At the end of 2022, roughly 1.7 million EVs were on the road in the US, and more than 26 million occupied the roads worldwide. Growth is expected to continue globally, especially in China, Europe, the US, and even emerging markets are seeing a significant uptick. By 2030, it’s expected that nearly 350 million EVs will be in service around the world.
Car owners are being spurred onto embracing a technology that’s still relatively new to most, and very few drivers are repeat EV buyers yet. What’s driving the mass adoption of EVs? Here are five factors that are contributing to the rise in EV sales, and a few ways that repair shops can prepare for the increase in EV volume through their doors.
Climate change and air pollution have become pressing global issues, leading to a greater focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to cleaner energy sources. EVs offer a promising solution as they produce zero tailpipe emissions, unlike traditional internal combustion engine vehicles that contribute significantly to air pollution and burn ‘dirty’ fuel from fossil fuels.
Taking it further, EVs can be powered by renewable energy sources like solar and wind, further reducing their overall carbon footprint. As public awareness of environmental issues grows, there is an increasing demand for sustainable transportation that has a minimal impact on the environment. This heightened awareness has driven consumers, businesses, and governments to consider EVs as a viable and necessary alternative to conventional vehicles.
Government Policies and Incentives
Governments worldwide are recognizing the importance of promoting electric vehicle adoption to meet climate goals and reduce air pollution. To encourage EV adoption, various policies, regulations, and financial incentives have been implemented including subsidies, tax breaks, and rebates for EV buyers. There have also been massive investments in charging infrastructure development and public transportation electrification.
Some countries have also set ambitious targets for phasing out internal combustion engine vehicles and replacing them with electric alternatives, and more than a half-dozen states have also made commitments to ban ICE vehicle sales by 2035. These policy measures not only make EVs more attractive to consumers but also create a favorable market environment for automakers to invest in EV development and production.
Falling Battery Prices
The cost of lithium-ion batteries has significantly decreased over the past decade, making EVs more affordable for consumers. High battery prices were once a major barrier to EV adoption, but ongoing advancements in battery technology and increased production scale have led to lower costs. As a result, the price gap between electric and conventional vehicles has narrowed, making EVs a more competitive option for potential buyers. Once carmaker even predicts parity for one of their models by 2024.
Further improvements in battery technology and manufacturing are expected to continue driving down costs, ultimately leading to even greater EV adoption, but an area to watch closely is if lithium production can be scaled to accommodate the needs worldwide.
Increased Range and Charging Infrastructure
One of the primary concerns for potential EV buyers has been the limited driving range offered by early electric vehicles. Advances in battery technology have led to increased driving ranges, making EVs more practical for everyday use. Some modern EV models can now cover over 300 miles on a single charge, addressing the issue of range anxiety for many consumers.
The expansion of charging infrastructure, both public and private, has made it more convenient for EV owners to recharge their vehicles on the go. Governments and private companies are investing heavily in charging stations, ensuring that EV drivers can access charging points easily, further accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles. And the industry is seeing consolidation among carmakers who adopt charging protocols, making it even easier to find a charging station.
Major automakers are increasingly investing in electric vehicle development and production in response to growing consumer demand and the changing market. This investment has led to a greater variety of EV models available to consumers, providing more choices to suit different needs and preferences.
As more automakers commit to electrifying their vehicle lineups, this not only signals a shift in the industry towards a more sustainable future but also creates a competitive environment that drives innovation and improvements in EV technology. Ultimately, increased commitment from automakers helps to make electric vehicles a more mainstream and accessible choice for consumers around the world.
How Can Repair Shops Get Ready for the Transition?
While EVs won’t be the only type of vehicle on the road for the foreseeable future, there will be considerably more of them in the coming decade or so. With that influx come opportunities for repair shops to ‘ride the wave’ and transition their shops to make the most of the new market. They’ll need to:
- Pursue training and education. As electric vehicles become more prevalent, repair shop owners should invest in training and education for their technicians to ensure they have the necessary skills to service and repair EVs. This may include attending courses, workshops, or certification programs focused on electric vehicle technology, diagnostics, and maintenance. By staying up to date with the latest advancements in EV technology, technicians will be better equipped to handle the unique challenges associated with repairing and maintaining electric vehicles.
- Equip their shop with specialized equipment. Electric vehicles require specific tools and equipment that differ from those used for conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. Auto repair shop owners should invest in acquiring specialized tools such as high-voltage gloves, insulation blankets, and safety equipment designed for working on electric vehicles. Additionally, repair shops may need to purchase diagnostic tools specifically designed for EVs. Having the right tools and equipment will not only improve efficiency and safety but also help attract EV customers who are looking for qualified service providers.
- Update their facilities. To accommodate the growing number of electric vehicles, auto repair shop owners may need to update their facilities to include charging stations for both customer and shop use. This will allow technicians to charge vehicles during repairs and provide a convenient charging option for customers. In addition to installing charging stations, repair shops should also consider making facility modifications to ensure safety when working with high-voltage systems, such as creating designated high-voltage work areas and implementing safety protocols. By adapting their infrastructure and facilities to cater to electric vehicles, auto repair shops can position themselves as leaders in the industry and attract a broader customer base.
EV adoption is gaining momentum, and like a freight train, it won’t be slowed or stopped. By recognizing the shift in the market and adapting to the changes, repair shops can remain relevant and be industry leaders, whether they’re franchised service departments or aftermarket facilities.