While this is a question which nobody thought we would be asking in 2013, we have seen a constant launch of new electric vehicles. Even though the number is still minuscule compared to the traditional gasoline/petrol market, there are concerns that perhaps price, as opposed to performance and technology, is grabbing the headlines.
Over the last couple of weeks we have seen the likes of Chevrolet reduce the cost of its Chevrolet Volt by $5000, we have seen the Honda Fit EV sellout due to its relatively cheap leasing price and earlier this year we saw Nissan reduce the cost of the Nissan Leaf 2013. Cost is starting to become a factor, but is it too early for the electric vehicle sector to become so crowded?
A wider choice means more potential customers
The days when Tesla Motors was dictating the direction and the price of electric vehicles seems to have fallen by the wayside with the likes of Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, etc now making a play for the industry. The fact is that when Tesla was the main element of the electric vehicle market it attracted a specific type of client which was not necessarily suitable for an assault on the mass market.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "As an owner of a 2013 Volt I would be happy to answer any questions (as best I can) about the Volt, how it operates and my experience with it."
The introduction of an array of new electric vehicles over the last few months has certainly caught many people by surprise and while not everybody fully understands the technology, journey capacity, etc., associated with EV's, interest is growing. We need to see some standard performance statistics, some standard technology comparisons and also highlight journey capacity so that future EV owners are able to make an educated choice.
The market is polarising
The polarisation of the electric vehicle market has already begun, despite the fact that worldwide sales are still minuscule compared to their traditional fuel counterparts. We've seen the likes of Ford, General Motors, Nissan, etc., looking towards the mass market, while the likes of Tesla, BMW and Audi are happier to keep prices high and offer higher quality and higher spec machines.
The reality is that there can never be too much choice in a growing and popular consumer market because this is very healthy and will lead to price competition both now and in the future. Indeed we are starting to see some reductions in ticket prices which are catching the eye of many would-be EV enthusiasts who were perhaps scared off earlier by the relatively high prices.
Good progress but more needs to be done
There has been good progress in nearly every area of the electric vehicle industry, from basic electric vehicle drive shafts to battery capacity and from weight and safety aspects to recharging systems. Neither of these particular areas is running at full capacity with further progress expected in the short to medium term and potentially enormous changes in the longer term.
It will be interesting to see whether an array of new popular EVs emerge to take on the likes of Tesla and if those manufacturers associated with traditional fuel mass-market vehicles become the headline act. Choice is good for consumers in the long-term but there needs to be ongoing education of worldwide motorists so that they know exactly what electric vehicles have to offer and there are no misconceptions.