The Electric Vehicle Industry: The Year In Review – 2019: A Brief Recap!

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The EV News Coverage In 2019 Reached A New High As The Profile And Narrative Of The Global and UK Electric Car Sector Continued Its Unstoppable Trajectory To New Levels 

If there is one moment I remember the most in 2019, it is the moment that the e-zoomed website development team called in early April 2019.  The call lasted ten seconds, but its implications will last many years for me.  “Should we go live” asked the developer with his now familiar charming northern Italian accent.  I simply beamed and said “yes, well done. Grazie mille!”

e-zoomed website

e-zoomed was born, so to speak and since that day the journey can only be described in one word ‘electrified’.  We could not have commenced at a better time, the EV sector in 2019 came to life with a force not seen in the previous years.  Global automotive manufactures hurried to get press releases issued announcing their commitment to zero-emission driving.  Competitors jostled like 100 metres athletes to get to the start line, in the hope, an early start would cement their win in the fast evolving EV sector.  

Incumbent players like Tesla Inc., executed with the enthusiasm of ‘competitive paranoia’ fiercely protecting their dominance in the global EV market.  The success of the all-electric Tesla model 3, did as much for the broader EV market, as it did for Elon Musk, validating the sectors ability to deliver larger volumes at more affordable prices.  

Established automotive companies like the Ford Motor Company manifested its realisation, that the only way to protect its legacy is to embrace the future.  The company did this flawlessly with the launch of the all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV.  Premium automotive companies also raced into the sector.  Porsche launched its first battery-electric vehicle (BEV) the Taycan with a top speed of sub 3 seconds. 

New entrants did not feel shy to make an entry and challenge the status quo.  The all-electric Unity One Car, designed in Sweden and engineered in Great Britain, has the potential of a paradigm shift in urban mobility on a global scale. 

The sector also has its share of causalities in 2019, with the highest profile being James Dyson.  The Dyson electric car project was terminated towards the end of the year, but we at e-zoomed applaud James Dyson and his team for their vision and contribution to the EV sector.  We hope one day the project will be resurrected.     

James Dyson
James Dyson (credit: Dyson)

The excitement was not restricted to board rooms, industry participants and early EV adopters.  The most striking aspect of 2019 was the migration of the discussion from the above stakeholders to a broader audience.  Everyday households debated zero-emission driving with the same enthusiasm as Jamie Oliver’s cooking recipes. Family outings over a meal invariably included a thrilling and animated discussion on electric driving.    

The continuous flow of unveilings and launches of new electric cars continued to fuel the enthusiasm and imagination of the entire market.  2020 is now set for unbridled excitement, as EVs like the Volkswagen ID.3, Honda-e, the all-electric Aston Martin Rapide E, Mini Electric, MG ZS SUV and many more become frequent sightings on our roads. 

As we close 2019, the data from SMMT cemented the rise of BEVs in the UK. In November alone pure electric cars had increased by a whopping 228.8% compared to November 2018.  For the year to date (end November 2019) battery-electric vehicles sales increased by 135.6%, while unsurprisingly, the sales of diesel vehicles continue to plummet (down 22%).  Sales of petrol cars remained near flat at a 2.2% increase.  The EV industry continues to gain from the orphaning of diesel transportation as consumers shun polluting vehicles. Furthermore the banning of diesel vehicles in city centres commenced in 2019, with Bristol becoming the first. Expect many more cities to follow Bristol in 2020.

smmt new car registrations
SMMT New Car Registrations (SMMT)

In our view the sales for BEVs would have been even more spectacular, if indeed OEMs had delivered larger volumes in 2019.  We will certainly see the ‘latent demand’ of 2019 translate to new registrations in 2020 and beyond. Auto manufacturers who have so far been cautious with volume allocation have now gained a clearer sense of the potential appetite for electric vehicles and no doubt are increasing production figures as we close the year!

Range anxiety as a theme become less dominant as battery range and performance in new EV models increased and electric vehicle charging infrastructure expanded. In August 2019, the UK witnessed  key milestone in relation to EV charging infrastructure: EV charging stations surpassed traditional fuel station.  An incredible achievement for an industry as young as modern electric vehicles.  As we close the year, according to ZAP-MAP, there are 29,391 connectors; 16,869 devices at 10,524 locations.  In regards to battery performance and range, affordable EV models like the Hyundai Kona Electric (230 miles) and Tesla Model 3 (250 miles) continue to redefine the EV landscape, in that, affordable EVs are now capable of WLTP ranges closer to 250 miles on a single charge.

tesla electric cybertruck
Tesla All-Electric Cybertruck (credit: Tesla)

The year ended with quite the same excitement as the beginning with the launch of the latest Tesla EV. Elon Musk continued to dominate the EV headlines with an unprecedented level of global coverage for his audacious all-electric Cybertruck. For better or worse, the ‘stunt’ at the unveiling of the all-electric truck further propelled the Tesla name across geographies, introducing EV as a concept to many new consumers.  

greta thunberg
Greta Thunberg (credit: TIME)

2019 was also a year dominated by climate change and air pollution.  Themes core to the DNA of e-zoomed.  The emergence of Greta Thunberg in 2019 was beautifully capped by the recognition as the Time Person of the Year 2019.  We at e-zoomed applaud Greta for her brave fight in raising more awareness of the most critical issue of our time. Interestingly, Greta and Great have the same letters!  The emergency of air pollution also came closer to home with new studies and research pointing to dangerous level of air pollution across a number of cities in the UK.  Our world of zero-emission electric driving became more relevant to families across the country, as they opt for lower emission driving as the only way forward.  

Jump Electric Bike Sharing Scheme
JUMP: e-Bike Sharing

Other types of electric vehicles also gained prominence to include e-bikes, e-scooters and most importantly electric vans and electric taxis, also very critical for the long term development and success of zero-emission road transportation.

2020 is going to be a year filled with more excitement than even 2019.  In fact, we predict that every year for the foreseeable future we will witness significant increases in excitement, adoption and maturity of the EV market in the UK and abroad.  

We are also grateful to continue to witness the excellent contribution and prominence of women in the automotive and broader sustainability sectors in 2019. We hope to see much more on this theme in 2020 and beyond. On a personal note I have gained much inspiration from many of these women and hope to have an opportunity to engage with them and their organisations in due course. e-zoomed commenced working with Good Energy in 2019, a company headed by Juliet Davenport, a leading voice in the green energy sector.

As for e-zoomed, we have, despite our infancy, achieved much in 2019.  We have built significant relationships across the EV ecosystem and are fast gaining a profile and prominence in the EV sector and beyond.  We executed 2019 in true reflection of our strap-line ‘live life electrified’. The e-zoomed Electric Living Blog has also gained prominence and fast developing a distinct voice in the EV sector.   

We are looking forward to taking significantly more leadership in the EV market in 2020 in the UK and international markets.  We remain most grateful to all e-zoomed customers, the EV community, partners, e-zoomed EV Industry Panel and industry participants that have supported and encouraged us so ferociously.

We are confident that e-zoomed has commenced on the right track to achieve its long-term ambition – to become the most loved brand in zero-emission transportation.

Roberto canu and ashvin suri e-zoomed
Roberto Canu And Ashvin Suri (e-zoomed)

I would also like to thank all the individuals and teams that have worked tirelessly to build e-zoomed in 2019!  Last but not the least, my deepest appreciation to Roberto Canu, the CTO for e-zoomed and also the Director for e-zoomed Italy.  

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you all.  We look forward to another exciting year of success for all in the EV industry and e-zoomed!  God bless!

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Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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