ElectricDrives Exclusive: 14 Leading industry professionals share their top emobility predictions for 2022

2022 is set to be another pivotal year for emobility. Electric vehicle (EV) sales grew 154% in China last year and the US is set to surpass 650,000 sales over the next twelve months. It’s a similar story in Europe, where Element Energy expect EV sales to overtake petrol and diesel as early as 2025.

But what major shifts and trends can we expect to see over the year?

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We asked 14 leading figures from across the sector to send us their top emobility predictions for 2022. Specialising in a wide range of fields – manufacturing to investment, charging infrastructure to retail – these CEOs and other top professionals are all at the heart of the electrification transition, well-positioned to offer unique insights.

Marc Palmer – Brand Director, AutoTrader

The mainstream will wake up to electric cars. 2021 was undoubtedly a watershed year – with an 11.6% share of new car sales in 2021, EV evangelists may be feeling pretty pleased – almost double the figure in 2020 and electric is now the second biggest-selling fuel type.

The fact is that a lot of this early progress has been in fleet channels, but also that so far most of those cars bought by private buyers are being driven in the UK’s more affluent postcodes.

EV consideration is mainly among people who are twice as likely to sit in the UK’s highest income brackets, with double the mix of social grades A/B – 7 in 10 views of electric cars are for vehicles over £35k (compared to a 40% market average).

Mainstream car buyers haven’t yet given EVs serious consideration because they’re around 35% more expensive than a petrol equivalent and unless they have a driveway, harder to own – and that’s an issue.

But in 2022 that will begin to change – it must, because we need mainstream new car buyers to begin to seriously consider the switch. Right now they’re more expensive and less convenient for a lot of people, but three things will spark mainstream interest.

First, the introduction of over 30 new models including some at the more affordable end of the market. Secondly, the continued expansion of public charging infrastructure. And thirdly, increased availability of used EVs, which will prompt more buyers to add electric to their shortlists.

Jonathan Carrier – Co-Founder, ZipCharge

Petrol prices will reach £2/litre and drive accelerated demand for EVs. I’m not talking about extreme supply restrictions like 2021, but a genuine increase in petrol prices as a result of reduced supply and pricing control by OPEC. As electricity and gas wholesale energy prices reach all-time highs, the costs of petrol will increase.

People will start to feel the pinch as a result and it will lead to more people evaluating EVs as an option so they can lower the cost of motoring. It will lead to a growing squeeze on the supply of new EVs, and we will see increased demand for used EVs as a result.

Ian Mackenzie – CEO, Trojan Chargers

High energy costs throughout 2022 will continue and further draw attention to the delta between public EV charging costs and home charging costs for those without driveways.

This will encourage new solutions to come to market that allow householders who park on-street to connect to their own domestic electricity supply whilst charging on street.  For example gulley solutions or domestic on-street chargers. This will ultimately kick-off a wave of consumer-led deployment of on-street charging infrastructure.

Alfonso Martinez – Managing Director, LeasePlan UK

As we continue to make real headway on our emobility journey, it’s no surprise that the government is chipping away at incentives to switch to EV. For example, we already know that from April 2022, the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) – which currently offsets 75% of the cost of installing a charge point at home, up to a maximum of £350 – will no longer be available to homeowners in single-unit properties.

Instead, this subsidy will be refocused on leaseholders, renters and those living in flats. A positive move to redirect funding where it’s needed most, but a notable step in the direction of the removal of EV incentives.

After this announcement, many expected that electric car grants would be removed completely. Instead, the government announced cuts to the plug-in car and van grants.

While it’s promising that the grant wasn’t scrapped altogether, there’s a chance that it might end up being reduced so much that by the time it stops, it’s unnoticeable. What’s vital now is that the government focuses on improving public charging infrastructure in lieu of these changes to EV incentives.

John O’Hanlon – CEO, Waylands

The incredible growth of Electric Vehicles will continue, despite the challenges of semiconductors and charging infrastructure. Diesel is dead apart from in a very few cases. The continued success of established brands and new to market brands will allow us to believe that the 2030 deadline for sale will not be a cliff-edge that some assert.  

As the majority of customers begin to talk about and consider EVs, then dealers will play an integral part in the success of the technology.  Dealers must educate consumers, demonstrate the product and ensure that EVs are represented fairly in terms of running cost and true emission levels.

Kevin Welstead – Senior Director EV, SSE Energy Solutions

We need to see a ramping up of the pace when it comes to charging infrastructure in 2022. A total of 108,205 new electric cars were registered in the UK in 2020, up 185% from the previous year. And with the UK ending sales of all new diesel and petrol cars and vans in 2030, EV sales are set to soar. But we need to see all parts of the EV jigsaw being catered for.

That includes making sure we are providing solutions for taxis and fleets and of course private individuals who might not have access to on-street charging in urban conurbations. The other aspect will be rural areas too which we can’t leave out of the EV equation so we need a joined-up approach from national and local government as well as companies like SSE Energy Solutions playing their part.

Karl Anders – Management Consultant, Compleo Charging Solutions

The market penetration ratio of EV sales to petrol/diesel will continue to flip even further towards pure battery cars and vans as the production supply of EVs improves. The utilisation of public charging networks and workplace charging for employees will rise fast leading to an emerging queuing problem.

And of course, we will see a continued rapid escalation of people across leasing, rental, consultancy companies etc. flooding LinkedIn with junk info cries for attention claiming to be EV influencers by revealing the shock new news that ‘range anxiety is a barrier to EV uptake’ (as if it is still 2014).

Maria Bengtsson – Partner, EY

More attention will be paid to sustainability across the whole value chain, rather than merely tailpipe emissions. It felt like 2021 was the year that this began to seriously enter the discussion, but I predict that in 2022, the focus will somewhat shift onto sustainability issues to supply chain, manufacturing processes and energy generation.

Some OEMs have already announced targets in relation to cars leaving the factory gates with a zero-carbon footprint and this trend will grow stronger in 2022. There will also be increased scrutiny on how the electricity we charge batteries with is generated.

Niall Riddell – CEO, Paua

2022 will be the year that public electric vehicle charging grows up as a business model, with investment flooding in.

Increased public charging utilisation is happening but it’s crucial to managing investment risk. Hopefully, we will see the average charge sessions per charger breaking the 5 events a day barrier (maybe even 6) improving the investment case. Paua tracks this closely.

EV networks will start to become treated as an infrastructure class. Declining risk and uncertainty is likely to see less of a venture “bet” on infrastructure and more serious infrastructure funding coming to market (like BlackRock& Ionity).

With low barriers to entry, we will see more chargepoint networks emerging. I’m predicting around one new network every two-three weeks in the UK (yes 20-25 new networks in 2022). Many of these could well be landlords taking in the investment risk themselves.

With increased infrastructure investment, utilisation will remain a key topic. Reliability will be forced to increase. Roaming across networks will become easier with solutions such as those we are developing at Paua. Fleets and businesses will treat public infrastructure as a serious opportunity to enhance fleet electrification moving away from just home and depot charging.

Essa Al-Saleh – CEO, Volta Trucks

My prediction for 2022 is that large electric trucks will transition from the theory and promises of the past to a reality with vehicles operating on roads, starting to address the climate change and air quality crises that society faces.

The mindset of our customers and fleet operators has clearly changed, from being questioning to being engaged in the transition. This is supported by a Total Cost of Ownership that now delivers a positive business case to migrate to electric.

Battery technology is also robust, where fleet operators can clearly understand the performance that electric vehicles will deliver. But it’s wider than just the electric truck as a product, and unlike the past, vehicle operators can now clearly understand that the suite of enabling services and solutions around the vehicle to support the migration, such as charging infrastructure and the maintenance of the vehicles, is in place to give them the confidence to switch now.

Jane Hoffer – CEO, GoWithFlow

I think it will be a year where instead of fancy electric vehicles being anomalies and therefore noteworthy when seen on the road, the increasing number of makes and models of PHEVs and PEVs alongside new and changing infrastructure will make decarbonised mobility commonplace.

Driven by pressures from society and corporate strategy and influenced by government mandates and carbon emission reduction targets, individuals, corporations, and public bodies will raise the priority of their own transition away from internal combustion engines and this will force significant demand to the fueling / charging landscape in our communities.

Fiona Howarth – CEO of Octopus Electric Vehicles

2021 was a landmark year for the UK EV market. By December, one in four new cars was fully electric and we’re not slowing down – 2022 will see sales kick into top gear.

The initial barriers holding people back from trading in their old gas guzzlers have been addressed – with the ability to fill up for a fiver and incentives like salary sacrifice, along with bigger batteries and the rapid deployment of infrastructure. We now have great cars that are fun to drive and save us money.

With EVs becoming more common, the biggest catalysts for further uptake are the drivers themselves, telling their family, friends, colleagues and just about everyone who will listen how great they really are.

But we also need the supply to keep up with this demand landslide. Car manufacturers that can churn out cars at scale are going to be the really big winners in 2022. The race is on.

Mark Richards – Partner, BCLP

2022 will be the year of the hub. We will start to see development and plans for a large number of EV charging hubs with the amenities rolling out to cater for EV owners without EV off-street charging points.

Development of EV hubs will be increasingly attractive to real estate developers and investors post-pandemic looking to repurpose or simply augment out of town retail parks to offer great amenity to customers, increase dwell time, improve their sustainability credentials and the prospects of capturing additional revenue.  

The “Hub” won’t just be confined to consumers, we will also start to see freight and logistics EV charging hubs to cater for delivery vans and last-mile delivery platforms, again likely to be created in an out of town setting.  

As UK towns and cities tackle the challenge of clean air, zero-emissions last-mile delivery platforms offer economic and sustainable logistics solutions for businesses in towns and cities that have elected to ban or charge polluting vehicles.

Ade Thomas – Founder of Green.TV and Co-Founder of the EV Summit

This will be the year of the electric forecourt in the UK, as GRIDSERVE roll out their new charging hubs and established players like Shell, push on from their first EV hub in Fulham, to transition other petrol stations into electron stations.

As these predictions begin to take shape in the coming months, ElectricDrives will be here to cover all the latest developments, bringing you the most important business stories from the emobility sector.

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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