While EV sales are still a low-single-digit percentage of the market, the transition to electric vehicles gained momentum in 2021. Most manufacturers made bold claims about electrified futures, and some made big investments to back up the big talk. Here’s a timeline of what stood out through the year.
1 January: GM Hopes to Sell Only EVs by 2035:
The largest U.S. automaker said it “aspires” to sell only electrics by 2035 for its light-duty lineup. Crucial caveats: Aspirations aren’t commitments, and 300-mile electric trucks may not qualify as light-duty (GM’s goal to fully electrify heavy-duty pickups is 2040).
2 March: Kia Announces First of 11 EVs to Come
The 2022 EV6 (pictured) shares Hyundai’s E-GMP platform with the Ioniq 5. Going forward, Hyundai and Kia will build lots of EVs on that same platform. The EV6’s is a mix between a hatchback and a crossover. Later in the year, we find out that its expected range will be over 300 miles.
3 March: VW Will Build a High-Range, Quick-Charging EV for 2026
Volkswagen announced its 2026 electric sedan under the Project Trinity name, at an event outlining aggressive future plans for electrification. VW’s Accelerate strategy involves the release of at least one new EV every year.
4 May: 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Debuts
A day after President Biden took a joyride, Ford lit up its headquarters in electric blue. The all-electric truck’s specs (up to 300 miles of range and 563 horses, power-your-house ability) indicate Ford is serious about converting its bestseller to a successful EV. By fall, Ford would take more than 160,000 reservations.
5 July: Plug-In Hybrids Return
Demand for the RAV4 Prime (pictured) has wildly exceeded Toyota’s expectations. Stellantis said it’ll offer a plug-in hybrid for every model in the Jeep range by 2025. The Chevrolet Volt is dead; long live the Volt?
6 July: What Does an Electric Challenger Sound Like?
Even Dodge, the home of obscenely powerful V-8 muscle cars that turn heads at every corner, is going with the tide. Next year we’ll see the concept for an all-electric Dodge muscle car that’ll hit production in 2024.
7 August: Battery Recall Expands to All Chevrolet Bolt EVs
Late in 2020, Chevy told Bolt EV owners that some batteries might have a flaw that could cause a fire. In August, the recall expanded to all 141,000 Bolts made over six model years, turning into a slow-motion catastrophe for GM. A plan for battery replacements includes software that monitors new and old batteries.
8 August: NHTSA Gets Tougher with Tesla
The safety of Tesla’s poorly named Autopilot suite of advanced driver-assistance systems has been debated for years. On August 31, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requested information on every car using Autopilot and every crash the company is aware of involving a car equipped with Autopilot.
9 September: Luxury Goes Electric
The Rolls-Royce Spectre, due in 2023, will be the marque’s first EV—and Rolls said it plans to have a fully electric lineup by 2030.
Source: Car and Driver