each generation of EV drivers.

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Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn Fortuna, PhD, is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. Carolyn has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavey Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla and an owner of a 2022 Tesla Model Y as well as a 2017 Chevy Bolt. Please follow Carolyn on Substack: https://carolynfortuna.substack.com/.

Carolyn Fortuna has 1280 posts and counting. See all posts by Carolyn Fortuna