A recent survey amongst U.S. motorists has cast a very interesting light on the future of the electric car market in America. The majority of those questioned suggested that they would not even look at an electric vehicle until the journey capacity on a full battery charge was at least 300 miles. While this would appear on the surface to be some way off, perhaps we are not as far away from that tipping point into the mass market?
Current electric car journey capacity
The Nissan Leaf 2013 is set to be launched in markets around the world and is rumoured to have a journey capacity of just over 140 miles on a full charge. This is significantly greater than the vast majority of electric cars available today. However, when you bear in mind that the average motorist will not do any more than 80 miles per day there are perhaps more electric cars out there suitable for the current motoring environment?
Over the years we have seen electric car companies spending billions of dollars on electric car technology, often leaving behind battery technology, which is becoming ever more important. However, thankfully we have seen the U.S. government, U.S. car manufacturers and indeed those in the Far East, investing more money in battery technology over the last 12 months. There is a suggestion that battery technology could come on in leaps and bounds over the next 12 to 24 months and we could see a significant extension in the current electric car journey capacity.
The trust factor
The 300 mile barrier which many U.S. motorists mentioned when surveyed about electric cars does on the surface seem to be excessive, especially when you bear in mind the average motorist does no more than 80 miles per day. However it basically comes down to the trust factor; the confidence that you will have additional capacity available at all times in excess of what you probably require.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "Could we see the price of petrol/gasoline dictating whether individual country electric car sectors are successful?"
If we were to see a significant push in the area of electric car charging stations then some motorists may well soften their 300 mile target if they were able to charge along the way. Historically, there have also been concerns about the extended time required to fully charge a battery, although technology in this particular area has improved dramatically of late and there are number of "quick charge" options emerging.
How long before we see a 300 mile journey capacity?
It is difficult to say exactly when we will break the 300 mile journey capacity on a full charge but there is no doubt that progress is being made. If we get anywhere near this level we are likely to see a significant increase in the number of electric vehicles sold in the U.S., and indeed around the world, and this improving trust factor will spread very quickly amongst motorists and consumers.
There is some speculation that the electric car industry would be further ahead were it not for the worldwide economic downturn, but nevertheless progress is certainly being made.