There are moments that change everything, that divide time. They mark the end of an era and the start of something new.
For the auto industry, COVID-19 is one of those moments. The pandemic shook the industry to its core, forcing changes to businesses, supply chains and technologies that will help to define the industry for the decades ahead.
While some of the changes already were on the horizon, the global pandemic either spurred them on or likely will serve as the point at which the transitions truly began.
Here are 5 ways the automotive industry is changing post-pandemic.
1. It's electric
For years, electric vehicles were niche. They were perceived as small, impractical cars driven by celebrities and environmentalists. Sure, EV sales would rise when oil prices soared and took gas prices with them. But something happened during the pandemic that proved EVs were a force to reckon with.
EVs broke their ties with gas prices.
In 2020, a tumultuous sales year overall, growth of electrified models outpaced those in every other vehicle segment. That happened even as gas prices plummeted.
There are a number of factors for this, such as Tesla's success in changing the perception of EVs, the electrification of models with broad consumer appeal and the increased range of batteries.
Regardless of reasoning, the industry is transitioning quickly. More than 200 electric models are set to be introduced in the coming years, and auto makers are pledging to electrify their entire lineups soon.
When the industry looks back years from now, 2020—the pandemic year—likely will be seen as a turning point for propulsion.