The 1990s saw a new era in the field of electric cars with Chrysler, Ford, GM and Honda all competing to make its name known in this new niche market. Currently, the present scenario is one where Toyota, Nissan and Tesla are creating electric cars that are truly taking this market to the next level. These companies are giving more ease, comfort, benefits and value for the money that customers of electric cars are truly enjoying. We have really come a long way.
It was Tesla, the brainchild of Elon Musk, that first revolutionized electric cars with the Tesla roadster in 2008. Since then, there have been several cars that the market has enjoyed. There is Nissan with its Leaf, Tesla with its S and X, BMW with its activeE and iSeries, Renault with its Fluence ZE and Zoe, Honda Fit, Toyota RAV4 EV, Chevrolet Spark, Fiat 500e, Volkswagen e-Up! and e-Golf, Kia with Soul EV and Mercedes with its B-Class Electric Drive. The list is getting bigger and bigger as time goes on.
Tesla plans to bring out Model 3 which, the company claims will be by far the most successful electric car it has released as it will be competing with all conventional cars in that price segment. Currently, the company is taking orders for the car and will be delivering shortly. Enthusiasts have ordered more than 300,000 models with a token money deposit. The Renault-Nissan Alliance who have managed to sell more than 300,000 electric cars already still leads the pack though.
The numbers are promising, no doubt, but how much significance do they carry? How fast are we advancing towards the future where all cars, which supposedly is in the hundreds of millions, are driven by electricity? What are the factors that act as hurdles to slow down the growth of this necessary revolution and how can we speed it up?
Let’s have a look at price. When compared to conventional cars powered by internal combustion engines, electric cars are more expensive. The majority of the cost come from the battery pack that gives power to the electric motor of the the car. Modern cars are using lithium-ion battery packs and with mass production manufacturers are managing to reduce the cost of the batteries at a steady rate. Soon we can expect battery packs to sell at a fraction of the cost that they are being sold for now and that will help to solve a major issue. Different companies have also found different answers to this battery pack problem. For example, Tesla, the company that is one of the leading producers of electric cars has resorted to another solution that is working perfectly. Instead of creating a dedicated type of battery for powering cars, they use conventional batteries that are used to power laptops and other mobile electronic gadgets. They are more compact in size and have cut cost up to 75%.
This has brought a huge change in the automotive scenario as other companies are following suit too and now, the current cost of many battery packs are presently $300-350 per kilowatt/hour compared to $1200 per kilowatt/hour in 2007. Economists all over the world see this a good sign. With this steady decline of price in the battery industry, soon we will see electric cars priced cheaper than conventional internal combustion engine powered cars and then let’s hope that we see an all out onslaught of these types of vehicles on our roads.