Slowly but surely, the global vehicle market is turning toward electric vehicles (EVs). In terms of total market share, EVs jumped from 5% of all new car sales in 2020 to 14% in 2022, according to the latest Global EV Outlook from the International Energy Agency (IEA). This is expected to jump to 18%—nearly one in five—by the end of 2023.
One thing is clear: Over the next few decades, electric cars are on course to possibly displace gas-powered vehicles. What once seemed like a futuristic vision is quickly becoming reality, and it can’t come soon enough for a rapidly changing climate.
8 electric vehicle trends in 2023 and beyond
What does this mean in the near term? As we look at the rest of 2023 and into the next few years, EV evolution promises to unfold faster than ever before. Here are eight electric vehicle trends to watch in the months and years ahead.
1. China, Europe and the US will continue driving sales
Overall, the EIA forecasts that EVs will make up 35% of all global new vehicle sales by 2030, and the big three markets of China, the U.S., and Europe will continue to account for the majority of this transformation.
China represents, far and away, the leading EV market. The country accounted for roughly 60% of all EV sales in 2022. It has already surpassed its 2025 target for new energy vehicle sales, and it aims to achieve a 40% sales share for EVs by 2023. China has largely achieved this through over a decade of robust policy support—both nationally and on a provincial level—for early adopters.
In Europe, EV sales growth slowed down slightly in 2022, but the market still stands firmly in second place for global EV market share. That’s thanks largely to aggressive vehicle emissions policies that will continue to tighten in the coming years. Electric cars made up 21% of new vehicle sales last year, and this accounted for 25% of EV sales across the globe.
The U.S. is still catching up to China and Europe, but EV sales have grown rapidly as of late. In 2022, sales of all U.S. EVs jumped by 55%, with battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales surging by 70%. Overall, the U.S. market was responsible for 10% of global EV sales, driven largely by an expanding, less expensive lineup of available electric cars and tax policies offsetting the costs of purchasing EVs and charging equipment.
These three markets are critical to the electrification movement, but they’re not the only ones driving change. EV sales more than tripled in India, Indonesia and Thailand in 2022, driven largely by domestic and international manufacturers investing in new production and growth in those regions. Markets like these will prove essential as the world pushes toward an electrification tipping point.
2. More models (and automakers) will hit the market
Over the last few years, automakers have gotten the message that electric cars represent the future of the industry. According to the IEA, there were more than 500 models available in 2022, more than twice the number available in 2019.
Although there are still far more gas-powered models available, this EV growth stands in sharp contrast to the slow decline in new gas vehicles. After peaking at around 1,500 models around 2015, gas-powered car models dropped to 1,300 in 2022. This may remain stable, while IEA projections suggest that EV models may at least double over the next few years.
This shift is gaining momentum due to established vehicle makers and many new players bringing innovative new models to market. EV startups abound in 2023, and they’re expected to continue shaping the market going forward.
3. Prices will continue to drop
As EV technology improves and volume increases, prices continue to drop for both BEVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). BEVs are dropping faster, however, with the average price declining from $71,000 in 2016 to $69,000 in 2023 and continuing toward $68,000 in 2028.
Tesla led the way with price drops in 2022, with the price tag for the Model Y dropping below the average cost of all new cars and trucks in the U.S. Several other automakers announced plans for simpler, cheaper EV models in 2023, and this promises to drive costs down further.
For many would-be EV owners, these changes are long overdue. In the meantime, however, U.S. policies currently support EV sales with a generous tax credit of up to $7,500 for a new electric car or up to $4,000 for a used EV. Policies like this promise to continue bolstering EV sales growth as some consumers wait for prices to drop.
4. Batteries will improve sharply
Range anxiety—the worry that you won’t have enough charge to get to your destination—continues to prevent many drivers from making the switch to electric cars. However, automakers and battery manufacturers are working furiously to take this concern off the table.
According to the IEA, venture capital investments in EV and battery technology increased by 30% in 2022, and much of this targeted new battery technology and alternatives to lithium-ion materials. A few top-end EV models have already broken the 400-mile mark for battery range, and many can be charged at impressive speeds. This technology will trickle down to more accessible EVs in the years ahead.
5. Charging will get easier and faster
Battery improvements aren’t the only electric vehicle trend addressing range anxiety. Easier, more readily available charging is another key target for policymakers, battery manufacturers, and charging networks.
Companies like Enel X Way are investing heavily in improving charging technology and will offer a variety of products to suit different customer needs. DC fast chargers like the JuicePump 175 kW DC fast charger (DCFC), for example, can take an EV from empty to 80% full in under 20 minutes. That level of charging speed makes long-range drives much more doable.
It’s not just about better chargers—drivers also need more of them. In the U.S., policies such as the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program reflect federal and state commitments to expanding the nation’s charging infrastructure, particularly into rural communities and other underserved areas. The program especially emphasizes the need for Level 3 DCFC at 50-mile intervals along the most frequently traveled 75,000 miles of highway routes across the country. The federal government has provided each state with funds to add chargers along these strategic routes.
Individual taxpayers and companies can also access tax credits for purchasing and installing EV charging equipment, making it much easier to charge at home or at work and alleviating any concerns about running out of juice.
6. Chargers will become more standardized
In November 2022, Tesla relinguished control of their charging connector the North American Charging Standard and added it to the list of open standards in the EV industry. By eliminating the need for different EV charging plugs, the NACS connector is a step forward in charging accessibiliy.
General Motors, Ford, Fisker, Rivian, Polestar, Volvo, Nissan and Mercedes-Benz have all announced their intention to switch their EVs to the NACS plug as late as 2025. Earlier this year, Enel X Way announced that it will support NACS EV charging connectors across its product line of JuiceBoxes and DC fast chargers. These upgrades will offer a unified charging experience for all EV drivers and increase EV adoption and compatibility.
7. Commercial EV adoption will accelerate
Commercial vehicles have lagged behind their consumer counterparts in electrification, but there are signs that governments and manufacturers are making this a higher priority. The IEA reports that light-duty commercial EV sales jumped by 90% globally in 2022. Electric buses, along with medium- and heavy-duty trucks, still represent less than 5% of sales in their respective classes, but their share is much larger in markets with a strong commitment to electrifying public transport and reducing emissions.
Overall, 27 different governments have pledged to reach 100% zero emissions for public buses and trucks by 2040. The U.S. and European Union have also proposed tighter standards for trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles. With more pressure to electrify vehicles for the public sector and commercial fleets, we’ll see a much higher volume of large EVs hitting the market in the next few decades.
8. Solar energy and EV technology will strengthen the grid
Solar energy and electric vehicle charging technology represent more than just an energy-saving solution for consumers. Deployed together, the two can become a powerful solution for decentralizing and strengthening electrical grids.
Just as EV production and adoption have grown rapidly with robust policy support over the past decade, so has the solar energy market. These two energy-saving technologies have taken on an almost symbiotic relationship, with solar chargers made for EVs and smart charging technology that allows vehicles to charge at peak sun times when solar energy is readily available.
Additionally, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology allows EVs to send excess energy back to the grid, expanding and decentralizing the electrical infrastructure. Coupled with solar, this makes an EV its own kind of solar battery to store extra solar energy that can be used when needed.
Utility companies recognize how this technology can reduce costs and decrease strain on the electrical grid, and they’re rightfully offering a variety of incentive programs to make solar panels and EV charging—and the combination of the two—more attractive and affordable. Together, these two technologies can dramatically reduce dependence on fossil fuels while easing the pressure on increasingly strained municipal electrical grids.
Charge ahead with Enel X Way
These electric vehicle trends only scratch the surface of the exciting EV developments taking place right now. With policy support, manufacturer commitment and investor backing, the industry is poised for massive growth in the next few decades. Globally, there’s still a long way to go to meet important electrification targets, but these trends represent some of our best chances of getting there.
Enel X Way is committed to making electric vehicles a reality for more consumers and businesses. Our Enel X Way App and our lineup of home and commercial EV chargers offers fast, efficient charging for all. We work with EV drivers, utilities, charger resellers and companies of all kinds to deploy EV charging solutions across North America. Contact us today to learn more about our solutions and services.