Electric car fever taking hold across the Americas
Washington, Feb 13 (EFE).- The electric car fever that began just over a decade ago with US automaker Tesla is starting to take firm hold across the Americas.
And with tens of billions of more dollars to be invested in that sector in the coming years, rapid expansion is expected to continue in the region.
A report released early this month by French market research firm ReportLinker estimates that the global passenger electric vehicle market climbed to $102.17 billion in 2022 and will grow to $213.87 billion by 2026.
Worldwide, the adoption of EVs is accelerating, with China and Europe leading the way for now and the United States starting to narrow the gap.
The rest of the Americas, however, is still lagging far behind other regions both in terms of production and the adoption of this new technology.
UNITED STATES MAKING A BIG PUSH
Last year was the best ever for EVs in the US, with the roughly 750,000 vehicles sold representing a 65 percent increase over 2021. All told, 5.8 percent of new vehicles sold last year nationwide were electric.
Counting hybrid vehicles, the number of electrified cars purchased last year in the US amounted to 918,000 units.
But the increase in demand and sales is not by chance. President Joe Biden’s administration is making that sector a priority and wants half of all vehicles sold nationwide to be electric by 2030.
The government is making $83 billion in loans, subsidies and tax credits available to boost the manufacturing of EVs and batteries and the installation of charging stations.
The goal of these policies is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But Biden also wants the US automotive sector to stop depending on China for EV batteries.
And the private sector has responded, with companies thus far having announced plans to invest $210 billion through 2030, according to a report released in January by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Washington DC-based environmental advocacy group.
Ford is leading that effort with $50 billion in planned investment in EV technologies through 2026, followed by General Motors, which is to invest $35 billion through 2025. GM also plans to invest $650 million in a lithium company to secure access to that ultra-light metal, a critical component of EV batteries.
And Tesla, the company that thus far has led the EV revolution worldwide, plans to invest between $6 billion and $8 billion annually through 2024 in Germany and the US.
BRAZIL: LEADING THE WAY IN LATIN AMERICA
Brazil is the EV leader in Latin America with production now under way, a growing local market and a fleet of 126,504 electric and hybrid vehicles registered through 2022.
Two EV assembly plants – one owned by Toyota and another by China’s Chery – now are in operation in Brazil.
Chinese automaker BYD Auto also has an electric bus plant that it plans to use to manufacture automobiles starting in 2025.
“Brazil’s (manufacturing) potential is enormous due to its mineral and energy capacity,” Adalberto Maluf, president of Brazilian electric vehicle association ABVE and BYD’s sustainability director, told Efe.
Lithium-ion batteries also are being manufactured in Brazil at two different plants: one owned by Brazil’s Baterias Moura in a joint venture with Chinese suppliers and another owned by BYD.