Electric Vehicle Industry in Infancy- But Growing Up Fast


For the fifth year in a row, Ernst and Young hosted a global series of cleantech ignition sessions consisting of executive roundtables that convene key stakeholders to discuss important cleantech issues

This year’s sessions focused on electric vehicles (EVs) because the transformational change under way in this industry cuts across many sectors and has profound implications for:

  • automakerstesla
  • utility companies
  • battery developers
  • smart grid operators
  • renewable energy suppliers

The sessions, taking place in Munich, Shanghai and Silicon Valley were jointly hosted by Ernst & Young’s Global Cleantech, Automotive and Power & Utilities Centers. Each meeting brought together the full range of stakeholders, including innovators, corporations, investors, government, utilities and NGOs.

So is  the electric vehicle industry ready to move forward with its promises?Seems so.

After several decades of stops and starts, the global EV industry is poised to fulfill its promise:

  • battery makers have made major strides
  • cleantech innovation is being supported by big stimulus money
  • car makers are shifting gears to EVs
  • governments have begun to set needed EV standards
  • the industry is finally in take-off mode

Major milestones just since June 2010 include:nissan leaf

  • The introduction of the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf EVs
  • GE’s launch of an EV charging-station business
  • Tesla Motors’ initial public offering and US$50 million in strategic investments by Toyota
  • European auto manufacturers’ agreement on standard plug and socket specifications for overnight or slow EV charging, allowing drivers to use the same charging cables in different cities, regions and countries throughout Europe 
  • China’s completion of construction of its largest EV charging station in Shandong province, 1 of 75 slated to be completed by State Grid Corporation of China

New electric vehicles to enter the market

Ernst and Young's conclusion is that this pace will continue: at least 18 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are slated to arrive between 2010 and 2013 from both incumbent automakers, such as Ford, Fiat, Mitsubishi and Renault, and new entrants including Tesla Motors, Coda Automotive and BYD.

Many challenges remain: opinion varies widely as to the technology and business model path to adoption, and EV stakeholder interests are often misaligned.

byd “As far as we’ve come, many are still not on the same page,” one participant said. “We need to focus on execution and moving forward together.”

For a smooth ride over the inevitable bumps, dialogue, coordination, creativity and partnerships between government and industry will be critical.

To make sense of this rapidly evolving landscape, session participants shared their insights about business models that work and ongoing issues that companies, utilities, governments and EV charging aggregators face as the industry ramps up from pilots to commercial-scale production.

For other great stories on all aspects of climate change and cleantech, check out Celsias:

The Greatest Threat to Our Planet is That Someone Else will Save it 

Rooftop Solar -As Green As it Gets

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  • Posted on July 21, 2011. Listed in:

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