Electromobility 2021: upswing and innovation vs. production downtime and chip shortages

The electromobility market was gaining strong momentum this year. In 2021, electrified cars (BEV and PHEV) will outstrip diesel vehicles in terms of new registrations1. In addition, news regarding new models, new laws or new technologies are popping up frequently. This is driven not least by incentives emanating from the sophistication and technological novelty of the product, but also by proactive political action and accompanying support programs that extend beyond the spectrum of the private individual.

The environmental bonus and its increase via the innovation premium, the German KfW subsidy, the European RED II guidelines and incentives deriving from it, such as the expansion of GHG quota trading, are catalysts of the transport turnaround. The environmental bonus introduced in 2016 was doubled as part of the Covid-19 crisis stimulus program and is expected to run until the end of 2022 according to the new German government. Thus, pure electric cars will continue to receive a subsidy of up to 9,000 euros. The KfW 440 subsidy for the installation of private EV chargers experienced such an enormous run that the initially planned 200 million euros were stepwise increased up to 800 million euros within just under a year. Although the KfW 440 is no longer available to private individuals, it has been relaunched for companies as KfW 441 since November 23, 2021. In addition, the updated European Renewable Energy Directive 2 (RED II) incorporates electric vehicles into the GHG quota trading system which brings additional momentum for new and old players into the electromobility market.

The upswing in electromobility has been enormous in 2021. Until two years ago, electric cars were still considered a niche product with a market share of 4 percent in Germany. Today, e-mobility is succeeding in opening up the market across all sectors. In addition, it is also creating space for new, innovative products and players and is reaching the middle of the society. In the midst of the crisis, while combustion engines were in reverse gear and overall market sales have crumbled down by around 32 percent, e-mobility was stepping on the “gas” with a 39 percent sales increase.

On top of that, it is becoming increasingly popular in the commercial sector, and the mentioned KfW 441 subsidy offers companies another reason to successively reduce their emissions with the help of fleet electrification, thus achieving internal and prescribed climate targets and cultivating their image. And it is not only in the automotive industry that companies are converting their company fleets; targeted, fundamental rethinking of mobility offerings and fleet management is taking place across all industries: SAP, Vattenfall, IKEA, McDonalds to name just a few players. Electrified fleets are not limited to passenger cars, vans are also an important component. With the expanding range of e-vans, it is conceivable for more than one in three of the fleet managers2 to enrich their own fleet with them.

Car sharing and leasing services are also expanding their portfolios to include electric vehicles of all kinds. Startups such as the car sharing company “We Share” which pursue the “BEV only” philosophy, program software for charging solutions or drive the research on new battery systems. They are given the opportunity to grow, participate and successfully establish themselves thanks to the expansion of the market. At the same time, the model variety of traditional automotive OEMs and the number of new OEMs focusing on purely electric vehicles is steadily increasing: Tesla, Rivian, Nio and Polestar are few examples for players heating up the competition. Innovation is an important keyword here; electromobility is advancing the goal of fully autonomous driving. Mercedes Benz is the first car manufacturer in the world to be authorized3 to offer its customers autonomous driving within the legal framework (maximum speed 60 km/h) for 2022, to name just one of the innovations that await us in the close future. Technical novelties and visions in the field of autonomous driving, battery technology and resulting range extension, futuristic optics of new BEV models take shape and let us feel an upward trend.

Accordingly, the demand for electric vehicles is rising continuously. In this context it is bitter that the pandemic is also causing issues here and that the resulting supply chain problems result in delivery bottlenecks and long waiting times. In direct connection with the Covid-19 crisis, there was a slump in sales in the automotive industry, with pandemic-related closures of production plants and production stoppages. Then came a sudden surge in demand in 2021, triggered by governmental initiatives, the rising popularity of e-vehicles and the quick recovery of the Chinese market. Together with the continuing high demand consumer electronics, also propelled by Covid-implicated rise in home office, quickly ramped up the availability shortage of semiconductors, upsetting suppliers’ capacity planning. Peugeot has been installing analog displays instead of digital speedometers in its 308 model since May, Daimler has had to put thousands on short-time work, delivery times of nine months and more for the selected models are no longer uncommon, nor were production stops in 2021 unthinkable.

Whether the supply chain process issues will relax in 2022 or even regulate remains to be seen. The further ramp-up of e-mobility in all its facets and the mobility transition in general will certainly continue. We at Receeda GmbH continue to contribute and look forward to all the surprises, innovations, diversity and projects that await us.


1 Elektroautos: 2021 schon mehr Zulassungen als Diesel – DER SPIEGEL
2 E-Mobilität in Flotten 2021 | Dataforce
3 Autonomes Fahren: Mercedes bekommt Zulassung für Drive Pilot – Wirtschaft – SZ.de (sueddeutsche.de)