EV Manufacturers Faced With Important Strategy Decisions

In order to get more electric vehicles on our streets will we need a greater number of micro EVs?

The new IDTechEx report, “Hybrid and Pure Electric Cars 2014-2024: Technologies, Markets, Forecasts” points out that it is essential for all involved to look at the big picture. IDTechEx puts forward the example of car-like, on-road micro EVs – quadricycles in Europe. Will they increase your mainstream e-car sales or decrease them? Are they a useful extra line of business or a threat?

According to IDTechEx , those making or intending to make electric cars or their components have big strategy decisions ahead. These decisions must be made in the context of all car-like vehicles, whether homologated as cars or as something else.

Renault has the Twizy, Toyota has the pure electric iRoad three-wheeled motorcycle; two examples of micro-EVs and of manufacturers committed to them. Others are not so sure but IDTechEx believes they must take a position. Automotive manufacturers can argue that micro EVs are dangerous, needing legal restrictions of driver and vehicle, thus protecting conventional e-car sales. Alternatively, IDTechEx suggests they can welcome micro EVs as a useful transition vehicle between e-bikes and cars and even sell some.

IDTechEx statistics show the overall micro EV business will be large, partly because it encompasses e-rickshaws in India and e-tuk tuks in the Philippines, which has over three million tuk tuk taxis to replace in the face of severe local pollution.

Even Europe, said IDTechEx, has plenty of poor countries where purchase of an homologated e-car can only be a distant dream. Sell them something like a micro EV in the meantime?

The $188 billion global market in homologated hybrid and pure electric cars in 2025 is boosted by pure electric mainstream e-cars reaching a tipping point but it is not the whole story – micro EVs will be at least an additional $10 billion dollars in sales, stated IDTechEx.

IDTechEx explained it recommends a lightness of touch and speed of response because all mechanical, electrical and electronic components are changing their nature and merging into integrated structures, even smart bodywork and smart skin. The key enabling technologies of e-cars have been batteries, electrics/electronics and electric motors. Now we must add three generations of range extenders arriving including fuel cells. Then there are multiple energy harvesting and supercapacitors as new key enabling technologies.