In years gone by governments around the world have often been criticised for not investing significant time, money, and effort into the electric vehicle market. Indeed there have always been rumours of government interference in the electric vehicle market at the behest of the oil companies. However that was then and this is now, with many governments offering significant financial incentives to those looking to purchase an electric vehicle.
While there is no doubt that this strategy of financial incentives has been very successful in converting drivers from diesel/gasoline vehicles to electric powered vehicles, are these incentives basically preaching to the converted?
Is it sensible targeting the mass market?
When you consider the size of the gasoline/diesel vehicle market, it is perhaps no surprise that many governments around the world have targeted the mass market. On paper this seems like the quickest way to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road and is literally a case of throwing enough darts to hit the target. However there is an argument that financial incentives for the mass-market are literally handing financial assistance to those who are already converted in their mind towards electric vehicles.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "At this moment in time there are various financial incentives available from governments around the world, but how much would you be willing to spend of your own money on an electric vehicle?"
If you sit back and look at your own situation, would financial assistance in acquiring an electric vehicle be a deal breaker if you are looking to convert from a traditional automobile? The likelihood is that in order to even research and look at the financial incentives available you would partly in your mind have already decided to go for this new type of vehicle. Therefore, many critics will have you believe that the financial incentives available today are being wasted on those who were already going to acquire an electric vehicle.
Targeting niche markets
There is a growing movement for governments to look at niche markets such as taxis, business fleets, etc., where there is the potential for a significant reduction in air pollution and other negative aspects associated with traditional powered vehicles. When you consider that business users will drive many more miles per annum than traditional motorists perhaps there is an argument for targeting these niche markets?
When you also take into account the number of taxis on the roads today, again, this is a target market which seems to make common sense. Taxi drivers, along with business users, could also become a very interesting advertising strategy for the wider mass-market. If you were to see a number of taxis and business fleet vehicles using electric power, day in day out, would give you confidence in the sector going forward and may even prompt you to consider switching yourself?
Financial incentives cannot last forever
There is a growing concern that electric vehicle financial incentives are helping the industry in the short term but could cause major problems in the long term. Once these financial incentives are switched off, as they cannot last forever, where does this leave the main market? Is there enough momentum to continue the switch to electric vehicles or would demand slip back and the industry start going in reverse?