The 20s are without doubt the decade of electric vehicles going mainstream.
Different brands are at different stages of their electric vehicle journey, but the fact of the matter is that, globally, automobile companies are doing everything they can to break into this space. Even President Biden is committed to these environmentally-friendly innovations, granting $2.5 billion in grants towards the construction of EV charging situations in order to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions by 50%–52% by 2030.
So just who is making an effort to create more eco-friendly options? We looked at the big names making a splash in the EV space, aiming to analyze their successes, crises, and overall media attitudes towards each company.
The big three: Tesla, Ford, and Toyota
Overall, Tesla found themselves with the highest number of articles and engagements. Now, that may be because of their outspoken CEO, Elon Musk, who has also recently made headlines for his unconventional takeover of Twitter. Nonetheless, stories about Tesla, one of the most known electric vehicle brands, had multiple peaks.
In the first week of the year, the Washington Examiner published an article about the inefficiency of Tesla batteries (3.8k) and Bloomberg published an article about Honda’s new EV that will challenge the likes of Tesla (2.4k). Towards the end of the month, we saw a peak in engagement for a constant criticism used by competitors to tear down the original EV brand– they’re unsafe. Breitbart posted an article about a Tesla spontaneously combusting into flames (which is not the first time this has been reported to have happened) (6.8k). Towards the end of February though, Bloomberg refuted these claims, publishing an article about how Tesla has posted one of the widest profit margins of any EV company despite the constant criticism from the media claiming that they are a “failed venture (15.1k).” More recently, Musk has announced he will seek to halve his EV production costs, though at the time of this announcement he refused to acknowledge exactly when these new costs would be available to the public (4.1k).
Ford was the second most talked about brand, and for good reason. Their venture into the EV scene has been praised by critics and the company is fully committed to the process, investing over $50 billion to elevate its lineup with new products and the proper factories needed to build them. They started the year on a high, with news that sales were up in December — a 223% spike in electric vehicle sales helped expand market share in 2022 (3.4k). The automobile maker sold over 60k electric vehicles in 2022, and many articles about the company making a push to overtake Tesla as the largest EV manufacturer saw large numbers of engagement. In mid February, it was reported that Ford was planning to build a $3.5 billion factory in Michigan that would employ over 2,500 people and help create lower-cost batteries for their already existing and future planned electric vehicles (10.7k). In the media, Ford has been a frontrunner to be the new face of electric vehicles, and it seems like they are only getting started.
Toyota is in big trouble. EVs made up just 0.2% of Toyota's production last year. EV market share is surging to 33% in countries like Germany and the UK meaning Toyota's addressable markets are shrinking rapidly. It's hard to see how they'll survive.https://t.co/wSZMNE31Qd— Daniel Bleakley (@DanielBleakley) January 30, 2023
Let’s take a look at some key takeaways from other top brands.
1. Luxury EVs are just as desirable
Other than Tesla, many EVs come from mid-market brands, like Honda or Hyundai. On one hand, consumers crave the affordability that comes with these eco-friendly options, but at the same time, luxury brands are still just as popular. If anything, luxury brands are the most aware of the predicted longevity of the EV industry, so they invest more. For example, BMW has ramped up production in their Mexican factory and Mercedes Benz has urged the German government to create more EV charging stations in order to keep up with their (and other German car brands, like VW) increase in EV production.
2. EVs open a new market
EVs cater to a demographic that truly cares for the social and environmental good of this world. And as the tidings change and Gen Z and Millennials start to outnumber the rest, it is imperative that brands keep up with their interests. Minorities matter, too. According to a recent Consumer Report, 33 percent of white, 38 percent of Black, 43 percent of Latino, and 52 percent of Asian Americans say they would “definitely” or “seriously consider” purchasing or leasing an EV as their next vehicle. With these demographics open to the idea of EVs, the transition becomes that much more important.
3. There is still work to be done in terms of accessibility
Though EVs are the future of creating more environmentally-friendly transportation, we’d be remiss to exclude that even with their lower prices, obtaining these vehicles is still inaccessible for many. According to a recent study, more than half of the lowest-income U.S. households would continue to shoulder significant expenses when fueling their vehicles even if they switched to an EV. There are a variety of regional factors that contribute to this, like electricity grid maintenance and temperature-related impacts, but the fact is that there is still work to be done to make a full adoption of EVs successful globally. In order to fully benefit from EVs, government’s have to properly invest funds to the infrastructure that supports the vehicles, brands must offer reasonably priced EV options, and consumers must buy into the overall benefits.
EVs are clearly the future and it’s important that brands keep up with their growing popularity in order to stay ahead of the pact. As long as the investments are there, the prolonged success of EVs won’t be denied.
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