By Peter Bracken – 3rd August 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has made electric cars “more inevitable,” said Volkswagen Group of America senior VP of strategy Reinhard Fischer in an inhouse interview.
“The dramatic decrease in exhaust emissions during the early days of the pandemic, when most countries enforced strict stay-at-home orders, also showed the potential environmental benefit of electric cars. Municipalities will want to “hold on” to that cleaner air by enacting stricter emissions rules, Fischer said.”
There is a change coming so why has mass adoption of EV’s not happened yet?
So here are 9 reasons why EVs are not currently dominating the market:
1.Cost Myth: Even though from a total cost of ownership basis, EVs are cheaper than equivalent petrol/diesel cars, and significantly cheaper in a lot of cases, the sticker price is still a barrier for most people. EVs have the potential to be much cheaper to manufacture once the price of batteries comes down, and this has been happening very steadily. That’s why in about 3 years’ time we will see the crossover point where capable EVs are cheaper (unsubsidized) than fossil fuel vehicles, and EVs will start to dominate the market.
2. Related to cost is the fact that up until now, only the mid- to high-end range of vehicles was served by EVs. SUV’s are in fashion globally right now and only now are Electric SUV’s being sold. The Hyundai Kona and the Kia E-Niro have been here a little while and are now joined by SUVs such as the Nissan Airya, Tesla S, Polestar 2 etc. This is a game charger in EV adaption.
3. The old guard do not want to make Electric Cars. Only for Tesla there would be no Electric Cars being made by the legacy automakers (the big guys, the household names!). Resistance on the part of legacy automakers: Legacy automakers have 100 years of expertise in internal combustion engines under their belt. They do not want to throw that all out in favour of a new technology they know a lot less about. They also have the problem of EVs eating into their entire product range. Tesla is forcing their hand here, but if they had their way, they would slow down EV manufacture indefinitely.
4. Car dealerships: not all, but many auto dealers are reluctant to sell EVs. For one thing, it will greatly reduce their service department revenue because EVs need almost no maintenance and are very reliable. But EVs are also harder for them to sell and they don’t understand them well. So, if you want to screw a car salesperson you know what to do!
5. Perceived lack of capability: lots of people are stuck in the petrol station paradigm and believe they need a vehicle with a range the same as their petrol/diesel car, even though they only need to fill up the fossil fuel car every week or two. They also believe they need to be able to recharge it in 5 minutes, even though EVs can be charged overnight, at work, or while at the supermarket. Where do you charge your mobile phone? When do you charge your mobile phone? Answer are the same for an EV!
6. Perceived lack of infrastructure: again, people believe they need to see giant charging stations everywhere before an EV would be practical for them. The fact is people already have all the infrastructure they need right at home, and that there actually are plenty of public charging stations around, they just don’t look like petrol stations. You really only see EV Charging stations when you’re driving an EV, when you drive an EV you see them everywhere!
7. The vast majority of people over-estimate how much driving they actually do. Very few people drive more than 400km (250 miles approx.) in one go on a regular basis and even if they do, safety advice from road safety authorities would suggest they should take a break every 2 hours or so. Perfect time to charge the car and recharge themselves (anyone for a coffee!). The car doesn’t have to be fully charged every time.
8. Vested interest in fossil fuels is significant. The oil industry is most certainly waging a disinformation campaign, not just against EVs themselves, the batteries being bad for the environment myth, but they are even behind the climate science denial movement. I would not say this interference is stopping EV adoption, but it certainly is slowing it down. Que the deniers!
9. Like any new technology, it will take time for EVs to ramp up in acceptance. Cars in particular will take even longer, because they are typically kept for over a long time. But EVs have experienced significant growth since 2011 and are nearing a steep point in the adoption curve. In 3 years, we will see quite significant numbers of EVs being sold, and in 6 years it will most probably be the majority. EV’s are already the majority of cars sold in Norway. So globally, we are not far away!
Fortunately, as more people’s friends, family, co-workers and neighbours drive EV’s, the true story is being told and the positive word of mouth surrounding EV’s is growing. The fact is everyone who drives an EV loves them and would never go back to a petrol/diesel car. EV’s are just better cars!
With the increased up take of electric commercial vehicles such as vans, buses, etc people are driving EV’s at work, experiencing the benefits first-hand and sharing these benefits with colleagues and in many cases converting their personal transport to EV.
That, combined with rapidly falling cost, increasing range, and expanded vehicle segments being covered will cause the adoption curve of EV to grow significantly in the next few years.