2022 closes on a high in terms of EV sales, with 7.7 million EVs having been registered globally as of early December 2022, according to Inside EVs. Electric vehicle adoption is rapidly accelerating, although certain areas are more open to it than others. While the public still needs tips about electric cars, it would seem that EVs might end up dominating the world’s motorways sooner than we might think. The numerous implications that EV tech creates in the larger technological world is a strong testament to that. Let’s explore some of the most prominent ones.
Surmounting Delivery Challenges with Resourceful Design
Getting EV production and deployment to a state where they’ll be able to replace conventional vehicles is going to be the logistical challenge of the century. In order to navigate these complexities, EV design is evolving to become cheaper, lighter, and more space efficient. Auto industry leaders have been doubling down on cost-cutting design choices in order to drive sales and outpace the competition. While this does mean that their entry-level models are going to lack power and range, for the average urban driver, this won’t necessarily mean much. In some cases, we’re even seeing brand new Nissan Leafs being more affordable than the average used car.
Meanwhile, the batteries – the core of EV design – are becoming much smaller and lighter, becoming the main driver for efforts in lightweighting and cutting down on vehicle size. This is all thanks to consumer pressure driving investment into more compact yet cheaper battery designs, motivating investors to direct nearly six times as much money to battery tech in 2021 compared to 2020.
Social Pressures Leading to Unlikely Breakthroughs
The price – and not to mention controversy – surrounding resources such as cobalt and lithium have made it quite prohibitive to use them in EV design. This has pushed R&D to experiment with novel materials, and it seems that this has become less of a setback and more of a breakthrough. Trials with batteries made out of tungsten and niobium have been going on since the late 2010s, but are now coming to a head with recent strides in their design allowing them to compete with traditional li-ion batteries.
While these minerals are still considered conflict resources, the environmental impact of their extraction is remarkably lower compared to the currently established battery production minerals in use today. The only real issue with mining them lies in proper waste disposal and land restoration, which is dwarfed by the extensive list of negative impacts associated with lithium mining. Once fully matured, niobium battery tech will offer far superior capacity, safety, and charge speed to their lithium-based counterparts. Coupled with range boosting techniques employed on the user level , EV range can not only compete with, but far surpass that of fossil fuel vehicles. Indeed, one can say the completion of niobium battery development is essential for EVs to be a viable alternative to traditional cars.
Targeted Research and Development
For a short while recently, the news cycle surrounding EVs has been abuzz about how EVs were “getting heavier.” Reading further into these articles reveals that this is only true to some extent since more and more heavy vehicles, such as pickup trucks and SUVs, were getting the EV treatment. This is seemingly in anticipation of the low EV adoption rates in the US, whose market prefers more heavy-duty transportation.
Targeting these less-than-bullish markets only serves to further drive EV tech, making it better for everyone. The long-haul nature of automotive transport in the US puts additional pressure on the development of such tech as ultra-high capacity batteries, superfast charging, electrified roads, and even wireless charging.
As we’ve seen in recent years, the key to EV adoption is EV adoption itself. As more people open up to electric vehicles, they entice more still, and the steady march of electrification accelerates even further.
Author & Publisher | Emily Forbes
An Entrepreneur, Mother & A passionate tech writer in the technology industry!