Over the last few years, we have seen the introduction of groundbreaking electric vehicle technology, an increasing number of electric vehicle charging stations, and indeed governments around the world have invested literally billions of dollars into the industry. At this moment in time, take-up of electric vehicles has been disappointing to say the least, although in all honesty the situation has not been helped by the worldwide economic downturn. So, what would tempt you to buy an electric vehicle tomorrow?
Extended journey capacity?
While the Nissan Leaf 2013 is rumoured to be able to do around 140 miles on a full charge, this is perhaps an exception to the rule at this moment in time. The vast majority of good quality and highly efficient electric vehicles are getting anywhere between 80 miles and 100 miles per full charge, but this is not enough for many people. There is a common conception in the U.S. that the 300 mile barrier is the tipping point at which the general public will finally consider electric vehicles en masse, but does this work for you?
The reality is that the technology required to extend the current journey capacity to in excess of 300 miles is not too far away. The industry is developing at lightning quick pace, hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in individual projects and we are slowly making progress to that much sought after tipping point.
Reduced car pricing?
At this moment in time the vast majority of electric vehicles are out with the reach of the general public's budget. Even when you take into account the very generous financial packages available from governments around the world, it is still difficult to justify acquiring a brand-new electric vehicle. There may be more potential in the second-hand electric car market but this is in its infancy and it is difficult to ascertain whether you are getting good value for money.
The reality is that as the electric car industry slowly claws its way towards the mass market we will see prices fall, we will seek new technology becoming more available and this should encourage more take-up of vehicles. It will be interesting to see the pricing tipping point, as it will also be interesting to see the journey capacity tipping point.
Is it the stigma?
Despite the fact there are various issues of concern around electric vehicle market, which we have touched on above, there is still an awful and very negative stigma attached to the industry. Let's not forget that this is an industry which has failed to deliver on numerous occasions in the past, this is an industry which has eaten up significant taxpayer funding and in many ways this is an industry associated with various novelty vehicles. Are these assessments fair?
There is no doubt that the industry today is very different to that of 10 years ago, there is no doubt that governments around the world are on the whole receiving a better return on taxpayer funded investment and the so-called "novelty" factor of years gone by is dead and buried. It will take some time for the stigma to disappear, it will take some time for motorists to forgive the industry for past indiscretions but we should get there in the end.
If we sit back and take a look at the electric car industry in the cold light of day it is not difficult to see why some people are concerned about dipping their toes in the water. However, the fact is that the electric car industry today is very different to that of 10 years ago and unrecognisable to that of 20 years ago. Great progress has been made and more progress is required but the stigma attached to the industry today is a by-product of problems in the past which have been very difficult to shake off.