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The challenges facing the electric car market

To anyone living in our modern age, the idea of an E-Car, or Electric Vehicle, is a relatively new and futuristic concept. We have relied on our gas powered, internal combustion engine equipped cars for so long that we forget that the E-Car has it’s roots in the mid Nineteenth century, where it held the vehicular land speed record until about 1900. The reasons for the car’s decline were many fold, and ultimately the high costs and low top speeds led the public to turn their backs on this manner of transportation. Fast forward to the early 21st century, where dire warnings from the scientific community regarding the impact of fossil fuels led automakers to reconsider their feelings about the E-Car. E-Cars, and Hybrids (A combination of gas and electricity), have boomed in popularity during this time, yet there are still many obstacles that face this revolution in the way we drive. Here are just three of the major challenges facing the Electric Car market today.

Getting Everyone on Board

For those who have driven gas powered vehicles for most of their lives, it’s very difficult to sway their favor towards the new breed of E-Cars. They may be intimidated by the technology, as well as the need to remember to charge at night, or know where supply points are to be found on their route. This has been dubbed, “range anxiety”. To answer these concerns, many countries in Europe, including France, are putting in measures to ensure their populace have incentives to make the switch. They are offering purchasing subsidies and fiscal advantages to E-Car users to help sweeten the deal. So far, measures such as these haven’t been enough for the majority to flip.

Lowering Costs

The amount of capital that it costs an automobile manufacturer to mass produce Electric or Hybrid cars is staggering compared to regular gas powered vehicles. One of the main reasons for this is the cost of battery technology. Battery’s are expensive to make, and when they require costly materials in order to handle the massive charges needed in an E-Car, they become even more expensive to make. Because these vehicles are so expensive to build, it means that consumers will have to dig deep in their pockets to afford them, and we all know consumers like saving money.

Cooperation

There are so many players involved in this resurgence of E-Cars, and many different reasons for their interest. Battery Suppliers, scientists,consumers, Automakers, Governments, the oil industry, they all have a stake in whether or not E-Cars become the mode of transportation of the future, and they need to work together to make this change become a reality. According to www.greenbiz.com, “Automakers must adopt the technologies, government policy must support the R&D risks, and utilities need to build the infrastructure necessary to charge enough EVs to make the risks worth taking”. The risks and costs here are so high that “going it alone” isn’t a particularly glamorous for any of these stakeholders, therefore, serious cooperation is needed by all parties if this technology will in fact replace gas powered transportation.

It’s clear that E-Cars enthusiasts and their Hybrid conterparts are aiming to reshape the way we harness energy for transportation. They have made great inroads, yet they still have a long ways to go before the decline of the gas powered car becomes a reality. If scientists, automakers, and governments can convince the public of the benefits of owning such alternative fueled vehicles, and the industry players can cut costs and encourage cooperation, the E-Car may one day be able to rise above the obstacles they face.

This post was contributed by Joe Webster, who works for A1 Auto Transport.

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