Electronics and Semiconductors

Electric vehicle costs are falling but challenges remain

10 June 2020

Automotive OEMs are moving fast to support additional electric vehicles (EVs), investing billions of dollars to boost fleets as well as to help reduce their carbon footprint as these manufacturers are under pressure from governments that are placing limits on vehicle emissions.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, EV sales were picking up with more consumers interested in the cars because of the high cost of gas, reduction in range anxiety and the vehicles’ environmentally friendly technology. However, according to a new report from Lux Research, while prices are dropping on EVs, obstacles remain before the vehicles can challenge traditional gasoline powered cars.

Average range and price for EVs from 2011 through 2019. Source: Lux ResearchAverage range and price for EVs from 2011 through 2019. Source: Lux ResearchThe average battery EV (BEV) MSRP declined to $33,901 in 2019 down from $42,189 in 2016 as more affordable models came online to cater to a larger audience. At the same time, the range of these BEVs has increased to 230 miles on average in 2019.

To increase adoption of EVs in the future, Lux said that automotive OEMs should focus on improving efficiency to increase charging speed and minimize the size of the battery.

Challenges remain

While some work has been put in by automotive OEMs and recharging companies to reduce range anxiety, Lux said it is still a significant concern among consumers. Most of the concern revolves around consumers not knowing if charging infrastructure is in place to support the range necessary to complete trips in their vehicles.

Additionally, concerns over how long it takes to charge an EV weigh on the minds of consumers as well as the fear of being stranded for an extended period of time.

However, AAA said in a survey that among those consumers who already own EVs, 95% reported never having run out of a charge while driving and 75% of consumers reported that they only charge their vehicles at home.

The next big focus

Because automotive OEMs have invested heavily in the past few years in electrification, the next steps for these manufacturers is to lower the cost of batteries, battery management systems and improve the efficiency of electric motors.

Improved efficiency of electric batteries and motors will allow vehicles to charge faster and result in more range. Lux said new designs of electric motors are efficient over a wider range of torque and RPM.

In terms of battery management systems, many BEVs restrict the window of usable charge to protect the battery, leaving, in some cases, more than 10% of nominal battery capacity unusable.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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