Is a Lack of Cooperation Holding Back the Electric Car Industry?

Is a lack of cooperation holding back the electric car industry?
Is a lack of cooperation holding back the electric car industry?

The very fact that electric vehicles have been around in some shape or form for in excess of 100 years has not gone unnoticed. Yet despite this fact, the electric car industry has still failed to make it to the mass market, although many experts believe it is literally on the verge of doing so. So what is holding back the electric car industry from the mass market?

There is a growing feeling that a lack of cooperation amongst electric car manufacturers, battery manufacturers and indeed the retail sector (not to mention local and federal governments) is holding back the industry.

Electric car technology

The sharing and cooperation between electric car companies is a very difficult subject because many of the larger companies will have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into their technology. Expecting them to share this with their competitors is unreasonable although many companies, such as Tesla, are looking at ways of licensing their own technology to their counterparts.

Until we have a viable solution for this sharing problem, whether via licensing or direct charging, it does seem as though the industry will be held back on the whole while individual companies make great strides forward.

Battery technology

Battery technology is perhaps the most complicated and the most controversial area of the electric car industry. We have a variety of different names vying for top position in the sector and when you see companies such as IBM competing with more traditional battery manufacturer counterparts, it is not difficult to see where the problems start.

Quote from ElectricForum.com : "The US government has not increased the federal gasoline tax since 1993 which will surprise many people. The 18.4c rate per gallon rate today would be 28.97c per gallon (+57%) at the end of 2012 if it had been increased in line with inflation since 1993. While there are other factors to consider such as gasoline related taxes by individual states, is it time to increase the federal gasoline tax and encourage more people to move to electric."

We have a whole array of different battery types in the offing, we have IBM on the verge of a lithium air battery and we have new technology being announced on a regular basis. Some of these technologies could quite literally take the modern-day electric vehicle beyond the 300 mile journey capacity, which many see as the breaking point, if they were in full commercial production.

Government cooperation

There is a growing suspicion that many governments, both federal and local, play great lip service to the electric car industry while on the whole not necessarily supporting it financially. We have an array of incentives for those looking to buy electric vehicles and we have a number of subsidies being forwarded to the electric car industry but these figures are incomparable compared to the income currently received from indirect and direct oil taxes.

The problem is that no one government is willing to break ranks with its overseas counterparts and move lock stock and barrel into the electric car industry. It will take a number of major governments around the world to make this move in tandem before we see any real shift in the electric car industry.

Conclusion

On the surface many different parties play lip service to the electric car industry and a number of the more prominent components of the sector are not working together. Until we see all parties "singing from the same hymn book" it is difficult to forecast with any confidence when the industry will go mass market. However, there is no doubt that the industry is much stronger today than it ever has been and ultimately we have gone too far to fail.