Despite the fact that Nissan has been forced to push back its initial target to sell 1.5 million electric vehicles by March 2017, the company is unconcerned about the likes of Toyota and Honda which are scheduled to release fuel cell powered vehicles to the market in 2015. There has been speculation that fuel cell technology will become a major element of the future transport market but so far these hopes have been dashed and there are enormous barriers to entry.
So far the combine Nissan Renault group has sold around 120,000 electric vehicles over the last three years. Due to a mixture of slower technology development, and issues with recharging services, initial hopes for 2017 have been dashed. However the company is adamant that electric vehicles are the future and has ridiculed rival plans to focus upon the fuel cell market.
EV recharging infrastructure
While there is no doubt that electric vehicle technology has been relatively slow to develop prior to the last two years, there is also no doubt that recharging issues are in some ways holding back the sector. It will be interesting to see developments on the charging front in the short to medium term with rumours of new technology, new infrastructure systems and with the likes of Tesla pushing ahead with ground-breaking technology and services Would you really bet against electric vehicles hitting the mass market?
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "In many ways car companies around the world have invested too much money to turn back now and the electric vehicle market is set to grow significantly even against the backdrop of a very difficult worldwide economic situation."
The number of recharging stations is set to increase enormously in the short term and indeed the U.S. government has invested an enormous amount of money in battery technology companies. In many ways governments around the world have come too far with regard to financial incentives and we will see a growing push for more electric vehicles in the short to medium term.
Infrastructure problems for fuel cell vehicles
Ironically, many of the issues which are holding back the electric vehicle market may well emerge to hold back the fuel cell industry. Even though fuel cell vehicles will in theory recharge much quicker than their electric vehicle counterparts, as things stand today, and have a significantly longer journey capacity, their recharging requirements are very different.
While electric vehicles can be charged from home as well as charging stations the fuel cell industry will revolve around filling stations. Indeed when you bear in mind that hydrogen refilling stations will cost around $6 million each this would take a massive upfront investment in what is still a relatively young and relatively risky technology. For a far lower investment and on the surface, far less risk, an investment of this magnitude in the electric vehicle market would go much further.
As we know, the electric vehicle industry has been around in some shape or form for around 100 years. It has taken some time to develop the technology (and battery development has been even slower) but the sector has made great strides over the last few years. The fact that Nissan Renault has publically ridiculed rival plans for fuel cell vehicles shows the confidence they have in the EV market despite having to put back initial sales targets.
If we were to see a major breakthrough in the recharging/battery technology industry this would take the EV sector onto a different level. Does Nissan Renault know something that we don't know yet?