2017 was an interesting year for the electric vehicle industry with some major announcements and growing demand for alternatively fueled vehicles, which we hope will continue in the year ahead. As ever, here at Zero Carbon Futures, we’re looking forward to the year ahead and anticipating what 2018 may bring for us. Who will be the movers and shakers and the people to watch next year? These are our thoughts. Leave us your comments below and tell us what you would add.
The traditional fuel suppliers: We’ve got our eyes firmly on the likes of BP and other fuel companies in 2018. It will be interesting to see what their reaction will be to the moves by Shell to break into the alternative fuel market by buying an infrastructure company and an electric utility. How far will Shell go in 2018 and how will their competitors respond?
Power companies: Ecotricity are still in the lead when it comes to green power however 2017 saw some interesting new entrants into the market with the likes of Bulb causing a bit of a stir. It will be interesting to see who will come out top in 2018.
IONITY: The joint venture of BMW, Daimler, Ford, VW, Audi, and Porsche has the potential to change the face of high-power-charging. 2018 will definitely show us the extent of their ambition. And it will also be interesting to see if other manufacturers come on board to join the partnership. This is definitely one to watch in 2018.
Independents: With such heavy hitters entering the markets, it will also be interesting to see how the UK’s independent charge point services companies will compete or adapt to stay ahead. This year could bring some major changes in business models for them.
FORD: Talking of Ford, they have shown their intent to the EV market by joining IONITY – so we hope that they may reveal some serious plans for electric vehicles in 2018.
Nissan: Orders for the new Nissan LEAF hit 10,000 in the first two months of sales. This could mean a significant increase in production volumes over the year. It will be interesting to see what their reaction will be if they hit the Sunderland battery plant capacity.
BYD: The Chinese manufacturer is becoming a major player as an EV manufacturer and they have made a lot of inroads particularly in the bus market. Recent announcements in China suggest they have their eyes on the European market and I think we’ll be hearing from them a lot more in 2018.
The rest: Where will the major new model announcements come from next year? This should be the year that we see VW fight back after the diesel scandal but what can we expect from them? Will 2018 be the year of a PSA announcement? And what has Toyota got coming onto the market? All ones to watch.
The policy makers: On a national basis, I don’t expect that we’ll be seeing any significant policy changes from the UK Government this year following last year’s 2040 announcement. On a local level, it will be interesting to see how the local authorities will prioritise the pressure to deliver clean air against other pressing agendas such as housing and economic development especially when it comes to access to the grid. It will be good to see how individual cities approach this next year especially on the topic of continued growth of charging infrastructure.