The New Wave: Electric Vehicles

[Seoul, South Korea] As has been predicted several times since the spread of Covid 19, this year’s auto industry topic is really electric vehicles. This was also evident at the recent motor show in Shanghai, China, where most of the new models on stage were electric vehicles. Especially, even traditional manufacturers like Toyota, who were dedicated to hybrid vehicles, released pure electric cars. People could see that the real market trend has changed completely.

The reality is a little different from the motor show that presents cutting-edge technology, and the latest issue in the automotive industry is the supply and demand of semiconductors or small parts. It’s ironic that there’s a fierce battle going on in a very basic area. In Korea, actual purchase contracts for the next-generation electric vehicle, Ionic 5, have been made, but the company could not set an official release date due to the lack of supply of motor parts.

The market is clearly moving from hybrid to pure electric vehicles. Problem of supply of semiconductors is a difficulty that is experienced globally. Nevertheless, all manufacturers and governments are now scrambling in many ways. Europe is the fastest in terms of speed, and China started so early that the market is very large. In China, production and sales are more than three times higher than last year, and most of them are pure electric vehicles. In a way, China is now benefiting from the poor gasoline engine technology in the past. Europe, which has a lot of traditional manufacturers, has also been following aggressive subsidy policies recently. Compared to them, it seems a little insignificant, but 15 percent of vehicles are already electric vehicles in the Korean sales market. Exports have grown even more now, continuing to grow 45% compared to last year based on output.

Charging is the key for electric cars to go with the flow. It is important how convenient it is to charge the battery the moment you need. Charging stations should be as convenient and accessible as gas stations. The reason why it always comes out when talking about performance of electric vehicles is because there is a lack of charging facilities and yet it is still a long way to go. So as much as battery research, there is a lot of research on charging methods. The basic method is to charge electricity by connecting power to a car battery. In addition, technologies such as wireless charging, such as mobile phones, or charging while driving on the road are being studied. A replacement method is also being implemented in China to remove batteries that have already been discharged from cars and replace them with new ones. The biggest advantage of this method is that the buyer doesn’t have to pay for the costs at the time of purchase for the exchange. However, the fact that the battery exchange station, which requires a large investment cost, needs to be built in many places is a huddle. In addition, there are many problems that are very difficult to solve, such as who is responsible for accidents later on with damaged batteries. Although not immediately, expectations for commercialization of electric vehicles continue because we don’t know when or how technologies that are much ahead of us will emerge.


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