Carbon fuels are projected to be a thing of the past earlier than expected, and the opposition to petrol and diesel is gaining more traction than ever before. A global focus is now being made towards the development of new ways for power transportation-one that is both private and commercial. Even after countless attempts towards increasing carbon fuel efficiency and decreasing pollution (and comply with stricter environmental laws) by various car companies globally, the picture isn’t yet very inspiring with the whole issue mostly ending in corporate scandals like the Volkswagen diesel gate and the more recent Fiat-Chrysler issue. Companies have begun to realize that the future of the automotive industry is indeed ‘Electric’, and this has garnered a major focus at almost all major motor and automotive conclaves and shows.
“Electric is the future.” “Autonomous cars driven by AI are closer than ever before”. These are some of the comments that have come from professionals and experts associated with the Automotive Industry domain. Some key drivers that guide this attitude are the advent of technology (which is getting cheaper by the day), the coincidence of electric vehicles development with other tech-related changes, the global push to dampen climate change by limiting carbon-based emissions, and falling prices of Li-ion batteries. With cost being the primary reason responsible for shielding the adoption of electric vehicles, the falling Li-ion battery prices is greatly important because this is helping to gradually move towards a scenario when electric drivetrains would not have any cost disadvantage compared to internal combustion engines. Large automobile manufacturers like Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW, has already committed more than €50 billion investments in the development of electric vehicles (EVs).
The world’s largest car manufacturer, Volkswagen, announced its intentions of being the largest EV manufacturer by 2025, aiming to overtake Renault-Nissan which already has taken a head start in this change. In its Roadmap E initiative, it is on course of electrifying its entire model line-up as well, meaning that by the year 2030, there will be at least one EV variant for all of its 300 group models across all its brands in all markets, including Audi, Volkswagen, Lamborghini, Skoda and Porsche. Mercedes Benz isn’t leaving any stone unturned too. With investment plans of about ten bn euros in electrification, it has a mid-term vision of moving towards zero emissions, and by 2022 they plan to have a portfolio of mild & strong hybrids and more than 50 fully electric model offerings. The BMW Group also has plans to develop about 25 electric models with 12 exclusive models by 2025. Jaguar Land Rover plans to electrify its entire range by 2020. General Motors has strategically undertaken to launch at least 20 new electric vehicles in the next six years. And not to forget, the extreme efforts put in this direction by Tesla. All of these steps by leading manufacturers are more usual than the new-product announcements. The automotive industry is being driven towards a vision of a radical change towards electrification. And the safe thing is these players won’t be flat-footed when the demand for the electric vehicles soars up
Author: Pratik Patra
Pratik is a Writer, Artist, and Technocrat from India. He is an engineer from IIT Bombay and is currently pursuing his MBA from XIMB.