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News Trends: The Energy Transition of Mobility Shifts Into High Gear

Christopher Robinson, Research Director
June 2, 2021

Just over a year ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared a global pandemic. At the time, there was a great deal of uncertainty about how COVID-19 would impact the energy industry. More than 12 months later, we witnessed a 20% drop in oil demand, a 5% reduction in electricity consumption, and the largest year-over-year reduction in global CO2 emissions. However, through it all, the energy transition continued to move forward at an accelerated rate.

Using our news commentary feature, we have been tracking key developments in the energy industry over the first year of the global pandemic, covering nearly 650 individual developments across more than 10 of our major topic areas. These innovation-related events range from partnerships and investments to recent R&D and policies. Each news commentary includes information about the companies involved and our take on the development.

The news trends analysis is one of the main factors shaping the Lux Energy Team's outlook for 2021 and beyond. Many of the transformational developments that occurred directly influenced the Energy Program's four key themes – Evolution of Electricity Networks, Decarbonization of Industry, The Business of the Energy Transition, and Future Energy for Mobility – and shaped our 2021 predictions. In the below figure, we analyze the activity over the past 12 months within one of our main topics, energy for mobility.

News Trends The energy transition of mobility shifts into high gear

As we enter the second year of the global pandemic, we take a look back at the "Truly Disruptive" and "Very Important" developments over the past 12 months. In addition, we have selected the most read and discussed innovation-related events.

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The past year dramatically reshaped the industry's attitudes and actions toward powering mobility. We began to see rhetoric turn into action; in our analysis, projects, investments, and partnerships are the three leading types of news items we wrote.

Looking toward 2021, those interested should expect momentum behind reducing emissions from transport to continue. There may be some setbacks; the SPAC craze in 2020 created unsustainably high valuations, and we already see a bit of a market correction to more reasonable levels thus far in 2021. Additionally, some spaces – such as eVTOL – remain quite crowded and ripe for consolidation.

If the 2000s were a decade of proving technical validity for electrification, and the 2010s were the decade that proved it was in demand, the 2020s will be centered around manufacturers focusing more efforts upstream to become more vertically integrated, with a possible shift from a demand-limited to supply-limited market.

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