Get ready to see just what the electric vehicle segment can do.
Sales of EVs began to pick up in earnest last year, a significant fact considering the low gas and oil prices, which historically would curb sales of EVs.
But 2020—the year in which EV sales were up about 4.7 percent overall because of strong sales in the last two months of the year—may have been the beginning of something bigger for the segment. It could be on the cusp of really breaking out. Just look at the month of January.
According to the Center for Automotive Research, EV sales in January 2021 were 31 percent higher than sales of EVs in the same month last year.
"That really is outstanding growth for EVs," said Kristin Dziczek vice president of industry, labor and economics at the Center for Automotive Research. "It really is an incredible thing."
One main factor driving the EV boom is consumer demand.
Consumers are increasingly more focused on sustainability—and not just the sustainability of the product itself, be it a car or tire—but also from the raw materials procurement side.
Matthew Portu, president of Freudenberg NOK Sealing Technologies, believes the pandemic may have played a factor in encouraging consumers to think more critically about their mobility. He recalls reading about a young man in India who, for the first time in his life, could see the mountains from his hometown because the air pollution had dwindled when travel trailed off, a result of country-wide lockdowns.
"He can't be the only one who went through this 'oh my gosh' moment," Portu said. "I can't help but think it is going to increase the push globally to move in a direction where we (move away from) ICE vehicles toward electric."
Dziczek said a number of factors are pushing the auto industry and consumers toward the adoption of EVs, and the pandemic certainly had a role. But the surge of EVs on roadways will begin with the number of electrified models auto makers are preparing to introduce.
Last year, in North America, 67 EV models were available across all segments, including the most popular pickup, SUV and CUV segments. But by 2024, more than 200 electric vehicle models will be in showrooms across the continent, offering more choices for consumers, Dziczek said.