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The sharp decline in the cost of batteries is driving optimism for the future of the electric car.
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, electric vehicles (EVs) are here to stay. Even more, they are going to become cheaper (a purchase price and maintenance cost) than conventional vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2022.
Switching over to electric vehicles is expected to solve probably the biggest ecological issue – carbon emissions – that causes dangerous climate change and shortens lives of many people living in big cities. But in spite of government-initiated subsidies, electric cars are still unaffordable for many people because of both the high price and unreadiness of their cities to serve such cars.
Tyres-outlet.co.uk explains what the main obstacles to popularising EVs, which make up only one percent of all cars sold today, are. Electric vehicles are more energy-dependent than conventional vehicles. One battery recharge gives you 100-150 miles before you need to stop for the next recharge.
Despite government-initiated subsidies, electric cars are still unaffordable for many people
We are talking about the “flagships” on the UK’s market – Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S and the hybrid vehicle (which has both conventional and electric engines) Chevrolet Volt.
Only Tesla claims its electric sports car is able to over 330 miles without recharging. This is, anyway, a very modest result in comparison with conventional petrol or diesel vehicles which are able to run up to 500 miles without refilling.
Although the UK is a conveniently small country to be cruised on the electric vehicle, such energy-dependency puts the question about ubiquitous charging points point-blank.
Electric vehicles require a dense net of charging points
Yesterday, people who bought electric cars such as Nissan Leaf were families with children who lived in houses with off-street parking.
To make other people “want” an electric car, charging points must become ubiquitous as petrol stations are today. On deciding on whether to buy an EV or not, a prospective owner must be sure they will find a charging point at their workplace, railway station, shopping centre, hotel, and so on. First efforts are already made in this direction.
For instance, we see the Kensington and Chelsea council helping the local energy company to co-operate with a German company for installing charging sockets in the street lamps. But there is still so much to do to enable uninterrupted electric car servicing.
Electricity is cheaper than petrol, but EVs are more expensive than petrol cars
Electric cars are cheaper in the long run. Travelling in an EV is four to five times cheaper than if you were travelling the same distance by a car that uses petrol or diesel. But the upfront costs are higher. Many people aren’t able to afford the purchase of an EV.
This fact made electric car manufacturers think about selling their cars with an option to lease a battery.
Such option actually reduces the cost of, say, Nissan Leaf by £5000. But as the cost of lithium-ion batteries keeps declining (it has already collapsed by more than 60% since 2010), the situation won’t be the same for a long time, and electric vehicles will soon become easily affordable.