Mobility: The drive continues

  • Tweet
  • Share on LinkedIn
  • Share via email
  • Print
  • Download

May 18, 2021


Traveling needs may have been put on hold as the world has been in lock-down but it hasn’t slowed the speed of driving demand in the mobility sector. Managers of the Mellon Mobility Innovation strategy outline the latest trends they see sparking growth in this sector.


  • In 2019, Europe secured €60bn billion in investments to produce EVs and batteries – 19 times more than in 2018.
  • 5.2% of China’s vehicles are electric – Norway has 56% of its vehicles running on electricity; in Iceland it is 25.5% and the Netherlands has 15% EV penetration.
  • Electric micromobility options have expanded rapidly since their emergence in 2017. Shared electric scooters, electric-assist bicycles and electric mopeds are now available in over 600 cities across more than 50 countries.
  • Chile aims to electrify all of its public transport by 2040; in European Union countries, a new Clean Vehicles Directive also provides a public procurement of electric buses.
  • In Europe, 76% of all charging points are concentrated in just 4 countries: The Netherlands, Germany, France, and the UK (as of end of 2019).

Source: European electric vehicle charging platform The global electric vehicle market in 2021: statistics & forecasts

Last year in Europe – amid wide-spread lockdowns – electric vehicle (EV) purchases rose 1c135%, propelling the region to overtake China (which recorded c12% growth) as the global driver of EV sales.2 At a time when the global auto market was facing headwinds, global EV sales reached 3.24 million units for the first time and their market share increased from 2.5% in 2019 to 4.2% in 2020.3

According to Rob Zeuthen, portfolio manager of the Mellon Mobility Innovation strategy, the acceleration of the digital transformation witnessed last year across the global economy appears to have carried over into 2021.

The International Energy Agency found that a record three million electric cars were registered across the world in 2020, 41% higher than in 2019; in 2021 there were 2.5 times as many registrations recorded in the first quarter of the year as during the same period in 2020.4

Says Zeuthen: “While the pandemic remains a key source of risk and uncertainty, a combination of low, but rising rates, low inventory, new sources of mobility innovation, tighter regulations, heightened environmental concerns and shifting consumer preferences provide a combination of cyclical and secular forces that will drive demand across the mobility landscape.”

Zeuthen agrees robust demand for electric vehicles was the bright spot in the European market in 2020, and notes continued outperformance in Western Europe compared to other regions around the world, including China. However, as the world’s largest passenger vehicle market, China has had a notable volume recovery since its economy reopened. He notes: “We believe there will be continued positive underlying demand, assuming China’s domestic economy continues its growth trend.”

Although the Chinese market is supported by government purchase subsidies, which are due to be cut at the end of 2022, Zeuthen says growth should remain positive as consumer interest grows.

With respect to the US market, he points out that growth in passenger vehicle volumes is highly dependent on the health of the consumer and employment. As the distribution of new Covid-19 vaccines continues, Zeuthen expects its economy will remain on a positive, albeit bumpy track for the remainder of the year.

Technology support

Outside of EVs there is a growing world of mobility investment opportunities, according to Zeuthen. “We see structural growth trends across a variety of areas,” he says. “This should drive opportunity in manufacturers of 5G networks, cloud computing networks, infrastructure and, increasingly, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).”

The outlook for growth in ADAS and vehicle electrification in particular remains positive over the mid to long-term, he adds. ADAS content and functionality per vehicle continues to increase in key markets, as does the underlying secular shift to vehicle electrification, which remains a key focus for Europe and China due to emission policies and regulation. By some measures, the ADAS market is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of roughly 16% between 2021-2026, reaching upwards of US$73bn, according to UnivDatos Market Insights.

Zeuthen also highlights 5G as an area continuing to have a positive impact on the mobility industry. New smartphone launches are seeing notable adoption and the prospects for market share gains are emboldening their competitors, he says. “Given tightening foundry capacity and lengthening lead times, we expect better-than-seasonal smartphone conditions in the near-term.”

1 Circa, or about.

2 and S&P Global Market Insights. Europe overtakes china in EV sales growth in 2020. January 2021.

3 Ibid.

4 International Energy Agency and Statista: Electric vehicle market to hit ludicrous mode. April 29, 2021.


All investments involve some level of risk, including loss of principal. Certain investments have specific or unique risks. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee returns or eliminate risk in any market environment.

The technology sector involves special risks, such as the faster rate of change and obsolescence of technological advances, and has been among the most volatile sectors of the stock market.

Recent market risks include pandemic risks related to COVID-19. The effects of COVID-19 have contributed to increased volatility in global markets and will likely affect certain countries, companies, industries and market sectors more dramatically than others.

This material has been provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular investment product, strategy, investment manager or account arrangement, and should not serve as a primary basis for investment decisions. Prospective investors should consult a legal, tax or financial professional in order to determine whether any investment product, strategy or service is appropriate for their particular circumstances. Views expressed are those of the author stated and do not reflect views of other managers or the firm overall. Views are current as of the date of this publication and subject to change. This information contains projections or other forward-looking statements regarding future events, targets or expectations, and is only current as of the date indicated. There is no assurance that such events or expectations will be achieved, and actual results may be significantly different from that shown here. The information is based on current market conditions, which will fluctuate and may be superseded by subsequent market events or for other reasons.

References to specific securities, asset classes and financial markets are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be and should not be interpreted as recommendations. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed.

Mellon Investments Corporation (Mellon) is a global multi-specialist investment manager dedicated to serving clients with a full spectrum of research-driven solutions using both active and passive strategies. Mellon is a registered investment adviser and a subsidiary of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation.

BNY Mellon Investment Management is one of the world’s leading investment management organizations, encompassing BNY Mellon’s affiliated investment management firms and global distribution companies. BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation and may also be used as a generic term to reference the corporation as a whole or its various subsidiaries generally.

No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission.

© 2021 BNY Mellon Securities Corporation, distributor, 240 Greenwich Street, 9th Floor, New York NY, 10286

Not FDIC-Insured | No Bank Guarantee | May Lose Value