2020 – no, wait, 2021 – maybe 2022 is when the flood of good electric vehicles is coming
Lucid Air starts production next year, and Rivian will be pumping out tens of thousands of Amazon vans and maybe some Ford-badged pickups and other vehicles. But the electric vehicle world will really be hopping in 2022, when all the various new electric car companies will either be running at full speed, or at least be producing something to show whether they’ve been wishing or bragging.
Lucid’s caution around setting expectations for self-driving bodes well for potential buyers of its cars, since they have avoided Musky grandiosity (e.g. “you can drive blindfolded!”); for that reason, we expect them to actually deliver what they promised, which is reportedly a comfortable, fast, and well-made car. But Rivian is probably the big news; Amazon and Ford bought heavily into the company after they showed what they could do, and Amazon’s committed to over 100,000 Rivian vans already. Ford, meanwhile, is expected to fit an F-150-like body over the Rivian “skateboard,” which is probably easier to do with a body-on-frame truck than with, say, the Mustang. (The “Mustang-E” electric crossover will also be coming to mix it up with the Jaguar F-Pace and such.)
Endurance is set to start production as well; and the Hummer should follow a year or two later. (Endurance is made at an old GM plant and Hummer is made by GM; otherwise they are not connected.) Both are the start of new lineups rather than single vehicles.
Will Cummins’ electric truck powertrain also join the mix, letting short-haul big rigs move around silently, while Tesla actually makes “Cybertrucks” which may or may not fulfill some of Musk’s promises? We’ll find that out, too. Ditto whether specialty-electric-SUV maker Bollinger actually sells any of its skateboards (a sort of combination frame, powertrain, and lower chassis) to other specialty vehicle makers. One wonders if anyone at Jeep has looked into using these for eWagoneers — or if Ford has looked at them for eBroncos.
2022 won’t be the peak, though. Among other things, Toyota’s solid-state batteries may well be hitting mass production around 2025; these would greatly increase energy density and speed up recharges to nearly gasoline-tank-filling times. Other automakers are turning to other battery innovations. Tesla’s ridden on Panasonic’s giant shoulders for a long time, but the state of the art doesn’t stop. That may be why Tesla is spending so much capital on expanding globally, to try to capture markets and become the “default” electric while it still has a lead.
2022 will be a big year for electric vehicles, and is promising some seriously competitive new metal; but it won’t be the last big year. With diesels out in Europe, and fuel economy still important, hybrids and battery-electrics are being sold in Europe long before they reach American shores—even Jeep’s new 4xe system is Europe-only for the moment.
Clark Westfield grew up fixing up and driving past-their-prime American cars, including various GM and Mopar V8s. He has ghostwritten auto news for the last few years, lives in Farmingdale, New York, and can be reached at +1.516-531-4021.