While there is much focus upon the electric car industry and the fact that new entrants such as Google, Apple, etc are making waves, what will happen to those traditional car manufacturers who do not move towards electric vehicles? The traditional automobile industry is absolutely enormous but as the switch to electric vehicles continues to gather pace how will this change the marketplace in the future?
Adapt or die?
When you consider that old stalwarts such as General Motors have already switched some of their focus towards electric cars, this just about says everything. There are very few, if any, mainstream automobile manufacturers who have yet to at least dip a toe in the water of the electric vehicle pond. The truth is that those companies who refuse to adapt will eventually be swamped by the new entrants to the industry as the take-up of electric powered vehicles continues to grow.
How long will this take?
We carried out a simple poll just a few days ago which suggested that while the majority of people believe electric cars will eventually become more popular than gasoline/petrol powered vehicles, this could take up to 20 years. The truth is that nobody really knows how long, and this is certainly not definite, the electric car industry will take to overtake the traditional gasoline/petrol vehicle industry.
Let’s not forget that these companies all have a very strong ally in the shape of the oil companies who have been fighting tooth and nail to protect their marketplace going forward. We only need to look back to the EV1 debacle and the constant swirl of rumours suggesting that the oil companies “stuck the knife in”. The truth is that nobody really knows what happened with the infamous EV1 but for whatever reason it was very quickly withdrawn from the marketplace.
There is no doubt that governments around the world have recently supported the electric car industry, with significant grants for consumers and financial assistance for manufacturers. This has been well received but once the general public feel they are being pushed towards this particular mode of transport, as opposed to moving on their own volition, could we see a backlash?
Historically consumers have been reluctant to be pushed in any direction although there does seem to be genuine appetite amongst consumers, and especially the driving community, for electric vehicles and hybrids. So governments and automobile companies around the world will need to tread very carefully as they continue to encourage consumers to switch to electric powered vehicles.
Many people forget that the car industry of today is very different to that of 50 years ago and indeed there is most certainly further change to come. We have seen switches in particular technologies over the years, we have seen consumer trends emerge from nowhere, and it is likely that electric vehicles will become the norm in the future. However, as we touched on above, politicians and electric car manufacturers will need to tread carefully because once consumers feel they are being pushed into a particular corner they may prove to be more reluctant than if they were making the move under their own volition!