Electrical autos had fairly the yr. Tesla stock soared. Guarantees of latest electrical fashions got here from a protracted record of legacy carmakers like GM, Toyota, BMW, Nissan, and even luxurious model Bentley. Plucky startups unveiled their first long-range merchandise.
There have been additionally some laborious flops. The pandemic exacerbated some firms’ weak factors with manufacturing facility shutdowns and layoffs. Many EVs that had been alleged to arrive or make their debut had been delayed. Different firms had been uncovered for overpromising and underdelivering. (Or was that tricking investors?)
As Lea Malloy, head of analysis and improvement at auto trade group Cox Automotive Mobility, mentioned in a latest name, “2020 was alleged to be the yr” for EVs. Whereas the pandemic took lots away, it was a yr to indicate “that the EVs have arrived.” And arrive they did. However not with out some main stumbles.
A Consumer Reports survey launched Thursday discovered that greater than 70 p.c of three,392 U.S. drivers surveyed in July and August had been at the least typically fascinated with a plug-in EV as their subsequent automotive buy or lease. It was even increased, at 78 p.c, for millennial-aged drivers. The highest points stopping an EV buy had been: “not sufficient public charging stations” and “buy value.” (The most affordable zero-emission, plug-in possibility out there within the U.S. is the Nissan Leaf for $31,600.)
However the barrier to going electrical is beginning to erode: All through 2020, there have been many bulletins and plans about more charging stations and the following era of EVs.
Now it is extra about which is the very best EV and Tesla is not the one possibility. Malloy identified that 11 conventional automotive firms have EVs popping out within the subsequent few years. The Wall Street Journal not too long ago listed one other 11 EV-only startups chasing Tesla’s success.
Then there’s the political panorama. A Joe Biden presidential win was an EV win. The subsequent few years are anticipated to be even higher for EV adoption with extra purchaser incentives and higher charging and vitality infrastructure to help widespread electrification. Extra states will observe California’s new electric vehicle sales goals, as New Jersey already has. Nick Nigro, founder at knowledge evaluation agency Atlas Public Coverage, sees EV-friendly coverage beginning to permeate all through the U.S. “That momentum is obvious,” he mentioned in a name.
With all this in thoughts we glance again at 2020 and which firms and automobiles pushed electrical forward. We additionally see the place the pandemic and different elements hit the brakes.
Tesla turned the most valuable auto company this yr, regardless of manufacturing facility shutdowns in China and California (which CEO Elon Musk bullied into opening regardless of the pandemic) and Musk contracting COVID-19. Nonetheless, it produced the most vehicles it ever has and was profitable. Pleasure for EVs crescendoed with Tesla’s Battery Day, when it introduced a less expensive, Tesla-made battery that Musk promised meant sufficient financial savings to quickly provide a $25,000 Tesla. The EV chief capped the robust yr by becoming a member of the S&P 500.
It is again. GMC determined to take the monstrosity of its discontinued Hummer and revive it as an all-electric supertruck. Whereas the primary mannequin will not be right here till subsequent yr, the brand new Hummer reveals that GM and the trade is critical about changing to electrical — and shortly. If a large Hummer can get 350 miles on a single battery cost, so can others.
The demand for compact SUVs is powerful within the U.S. and VW is electrifying that pleasure with the ID.4. Announced in September and anticipated to reach at first of 2021, the modest, 250-mile vary automobile has the spaciousness of an SUV and an inexpensive price ticket. Finally, a base mannequin will begin at $35,000. In Europe, the brand new ID.3 hatchback launched in Germany in September was hailed as an inexpensive “greater” EV paving the way in which for the ID.4 and extra electric VWs within the states.
Volvo quietly moved forward with its pioneering electrification plans. Its first all electrical SUV, the XC40 Recharge, continued on schedule and is beginning deliveries in January of 2021. The corporate will proceed so as to add an electrical automobile to its lineup every year till 2025.
Regardless of a New York Auto Present premiere thwarted by the pandemic, the Bay Space-based EV newcomer Lucid moved forward with manufacturing on its first automotive, the Air. A new factory in Arizona was constructed prior to now yr and manufacturing on the primary $169,000 Dream version of the luxurious, high-range sedan is underway. The bottom model, known as the Air Pure for $77,400, is on monitor to reach in 2022.
Whereas some GM-owned electrical automobiles had pandemic-related setbacks just like the Cadillac Lyriq SUV and Chevy Bolt refresh, general, GM pushed by way of with large plans for electrical. The corporate introduced a Chevy electric pickup truck and 20 different electric (and hydrogen gas cell) fashions slated for 2023. It additionally avoided a deal with Arizona-based electrical truck startup Nikola, which was a detailed name after it turned out the EV firm did not have as a lot electrical expertise because it claimed.
Though Nikola’s pickup truck plans had been scrapped after it was uncovered as potential fraud, the corporate continues to be someway staying afloat with its different enterprise concepts for a hydrogen-electric semi truck. However the demise of its Badger hydro-electric pickup truck was an enormous blow. The CEO resigned, GM pulled out of a serious deal, and the inventory hit all-time low.
The China-based EV firm recognized for its massive dashboard screen took the toughest hit through the pandemic. On the finish of June, it introduced a six-month production suspension for its M-Byte electric SUV. Its monetary troubles began when COVID-19 first hit China and adversely affected its workforce. The SUV was supposed to come back out in China by the tip of this yr and arrive within the U.S. in 2021. Now it seems to be prefer it’ll be an indefinite delay.
COVID-19 meant delays for the Amazon-backed Rivian pickup truck. It is now anticipated to reach later in 2021 as an alternative of by the tip of this yr. However it wasn’t all unhealthy information in 2020. Earlier than the pandemic, the Michigan-based startup added 1,000 EV factory jobs. A prototype model of the Rivian R1T pickup was featured all through Ewan McGregor’s Apple TV+ docu-series Long Way Up.
Anybody anticipating Chevy Bolt enhancements for its first EV mannequin has to attend it out. The most recent model of the sedan EV was alleged to arrive in time for 2021, but it surely’s been pushed again a yr due to COVID-related delays. The SUV-sized model of the compact Bolt EV is supposedly nonetheless on schedule for 2022.