Demand for Electric Power Vehicles Surged

According to the Korea Automobile Industry Association, the number of global electric vehicle sales in 2020 was 294,3172 units, an increase of 44.6% from the previous year. Among the trains, the most sold type was the pure electric vehicle (BEV), which increased 34.7% to 202,5371 units. The growth rate was highest at 73.6% for plug-in hybrid cars (PHEV). The number of units sold is 9,09519 units. Hydrogen electric vehicles (FCEV) increased 9.3% to 8282 units.

When pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid cars that use batteries as their main power increase their dominance in the eco-friendly vehicle market, Japan and Toyota will be the most disturbing. Toyota has completely dominated the market for over 20 years, starting with the Prius, a hybrid car launched in 1997. Despite the initial reaction that skeptically looked at the hybrid market, the accumulated sales of Toyota hybrids surpassed 5 million units in 2013, 10 million units in 2017, and 15 million units last year.

Toyota’s performance is a good comparison with the accumulated sales of hybrid cars of Hyundai Motor, which started with the Avante LPi in 2009, recorded 1 million units in 2009, 10 years later. Toyota has strong power to account for 70% of global hybrid car demand, but it is unlikely to continue. Although there are internal combustion engines and subsidies that are more fuel-efficient than hybrid cars, the price gap between pure electric vehicles narrowed and the perception that they are not different from internal combustion engines is expected to cause the damage to Toyota, which has a large dependence on hybrid cars.

These signs are already appearing. Excluding hybrid cars, including plug-in hybrids, the total number of electric vehicles sold last year exceeded Toyota’s hybrid car sales of 2.94 million units. As Toyota’s share of the hybrid car market is high, it is certain that this year’s electric car sales will surpass that of hybrid cars. The domestic situation is no different. According to statistics from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport at the end of last year, among the domestic eco-friendly cars (82,329 units), hybrid cars accounted for 82.2% at 67,4461. Electric cars and hydrogen cars account for 16.4% and 1.3%, respectively.

Hybrid cars occupy an overwhelming portion of registration statistics, but sales have already turned to weakness. For domestic cars, electric cars were close to half of hybrid car sales, and for imported cars, plug-in hybrid growth rate increased twice that of hybrid cars. Domestic and imported pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles are increasing, and in particular, mild hybrids with little difference in price from regular models are added to invade the hybrid car market.

Another threat is that major markets such as Europe, the United States, and China are starting to reduce or eliminate the benefits offered to hybrid cars at all. Korea is also discussing ways to delete hybrid cars from the list of eco-friendly cars and low-emission cars from 2023, and to remove benefits such as tax and reduction in public parking lots at the acquisition stage.

If a hybrid car is treated like an internal combustion locomotive, the hybrid car may disappear before an internal combustion engine that is artificially endangered due to policy regulations and brand strategy. The Japanese automobile industry, which is still lingering on internal combustion engines or hybrid cars, is concerned about the expansion of electric vehicle tax. When the Japanese government announced that it would stop selling gasoline in 2030, the perception of Toyota’s chairman Akio Toyota was frustrating, saying, “More pollutants are emitted from the electric vehicle manufacturing process.”