In a move which was fully expected but nevertheless has caught the attention of motoring websites around the world, General Motors has today confirmed that electric motors for its new Chevrolet Spark EV will be built at the company's Baltimore plant. The company has already received significant financial assistance from the US authorities and is now starting to build momentum within the electric vehicle industry.
Looking to the future
We all know the infamous quote from President Obama when he was a presidential candidate back in 2008 when he targeted 1 million electric vehicles on US highways by 2015. He will be sadly short of this target but there does seem to be a head of steam building up in the electric vehicle industry and General Motors vice president Mike Robinson is certainly confident that the tide is turning.
While there is no doubt that sales to date have been very disappointing the truth is, as we have mentioned on numerous occasions, the economic climate in the US and indeed around the world is not perfect. The US government is fighting to control its federal budget, Europe has been on the verge of collapse and without the assistance of Latin American countries the worldwide economic situation would be worse. When you also take into account the relatively high cost of electric vehicles, even when taking in various government financial incentives, it has very much been a steep hill for the industry to climb.
Could the Californian authorities have a big say in the industry?
There is a sea change in the automobile industry and much of this has been prompted by legislative changes in California in particular. Indeed a number of automobile manufacturers are effectively being "prompted" to create zero emission vehicles by the authorities. As a consequence, there are significantly more electric vehicles set to be launched in 2013/14 than we have seen for some time.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "I am very interested in GM's micro-car entry the Spark. It looks like the Nissan Leaf will now have direct competition. I will have to compare these two some more. The late 2013 debute will only be in limited quantities and only in California & Oregon. I hope it makes it to all 50 states soon."
While there is no doubt that the technology associated with electric vehicles does work, it does need to be improved, but there is certainly a market for the current technology today. In many ways these legislative changes across the US, and in other areas of the world, will assist the industry in promoting itself to the wider general public. Many experts believe that one of the major problems with the electric car industry is public ignorance of what is actually on offer.
What next for the electric car industry?
If we take a step back and look at all of the factors which are currently impacting the electric car industry, we can see financial incentives for motorists, financial incentives for manufacturers and indeed many governments around the world are actually using electric vehicles today. As the technology continues to develop, at a pace not seen for many years, it is quickly becoming more acceptable to the traditional motorist although we are still missing that "magic ingredient" to tempt people to try this new technology.
The likelihood is that long-term interest in the EV industry will emanate from the likes of the US and perhaps the Far East and then the likes of Europe, Latin America, etc will follow. The US government and the Chinese authorities have certainly set their stalls out in this particular area after making significant funding available to local companies.