With almost all of the major car manufacturers (and Harley Davidson) announcing that they are investing in new EV development, the future of transportation has officially been claimed by electric vehicles. The real questions now are when the transition from combustion vehicles will be complete and why this is spectacular news for the consumer and the world as a whole. These are some of the benefits of the major manufacturers joining the electric revolution.
With the powerhouses of automotive R&D moving to electric, the first major developments will have to be in battery technology. Electric motors are already very efficient and the rest of the components used in electric cars are essentially the same as the combustion engined vehicles rolling around our roads in the present day. The race to develop lighter, faster charging, cheaper and more energy dense battery cells will be what will ultimately sell vehicles and be the best way to get an advantage over other manufacturers. This technology will revolutionise almost everything we use on a daily basis with smartphones and laptops that can last weeks between charges rather than the hours or maybe days they currently achieve. Home energy storage that will allow buildings to stay off the grid for long enough to make power cuts a thing of the past without spending the huge sums of money required today.
The biggest hurdles that EVs have to jump at the moment are range, charging times and price. With a larger uptake in EVs, companies will be able to scale accordingly and with greater numbers sold, the prices will start to come down. As next generation batteries, controllers and electric motors reach the market, the older technology will become cheaper or be phased out for lower cost, newer technology. With cheaper new vehicles being sold at higher rates, the used vehicle markets for EVs will start to establish and allow consumers who would never consider getting a new vehicle to get their hands on a preowned electric vehicle. Used EVs will really start to help out with the lower income consumers with their lower running costs which will allow the saved money that would have originally been spent on maintenance and fuel to be spend elsewhere to increase their spending power and help reduce the burden of transport costs.
With China spending vast sums of money developing electric drivetrains and starting to offer lower priced EVs, the worlds big car and motorcycle manufacturers are going to have to provide a reasonably priced alternative to even have a chance of retaining
As the world moves to EVs and away from filling stations, owning a hydrogen vehicle will become completely impractical. At the moment, the majority of vehicles on the road rely on fossil fuels which keep the filling stations alive. Once EVs become the major form of transportation, these filling stations will die out and with that, the whole tedious endeavour of having to go to a fuel station will become a thing of the past. Why would a consumer want to actively find a fuel station to fill up their vehicle with fuel when they can just plug it in at home or on the street? Hydrogen vehicles will always be stuck using fuel stations and have to pay so much more money for fuel than just getting energy straight from the electricity grid. Why would a company spend money developing a product that costs more money to run, produce and has a considerably lower market appeal? The one reason companies had to develop hydrogen drivetrains was to build their ‘green image’ and show they are developing alternative energy vehicles but if they are able to concentrate on BEVs then what is the point in wasting money on hydrogen R&D?
This is a no brainer as with no emissions, no smog and pollution in our cities. The way this will help in the short term is that with the increased options for consumers to buy EVs, governments are taking notice and banning combustion engined vehicles from cities so although many European countries have banned the sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles from around 2030 onwards, the inner-city bans are coming much faster. Cleaner air means less smog dirtying up buildings and our surroundings so our cities will need less cleaning as an added bonus.
We are at a point where renewable energy is cheaper to build than fossil fuel electricity generation so as the grid grows to meet the demands of electric transportation, it will be renewables that will be providing that extra juice. As the older coal and gas power stations shut down, they are replaced by renewables. Also a big chunk of the pollution countries generate comes from electricity production so this is something governments are looking for ways to cut down on so the expiry date on these old fossil fuel power plants is getting closer at a faster rate.
I am very excited to see more EVs on the road and with Harley Davidson investing in Alta motors, even the die-hard combustion guys are seeing the light. The future looks bright with cleaner, quieter and less toxic cities on the horizon.
By: Connor McRae
We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!