Hybrid and electric vehicle trends: 2022 and beyond

An electric car revolution is underway on roads across Europe, as the end date for petrol and diesel car sales comes into view. In the United Kingdom, from 2030, hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) will be the only new cars on the market, while France and Spain are to ban petrol and diesel car sales from 2040.

You could argue the future is already upon us.

So, what’s in store for 2022 and the years to come? Let’s check out the trends.

Going full electric

Investment bank UBS forecast that by 2025, 20% of all new cars sold globally will be electric. They predict that by 2040, the entire transportation sector could be ‘decarbonized’ – that all new car’s produced will be either hybrid, fully electric or full hydrogen.

Across the EU, it’s expected that around 4 million EVs will be produced in 2025, up from 1.3m in 2019.

"Despite the challenges of the pandemic across Europe, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders in the UK reported 11.6% of car sales in 2021 were for EVs, up from 6.6% in 2020. In December 2021 alone, 26% of sales were for electric cars. In Spain, sales of EVs rose by 32% year-on-year", according to industry group ANFAC.

In France, plugin EVs account for 22.9% of all vehicles sales in September 2021 – nearly twice the 11.8% share seen a year ago – according to PFA. The German government agency, Federal Motor Transport Authority saw the number of EV registrations triple between 2019 and 2020.

Honda is also looking to be at the forefront of the electric revolution in Europe – aiming to increase its ratio of EVs and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) to 100% of all sales by 2040.

Charging point availability

One major hurdle to electric vehicle adoption is access to charging points. Many countries are looking to increase their availability – whether that’s in new homes or town centres.

It’s a growing trend across Europe. Between 2016 and 2021, the number of publicly accessible battery chargers grew sevenfold, according to the IEA.

Incentive to switch

A major factor driving EV sales is the various subsidies offered. For example, the Netherlands has more electric and hybrid vehicles per population than any other country, globally. They offer subsidies to EV buyers, and vehicles are exempt from purchase tax and motor vehicle tax until 2024, with discounts after that for several years.

Norway is another pioneer. EV vehicles there are exempt from road tax and sales tax, plus they pay 50% less in parking and toll road charges. Other incentives in some European countries include allowing EVs and hybrid owners to use bus lanes.

Is the future BEV or PHEV?

Which nations are choosing battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and which prefer plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)? Interestingly, both BEVs and PHEVs are being welcomed throughout Europe, particularly in the top five markets.

BEV sales in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK jumped by 147% and PHEVs by 248% in the first half of 2021.

The driver's EV

Traditionally, sports cars were noisy fuel guzzlers and EVs were small and quiet city cars. However, electric battery technology is advancing so quickly, many EVs can now compete with, or even outperform petrol and diesel cars.

These sporty EVs can hit top speeds from a standstill in seconds, while being as eco-friendly as normal electric cars. And with hydrogen-powered sports cars in development, the thrills (hopefully minus the spills) of sports car driving will increase in the years to come.

The electric road

There are some fascinating concepts potentially right around the corner for EVs, in which roads play a key part.

Honda is again at the forefront of a game-changing development – the Electric Road System is being developed to supply dynamic charging power from road infrastructure – while driving. This will reduce waiting time for charging and the size of on-board batteries, as well as extend range.