While there is no doubt that the electric vehicle market has performed admirably during 2013, what does the future hold for the electric vehicle industry in 2014? As we come to the end of 2013 all eyes are now moving towards next year when many experts believe we will see developments which could change the whole landscape of the electric vehicle market. There are a number of initiatives under the surface, perhaps not grabbing the headlines as you might expect, which could come into play in 2014 and indeed we will be one year nearer an affordable electric vehicle priced around $30,000.
There are very few people who would have guessed that 2013 would be so successful for the worldwide electric vehicle market, especially as the year began on a fairly downward note. Not only did we have a number of setbacks for the industry, with regards to government investments, but the spat between Tesla and the New York Times did nobody any favours.
While the lithium ion battery has been the base upon which the electric vehicle market of today was developed, many experts believe there will be major changes in 2014 and beyond. The general consensus seems to be that lithium ion battery technology has been pushed towards its limits and we will see a whole new range of battery technologies released to the marketplace in the years ahead.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "In what could turn out to be one of the major battery technology events of the last 100 years, Stanford University has announced the creation of the first self-healing battery."
There have been rumours for some time that IBM is on the verge of releasing a battery technology which can do 500 miles per full charge, although there is some confusion about the recharging process. We've also seen the development of "self healing" batteries which basically repair themselves on an ongoing basis which could potentially massively extend their natural life cycle.
Aerodynamics and materials
If there is one area which seems to have slipped below the radar with regards to media coverage it has to be the new materials and aerodynamics present in the modern day electric vehicle. Manufacturers have managed to lighten the weight of these vehicles and improve their safety by introducing an array of new materials, the price of which will only come down in the years ahead.
There is a general feeling that, while great progress has been made with regards to aerodynamics and lighter materials, there are still more efficiencies to be squeezed out of this particular area. Many of the developments which could come online in 2014 are being manufactured under extreme secrecy to ensure that trade secrets are not broadcast to competitors. If there is one company we might expect to bring something special to the market in 2014 it has to be Tesla, although there is no doubt that competitors are now starting to catch up.
While we should see developments in battery technology, aerodynamics, and materials used in the manufacturing of electric vehicles, there are high hopes that general prices will start to fall dramatically as we near the mass market. The industry is still some way off achieving mass-market penetration but the progress made in 2013 has been very encouraging indeed and if we can do the "same again" in 2014, then this would be a huge step forward for the industry.
Make no mistake about it, there are challenges, there are hurdles, and there are issues which need to be addressed but the industry today is further ahead than it has been in any previous attempts to crack the mass-market.