Author: Alwin Antony
To win a race it takes a lot, especially when the race is fierce and you have a lot at stake. In the last article we discussed ‘How to win the EV race’ as a company and today we are going to look at ‘How a Country can win the Electrification Race‘ and get the most out of It.
How to Win the EV Race – Blog Series
This is the second part of How to Win the EV Race blog series
- As An EV Maker, What Does It Take to Win the EV Race?
- What Does It Take To Win The EV Race As A Country?
- Who Has the Winning Edge in The Ongoing EV Race? The Oldtimers or The Startups
Winning the EV race as a country is not just about dominating the market but also about achieving a sustainable, environmentally friendly, and economically viable ecosystem for EVs in the country.
It requires a multidimensional approach that encompasses various aspects, including technology development, infrastructure, policy, and economic considerations. In other words, if you want something to flourish you have to give it a proper bed where it has all the support and nurturement for it to grow and flourish.
Let us look at each factor a country has to address to win the Race.
#1 Investment in Research and Development
To succeed in the EV race, a country needs to invest heavily in research and development for EV technology. This includes battery technology, electric drivetrains, and other components to improve efficiency, range, and affordability. Also, another important thing to keep in mind is finding ways to manufacture the EVs economically, safely and environmentally friendly.
The countries may have to give incentives or other resources to the companies that venture into the R&D of EVs. For example, The U.S. Department of Energy has invested in research projects like the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to advance EV technologies, such as advanced batteries and energy-efficient electric motors.
The good thing about countries investing in R&D for EVs is that the findings or the results of the research can be used in other sectors as well. If you come across a safe and reliable battery technology it can be used in the country’s space mission or you found a better alloy that is cheap to produce or lighter in weight and performs well under load it can be used in other sectors or even in the gasoline cars to increase efficiency and reduce carbon emission.
Now moving on to the next important factor.
#2 Battery Technology & Production Techniques
This is the single most important factor in getting ahead in the EV race as a country. Because securing a robust domestic battery production industry is crucial. Batteries are a key component of EVs, and countries with their battery production capabilities have a competitive advantage. This involves investment in battery manufacturing facilities, as well as securing a steady supply of critical materials like lithium, cobalt, and nickel.
When it comes to EV batteries China marches way ahead of any other country. In 2021, China controlled the global lithium-ion manufacturing industry as around 79% of the lithium-ion batteries that were sold on the international market that year were made in China.
The country is home to four of the top 10 battery producers in the world. China also has a stable supply chain to resource components and materials like lithium and graphite for the battery, including the mining and refinement of battery components. Some Chinese battery manufacturers include CATL, BYD, CALB, Guoxuan, and Sunwoda.
While China is anticipated to continue to be the world’s top producer of lithium-ion batteries in 2025, European nations are anticipated to dramatically increase their production capabilities.
That being said, let us discuss another critical factor.
#3 Infrastructure Development
As we have mentioned earlier, establishing a comprehensive charging infrastructure is essential to support the widespread adoption of EVs. This includes fast-charging networks along highways and urban areas. Governments can offer incentives to private companies to expand the charging network.
Consider the case of Norway. The country boasts the most public fast chargers per capita of any nation in the world and it is the result of the government’s significant investment in EV chargers. Most of the public charging facilities have a 20-minute charge time and can charge an EV battery from 0% to 80%. Furthermore, Norway promotes in-house charging of EVs by offering incentives to housing organisations and residents of apartment buildings so they may install their chargers on their premises.
Guess the result…Norway leads the EV adoption in the world. In fact, in Norway’s new vehicle registration EVs are two-thirds of the total registrations.
Of Course, there are many other factors contributing to Norway’s achievement in this and we will cover those soon.
#4 Incentives and Subsidies
Providing incentives for consumers to buy EVs can stimulate demand. This may include tax credits, rebates, or reduced registration fees for EV owners. Incentives can also be extended to manufacturers to develop and produce EVs domestically.
Again let us take Norway as an example. Norwegians who purchase all-electric vehicles do not have to pay significant value-added taxes or registration fees. This reduces the cost of purchasing and maintaining an EV significantly.
But In Norway, the true turning point came in 2012, when the lifetime cost of owning an EV ( which includes the price of the car, maintenance, and charging) became less expensive than the lifetime cost of owning a typical petrol or diesel car, even after accounting for all the tax benefits. Additionally, Norway has given EV drivers certain alluring benefits, including free city parking, exemptions from or reduced fees for road tolls, access to priority bus lanes, and discounted ferry fares.
Guess what? All these efforts bear fruits and as mentioned earlier Norway leads EV adoption in the globe.
#5 Regulatory Framework
What is the best way to keep people away from driving gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles?
Make it harder and more expensive to own and operate a gasoline or diesel-powered vehicle.
Implementing strong emissions standards and regulations that encourage the adoption of EVs can be a significant driver. This can include stricter emissions targets for traditional internal combustion engine vehicles and more lenient regulations for EVs.
For example, California and many other states in the United States have stringent emission standards, which have driven automakers to produce more EVs to meet the state’s regulations.
Now let us look at another factor for faster EV adoption.
#6 Government Procurement
Governments can lead by example by purchasing EVs for their fleets. This not only boosts demand but also demonstrates their commitment to the technology.
The use of EVs aids fleets in lowering operational expenses related to maintenance and fuelling while reducing air pollution from vehicle emissions. However, the higher initial prices of EVs compared to their petroleum equivalents, their scarcity, and the availability of charging infrastructure have prevented fleets from purchasing them.
Despite these obstacles, some state and local public fleets have successfully incorporated EVs into their fleets, and several have employed creative procurement techniques to lower the price of EV purchases. In India, all the metropolitan cities have adopted EV buses into their public transportation fleets as Indian cities suffer the most from both air and noise pollution. Taking such initiatives will not only aid the electrification process of the country but also offer a relaxing and comfortable journey for the public.
In my opinion, there is one more advantage of incorporating EVs into public transportation as it will give a first-hand experience for the public and they can get a good taste of the EV ride and get a good impression about EVs.
#7 Education and Awareness
Some might think educating the public about EVs is not that important for a country to lead the EV race. However, according to a recent study, information gaps (34%) are a significant obstacle to the adoption of EVs, and a lack of knowledge is one of the biggest ones. It turns out that many individuals have little knowledge about EVs (18%) but a strong desire to learn more (59%).
Here are some of the findings of the study.
- While 4 out of 10 people could name Tesla, just 18% of them could name BMW, the second most well-known EV brand. Other companies have difficulty increasing their EV name awareness above 15%.
- According to 31% of the study respondents, infrastructure for charging electric vehicles needs to be improved (42%).
- In 2018 AAA study found that 58% of customers stated they wouldn’t switch to electric vehicles because they were concerned about the range.
- Over half of the audience (53%) was not aware that an EV can be charged using a standard household socket.
- 20% of people were unaware that those who purchase EVs are eligible for tax incentives. One in five attendees was unaware that EV drivers in the UK do not have to pay road tax.
- Moreover, two-thirds were unaware that every time the driver applies the brakes, the battery gets charged.
The above are a few findings of the survey conducted and we can see that people have to be taught about the benefits of EVs if a country needs mass adoption.
Now let us look into another important factor aiding EV adoption.
#8 Partnerships with Industry
This one is closely related to the ‘Procurement by Government’ point we discussed earlier. Collaborating with domestic and international automakers and technology companies to promote EV development can accelerate progress. Public-private partnerships can provide funding and expertise to support the industry.
In many countries service providers in delivery, last mile operations and mobility sectors are partnering with EV companies to make their services more ‘Green’ while achieving their corporate policies on carbon footprint and gaining a positive vibe among the masses.
Public perception plays a significant role in adopting any new technology. Partnering with the industry by any public or private entities will improve the general perception about EVs, and their environmental impact, and cost savings can encourage adoption.
Now let us look at another factor for faster EV adoption.
#9 Workforce Development
To win the EV race it is more important to become a provider than the end user. If a country wants to win the race it should be a major player in the global EV supply chain network.
Developing a skilled workforce for the EV industry is a practical and straightforward approach a country can take to establish themselves in the EV map especially if the country doesn’t have the luxury of mineral deposit for the batteries or motors for the EVs.
Training programs and educational initiatives in areas like battery manufacturing, electric vehicle maintenance, and software development are important. Countries like Canada have invested in programs to train workers for EV manufacturing and maintenance, helping to create a skilled workforce for the growing industry.
But what’s the point of using EVs if we power them with electricity obtained by burning fossil fuels? Let us address that issue.
#10 Integration with Renewable Energy
The fastest-growing energy source in 2019 was solar energy, which was then followed by wind and hydropower. These clean, renewable energy sources have no pollutants and provide a clean power supply for our electric cars. Encouraging the integration of EVs with renewable energy sources can reduce the environmental impact of transportation and make it more sustainable.
Let us look at why EVs and Renewable Energies are a match made in heaven.
- With prices lowering significantly over the past ten years, renewable energy is becoming more and more accessible to the masses.
- Renewable energy sources are very sustainable.
- Remote places can use solar and wind energy, making it possible to distribute energy effectively.
- All types of vehicles, including trains, buses, and EVs may be propelled by renewable energy sources.
- A new market for renewable energy is created by EVs, creating more investment and innovation in the field.
- For electric vehicles, renewable energy offers a reliable supply of electricity, assisting in overcoming any possible power-generating issues.
Together, EVs and renewable energy provide a more sustainable ecosystem that lowers transportation’s carbon footprint and enhances air quality. The adoption of more electric vehicles will increase the need for renewable energy, accelerating the shift to a more environmentally friendly future.
We know that the EV industry is a global network right? More on that.
#11 Global Cooperation
Another key factor which will aid a country in winning the EV race is its ability to collaborate globally. As we have discussed in our earlier, the EV landscape is a global one.
Thus, Collaborating with other countries, especially in the development of global standards and agreements on EV technologies, can be beneficial for economies of scale and technology sharing. The United Nations’ World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations works to establish global standards for EVs, facilitating international trade and innovation.
Also making the regulation and taxation for importing EVs and EV components flexible and easygoing will contribute to developing an EV culture in the country.
#12 Market Access and Imports
Promoting domestic EV manufacturers in the global market can boost the country’s economy and help create a thriving EV industry.
China is doing well in this regard as Chinese automakers NIO and BYD have expanded their EV sales beyond China into international markets like Europe, increasing their global presence.
But if you see, American companies are struggling to catch up in the global EV market. Maybe it has something to do with their policies but I firmly believe that Americans have to learn to design cars for the world, not just for America. They did it wrong with gasoline cars as the American companies failed miserably in all other countries while Asian brands caught up everywhere.
I hope they won’t make the same mistake again in the EV Revolution.
Let’s conclude… shall we?
Winning the EV race is not a short-term effort. It requires a long-term commitment from governments, industry, and the public to transition to EVs and sustain the growth of the sector.
As a government, you can give incentives and perks for your people to promote EVs but the question is, how long can you do that? Any country in the world cannot give their citizens incentives to buy EVs forever as it will affect the annual budgets and will create other socioeconomic problems in the country.
This brings me back to my original Idea. If you want to win the EV race as a country then make sure to provide a nurturing and supportive ecosystem in the country for EVs. That is the more practical, economical thing you can do for EV adoption in the long run.
It’s important to note that the specific strategies and priorities will vary from country to country based on their unique circumstances and resources. One might need to shuffle, mix up or even remove some of the factors we discussed. The key is to identify and work on the most feasible things for your country.
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- [READ]: PART 1 – As An EV Maker, What Does It Take to Win the EV Race?
- [READ]: Read Other Blog Series from GetElectricVehicle.Com