If there are any positives that have come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of them is unquestionably the reduction in pollution and climate change-causing carbon monoxide. According to the Wall Street Journal, in just one week in March, New York City's carbon monoxide levels decreased by more than 50% after the government enacted the city's stay-home order. New York City is hardly alone -- the smog that normally hangs above Los Angeles has largely dissipated, and China has seen a major decline in pollution after Wuhan and other parts of the country were temporarily shut down.
Obviously this decline in pollution has come at the cost of shuttered economies, but the environmental benefits cannot be debated. It begs the question: What can the auto industry do in a post-pandemic world to ensure we maintain environmental responsibility and enjoy the benefits of clean air and water?
COVID has shown the world that electric vehicle trends are a necessary continued development. And, unfortunately, gasoline won’t be $2 forever. Here’s how electric motor design is moving forward in the meantime:
Electric Vehicle Trends Are the Future of Automotive Engineering
From 2010-17, the automotive industry invested about $25 billion into capital expenditures research and development for the “electrification” of transportation. From 2018 to 2023, however, the industry is poised to pony up $255 billion.
Even if COVID has delayed progress a bit, it’s still notable that some 200 total EVs are currently in development by various automakers. Now that we've seen what a world without rampant pollution and smog looks like, higher production and sales of EVs may follow.
Other factors that will lead to electric motor designs overtaking the internal combustion engine this decade include:
- Stricter emissions standards in California, Europe, and Asia
- Reduced “range anxiety" as mileage and available charging stations increase
- The ability to build electric vehicle drivetrains at a lower price point than 10 years ago.
- Development of powder metal components that improve electric motor efficiency
The Impact of COVID-19 on Automotive Technology Trends
In all likelihood, that 5-year window we discussed above, and the rollout of those 200 EV models, may stretch out to 6-7 years as automakers recover financially from COVID. Either way, the electrification of transportation is coming -- here are just a few examples of what’s been announced to date:
- Ford is launching an entire Mustang line of electric vehicles, incorporating an electric motor design into its classic pony car.
- Ford's luxury brand, Lincoln, has the electric hybrid Aviator SUV in production and available to purchase today.
- Chevy has already developed the “hybrid” Volt and the all-electric Bolt, and will soon release a line of gasoline/electric Corvettes.
- Electric models from Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, BMW, and other leading automakers around the world are continuing to crowd the market.
- Developers are improving the viability of alternative transportation like e-scooters, e-bikes, and e-motorcycles.
While it's true that the COVID-19 pandemic may delay EV development, experts still expect electric vehicles to account for roughly one-third of all new vehicle sales worldwide by 2025. Don’t be surprised if that projection increases now that the world has seen -- and smelled -- the sudden environmental impact of nobody driving. Cleaner emissions could permanently translate to a reduction of smog and perhaps even related respiratory issues, like asthma. The benefits of EVs are crystal-clear, and electric motor manufacturing is poised to meet the advanced drivetrain requirements of EVs.
How to Keep up With Automotive Technology Motor Trends?
Even a 20-30% increase in electric cars on the road would make a significant impact on air quality. Recent supply chain disruptions are unlikely to stop that sales and production increase from happening in the 2020s.
An increase in electric motor demand will also result in a greater need for advanced motor materials and manufacturing tricks to better power these vehicles. Powder metallurgy technology and materials can meet the needs of EV-developing automakers, both today and throughout the 2020s.
To learn more about one particular material suited for increasing electric motor performance, download the free e-book below: