2021 was a massive year for electric cars. 2022 will be even bigger.

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  • 2021 was a hugely important year for electric vehicles and the revolution will keep rolling in 2022. 
  • Next year, consumers will be able to choose from more electric options than ever before. 
  • EV market share is projected to grow to 5%, up from less than 3% in 2021. 

This time in 2021, Ford hadn’t unveiled a battery-powered pickup truck, the White House was more interested in cutting fuel-economy standards than supporting zero-emission cars, and longshot electric-vehicle startups had plenty of orders but no sales to show for it. 

One year later and that’s all changed. 

Ford’s F-150 Lightning has nabbed some 200,000 reservations since its big debut in May. The Biden administration wants to blanket the US with 500,000 new EV charging stations. This fall, two upstarts — Rivian and Lucid — beat the odds and started shipping impressive luxury EVs to customers. 

This is all to say that 2021 was a huge year for the shift toward electric transportation. Expect 2022 to be even bigger as appetite for zero-emission cars grows, production accelerates, and more options hit the market. 

The Ford F-150 Lightning EV truck.

The F-150 Lightning arrives next spring with a starting price of $40,000.
Ford

Tesla has struggled to keep up with booming demand for its cars, and we should see it continue to drastically grow production capacity in 2022. Two new plants in Berlin and Texas will come online soon, vastly expanding the country’s most popular EV maker’s ability to satisfy orders. 

Tesla may be the dominant electric-car firm today, but it’s hardly the only player to watch. Giants like Ford, Volkswagen, and Toyota all plan to unleash a tidal wave of new EVs in 2022 and beyond. The number of electric options in the US should double from the roughly 20 that are currently available to around 40 by the end of next year, according to Sam Abuelsamid, a principal research analyst at Guidehouse Insights. 

Crucially, consumers will have an easier time finding an electric car that fits their lifestyle and budget than ever before, Abuelsamid told Insider, which should drive adoption. Up until recently, the EV-curious essentially had their pick of a pricey Tesla or a small hatchback. But over the next few years, buyers will be able to browse an expanding range of battery-powered pickup trucks and SUVs, body styles that have been sorely missing from the electric market despite being precisely the types of vehicles Americans crave. 

“In order for EVs to generate even more success than they have had so far, they need to first and foremost be in a vehicle type that the consumer wants,” Stephanie Brinley, principal automotive analyst at IHS Markit, said in an interview. “A consumer who needs a pickup truck is not going to settle for a hatchback electric vehicle for the sake of electricity.”

The Toyota BZ4X electric SUV.

Toyota’s BZ4X, about the same size as its popular RAV4, will hit dealerships in mid-2022.
Toyota

In 2022, Ford will begin selling the F-150 Lightning, and Cadillac will release its first e-SUV, the Lyriq. Toyota, which makes the best-selling compact SUV in the country, will launch an electric one called the BZ4X

But 2022 won’t come without headwinds. This year’s supply-chain snarls wreaked havoc across the auto sector, hitting everyone from Tesla to GM. The ongoing computer-chip shortage or unexpected spikes in the cost of raw materials could hamper EV manufacturing in the near term, Abuelsamid said. 

The zero-emission share of the US car market will grow to a new high of 5% in 2022, IHS Markit estimates. That’s a big jump from the almost 3% market share EVs conquered in 2021, but it still represents a tiny sliver of the 15.5 million new vehicles the firm projects will change hands next year. 

Although EVs are grabbing headlines and exciting developments are on the way in 2022, the transition away from gas cars is just beginning, Brinley said. EV market share will reach double digits in 2025 and hit roughly 31% by 2030, IHS Markit forecasts. 

“It’s not the defining moment just yet,” Brinley said. “It is happening, but we’ve still got a ways to go.”