Industry experts divided over outlook of EV adoption

The United States had 89,042 new EV registrations in January 2024.

31 Mar 2024 08:03pm
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Photo by AFP
Photo for illustration purpose only. - Photo by AFP

NEW YORK - US industry watchers have expressed divided views on the prospects of electric vehicle (EV) adoption in the coming years amid the slowdown of EV sales growth and policy uncertainties, reported Xinhua.

"I see a much slower adoption of EV and I think it's great that we're looking at plug-ins and alternatives. I see what it looks to me like a hockey stick curve. I think it's gonna be a lot more gradual," said Mike Stanton, president and CEO of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).

The share of EVs in new car sales in the United States may stand at 15 per cent or 20 per cent by 2029, according to Stanton, who joined other industry insiders in a panel discussion at the New York International Auto Show 2024 recently.

The United States recorded 1.19 million EV sales in 2023 and the share of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) inched up to 7.6 per cent in the year, according to a report by Kelley Blue Book under Cox Automotive.

"I think we're gonna definitely be into the 30 per cent range by 2029," said Elizabeth Krear, vice president of EV practice with J.D. Power.

Krear noted that 29 per cent of new vehicle shoppers are very likely to consider EVs.

However, Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, said EVs only account for about 9 per cent of actual vehicle registrations though around 29 per cent of vehicle shoppers are willing to buy EVs.

Issues in the EV industry have resulted in a decline in EV shoppers' interests for five consecutive months, according to Krear.

The automakers are ready and the infrastructure needs to be there though it's improving, Krear told Xinhua on the sidelines of the panel discussion.

The affordability of EVs has improved significantly in the past year, but EVs are still expensive in the mass market segments, said Krear.

The share of BEVs and plug-in hybrid EVs in new car sales would be probably in the range of 40 per cent by 2029, said John Bozzella, president and CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation.

Bozzella pinned his hopes on multiple technology pathways and a combination of technology and industrial investment facts would change the "divisive" political debate around EVs.

More incentives, more charging facilities, and lower prices will be the key to consumer adoption of EVs, said Stanton, who sees issues in all of the fields.

The new administration in the United States following the general election later this year could phase out subsidies to EVs and cheaper EV models are not in the market yet, said Stanton.

The United States had 89,042 new EV registrations in January 2024, up 15 per cent year on year, much less than around 50 per cent of average year-on-year growth in 2022 and 2023, according to S&P Global Mobility.

The EV industry is going through a slowdown of growth and the industry is adjusting to consumer demand, which calls for cheaper cars, according to Anthony Sassine, senior investment strategist with asset management firm KraneShares.

Amid industry and autoworker backlash and slowdown in EV sales expansion, the United States recently dialed back its ambitions in EV push with the issuance of final tailpipe rules for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles for model years 2027 through 2032 and beyond.

Compared with the proposed rules, the final version gives automakers a softer on-ramp to cut vehicle pollution and allow plug-in hybrid EVs to play a bigger role.

"Moderating the pace of EV adoption in 2027, 2028, 2029 and 2030 was the right call because it prioritises more reasonable electrification targets in the next few (very critical) years of the EV transition," said Bozzella. - BERNAMA-XINHUA

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