Why aren’t there more battery electric cars on the road today? As with anything in technology, there are a number of financial, regulatory and technological barriers that need to be overcome before we see widespread adoption of EVs. While we are excited by the prospect of EVs and look forward to their future contribution to mobility solutions, they have some way to go before they become mainstream. Here is why battery electric cars will not reach mass adoption any time soon.
No Standard Batteries For EVs
There are currently no agreed standards for batteries in EVs. This has led many to believe that EVs are not yet ready to take on the mainstream. The market for EVs is currently very small. There are only a handful of EVs on the road today, mainly in the US and China. In many European countries, EVs still do not even make up 1% of the total vehicle fleet.
Lack Of Infrastructure
EVs are a very new technology and therefore require a new infrastructure creation to support them. This includes charging points, dedicated ‘EV lanes’ on busy roads and potentially even a new power grid to support the extra amount of power that EVs use. Roads are a limited resource, meaning that the number of EVs that can use the road will be limited. This is because EVs typically need to be plugged in for the charging process, meaning that for now they are competing for time with conventional cars. Without a sufficient amount of infrastructure in place, EVs may never gain significant market share.
High Cost Of Batteries
EVs have far higher battery costs than conventional cars. The high cost of batteries is another barrier to the mainstream adoption of EVs. Each year, the global market for new battery-powered vehicles is expected to reach just 800,000 vehicles. This is a very small market and will require a high level of investment to reach significant market penetration. This investment would need to be focused on a small number of high-end cars. EVs are dependent on battery technology that is still in its early stages of adoption. Consequently, the cost of the batteries is expected to rise significantly. Many analysts expect the cost of batteries to double every two years. This high level of investment risk may deter some consumers.
Lack Of Public Awareness And Demand
While there is a growing interest in EVs in some countries, particularly in the US, it is still too early to say that EVs have truly taken off. With just 3.4% of all European passenger-car sales currently being EVs, the potential for growth is significant. A lack of awareness of EVs and the benefits that they can provide is the biggest challenge currently facing the market. In order to reach significant levels of adoption, consumers need to be aware of the benefits that EVs can bring. It is essential to provide information about the policies, costs and practicality of EVs when selling them to the public. To reach significant levels of adoption, EVs will have to capture a significant portion of the market share within the next few decades.
Uncertainty Over CO2 Standards For EVs
The growth of EVs is dependent on governments setting and enforcing CO2 standards for EVs. The uncertainty over the future of the current CO2 standards is a significant barrier that must be overcome. With the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, governments are demanding stronger CO2 standards for EVs to reduce the risk of consumers being misled. However, the exact composition of these standards is not yet clear. If governments set weak standards, consumers may not be interested in EVs and they will not achieve significant market penetration. Stronger standards, on the other hand, are likely to be too expensive for many consumers. A compromise between these two extremes would be beneficial to the growth of EVs.
EVs are an exciting new technology that is still in its early stages of adoption. The lack of standard batteries, the high cost of batteries, the lack of infrastructure, the low level of awareness and the uncertainty over the future of CO2 standards are all barriers to the mainstream adoption of EVs. These barriers must be overcome for EVs to reach significant levels of market penetration. They may not reach this point for another 10–20 years. With this in mind, it is important that governments and industries start preparing for the future of mobility by investing in charging infrastructure and educating the public on the benefits of EVs.
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