The NMA Foundation presents The Car of the Future weekly feature:
Two weeks ago in this blog I asked the question Is this the Dawn of the Electric Vehicle Revolution? Since that time three major automakers announced electric dreams of some pretty epic proportions.
General Motors believes in an “all-electric future.” The biggest American automaker said that in the next 18 months, the company will introduce two new all-electric vehicles and plans to launch 18 more models by 2023.
New CEO Jim Hackett recently announced that Ford will cut $14 billion in costs to focus on SUVs, trucks and electric vehicles (EVs). Ford has already found electric partners in China and India.
In September, Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi announced their joint venture on electric cars. The group plans to launch 12 new all-electric vehicles within five years. Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn unveiled earlier this month Renault’s new Drive the Future plan that will launch eight of those all-electric vehicles planned for the alliance.
Automakers obviously are beginning to see dollar signs when it comes to the manufacturing and selling of electric vehicles especially when the world’s largest market China plans to go all electric before many other European countries. Paris officials announced that they will ban all gas and diesel cars by 2030 (the rest of France by 2040) and the Netherlands is now thinking about doing the same. California lawmakers announced late last month that they are considering writing a bill to ban gas and diesel cars by 2040.
But not all automakers agree with the acceleration of the electric car revolution. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO Sergio Marchionne said recently in a speech to an Italian University that he believes EVs are more of a threat to the planet than a potential savior and governments should stop forcing them on the buying public. He added that this government action to spur electric car sales prematurely without first making sure the energy source is clean, will endanger the planet by increasing CO2 levels. He is worried about the lifetime impact of EV batteries which has not yet been properly vetted. Marchionne also mentioned that for every electric Fiat 500 he sells in the U.S., FCA loses about $20,000 per car.
There are many issues with electric cars which have nothing to do with price or even range. Charging time, not enough charging stations, incompatible industry charging devices and power grid capacity are all issues that do not yet have solutions which would help make EVs economically viable for the consumer.
And that is the big question that not everyone is asking—will consumers even want to go electric?
Many experts are now saying that by the year 2040, over half of all new car sales will be electric.
For some car buyers, government incentives such as those in California are an attractive element in owning an EV. What if though, that incentive was so no longer available?
The most progressive electric car country in the world might soon find out. Norway announced this week in order to trim their budget, electric vehicles that weigh over 2000 tonnes (primarily Teslas) might lose their government subsidy. Norway leads the world with 29 percent of all new car registrations for fully electric or plug-in hybrids. Petter Haugneland of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association told Reuters that, “Norway is gambling with the electric car market.”
When subsidies die off, will consumers still pay for electric vehicles?
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NMA’s Flipboard Magazine called Car of the Future—Over 50 stories are placed each month in this magazine devoted to the Car of the Future. Stories featured include future car politics, industry news and thought pieces.
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