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The automotive industry is transforming at a rapid pace as car manufacturers around the world are developing their strategies to include electric models.  In Europe, Volvo has announced that by 2019, all of its cars will have electric engines whilst Jaguar Land Rover has gone on record to say it will only make electric or hybrid cars from 2020. Shifts in consumer perceptions resulted in falling diesel car sales last year and this market-shift will only further accelerate change.

Pushing lower emissions

Major cities and their governments are introducing legislation changes to combat air pollution. London, Paris, Beijing and Oslo are leading the way in attempts to reduce greenhouse gases on the roads and make our urban areas safer places to live and work.

With the global electric vehicle market estimated to grow from $75.7 billion in 2017 to around $127.7 billion by 2022, the industry is seeing a remarkable surge in demand for zero emission transport. Data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) confirm that 167,911 new electric vehicles were registered in April alone, an annual increase of 10.4% with further growth on the horizon.

New entrants into the automotive industry would have been laughed at just a few years ago but not now. Last year, British appliance manufacturer Dyson confirmed that it is investing £2 billion to bring an electric vehicle with a solid state battery to market in 2020. Global technology firm Google have also announced its partnership with Waymo to develop a fully autonomous car, while Jaguar Land Rover have since come on board with them to develop the world’s first premium self-driving electric vehicle.

Pushing boundaries

Porsche hit the headlines in April when it announced that it would be expanding its Mission E model range with the addition of the all-electric Mission E Tractor. Whilst later revealed to be an April Fools prank this ‘bold vision for 21st century agriculture’ does highlight the interest in this space and the PR potential for OEMs.

The focus is on Government, both national and local, to endorse the move to zero emissions and municipal vehicles, such as street sweepers and maintenance machines, are a good place to start. Tennant, manufacturer of industrial and commercial cleaning machines, has a vision to become a global leader in sustainable cleaning innovation that empowers their customers to create a cleaner, safer and healthier world. In 2017 they introduced a range of Green Machines powered by lithium-ion battery technology to quietly clean any time of day with no engine emissions.

Pushing Off-Road

Moving from road to off-road the benefits and opportunities for electrification are also being realised. Given an ever-increasing world population, infrastructure development and rapid urbanisation, then the construction, agricultural and mining industries are set for monumental expansion.

Electric versions of equipment such as diggers, excavators and dumpers are estimated to be a $80 billion market by 2027.  This coupled with changing government legislation to reduce diesel exhaust emissions from city centres has already seen international manufacturers such as JCB and Volvo Construction leading the way in electrification using battery energy storage.

The expansion doesn’t end with the construction industry. With a number of major international airports planning to grow and build new runways, combined with the Airport Council International’s aim to increase the number of carbon neutral airports from 20 to 50 by 2030, there is now a growing demand for clean energy. The ground service equipment market is projected to grow from $14.16 billion in 2017 to $24.69 billion by 2022. From fuel trucks and luggage carriers to push back tractors and ground power units, battery energy storage can be a viable solution. For example, Dutch airline KLM has recently announced the replacement of its Lower Deck Loader in a move to a fully electric fleet as part of its Green Strategy. Starting this year, the replacement program will incorporate battery energy storage that can carry out a full daily duty cycle with only one battery charge.

Pushing down pricing

Advancements in technology combined with large volume manufacturing opportunities has permitted the cost of lithium-ion, the main component used in batteries for energy storage, to rapidly decline, narrowing the price gap between EV and combustion engines. Such a growing battery manufacturing industry with significant economies of scale has enabled other companies across specialised markets to adopt electrified alternatives, diversify their product ranges and bring about this monumental step change.

The path to a cleaner future

Thanks to innovations in next generation technologies, clean energy alternatives are gaining traction outside of the automotive industry and pushing the boundaries of electrification in other sectors. With more opportunities than ever for businesses as well as consumers to increase the adoption of battery energy storage, the end of the combustion engine is fast approaching.