Over the last hundred years or so there has been much speculation about when, or indeed if, electric vehicles would hit the mass market. We have got to a stage where forecast mass-market penetration is often discounted because we have had so many failures and so many letdowns in years gone by. However, a study published by the Electrification Coalition suggests that 2017 could be the year for the electric car market - according to a number of companies focused solely upon electric vehicle development.
There are a number of factors to take into account when looking at the electric vehicle market and the potential for the future. We have already seen, and continue to see, a reduction in lithium ion battery prices and the introduction of new technologies in the medium term should greatly enhance journey capacity. The EV market is growing at roughly 3 times the rate which the hybrid market experienced during its first three years of introduction (the report assumes that the EV market only really took off in January 2011).
There have also been some very successful launches over the last year or so with the Tesla Model S grabbing a very impressive 8.4% of the luxury car market in its first six months. We also have the Nissan Leaf making great strides in the wider market and the promise of an affordable electric vehicle from Tesla has also caught the headlines (coincidentally forecast for 2017).
What could go wrong?
At this moment in time the electric vehicle market is making great strides and does look set to hit the mass market sooner rather than later. One issue which will need to be addressed at some stage is the generous financial incentives offered by governments around the world because while these will help kickstart the market they cannot last forever. It is unlikely that governments around the world will remove these financial incentives in the short to medium term, at least until the industry is able to stand on its own two feet, and compete on natural price and running costs compared to gasoline/diesel counterparts.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "There have been ideas, rumors and actual prototypes of new technology emerge over the years. What type of new transport technology would you like to see?"
The electric vehicle market that we see today is very different to that of any time in the past and the large amount of money invested by governments, private businesses and motorists is a massive vote of confidence. Many of these groups have invested far too much money to pullout now just when the industry is looking to break into the big time. There is always the risk of another technology arriving to displace the electric vehicle model but this looks highly unlikely and we are more likely to see further development of the electric vehicle ideal in the future.
It is interesting to see that 2017 is the year which many companies involved in the EV industry believe the sector will go mass-market. This is also around the time that Tesla plans to bring out an affordable electric vehicle for the masses and, with the company's name and reputation, this alone will have a major impact upon sentiment and sales. It will be interesting to see if development of the electric vehicle market continues at its current impressive pace and whether indeed it does manage to crack the mass-market within four years.