Convenience: The True Challenge of Electric Vehicle Adoption
Factors Encouraging Electric Vehicle Adoption
With fires across the western United States, historically dangerous hurricanes in the Caribbean and flooding in South Asia, the conversation regarding climate change has ramped up in recent months. It’s difficult to point towards natural disasters in one calendar year as proof of climate change, but their impact is enough to cause worry. Luckily, the Paris Agreement signed last year aiming to reduce carbon emissions is set to begin in earnest by 2020.
But automobile makers are already seeing the effects. The Paris Agreement’s emphasis on cleaner cars has car companies focusing on hybrid and electric technologies. It’s paying off, too – hybrid and electric car sales are growing as prices come down and more diverse models hit the market. Volvo has even pledged that their entire line of cars will be electric or hybrids by 2019.
This comes in conjunction with more countries pledging to move away from petroleum. The United Kingdom and France have set their goal date for 2040. Norway and India are intending even quicker deadlines of 2025 and 2030 respectively.
Why Convenience is a Problem
A large majority of consumers though are still wary of fully embrace electric cars. Their wariness is understandable, too. Electric vehicles are still more costly up front as the technology is still emerging. Charging stations are not prevalent in most places and charging times are inconvenient when compared to how long it takes to gas up and get going.
There’s a huge fear of what happens if the battery dies as well. Electric cars are starting to get similar mileage to what you could get on a full tank of gas, but what happens when there’s no charging station to be found? Running out of gas isn’t nearly as catastrophic as an electric car running out of juice – you can normally find a nearby gas station, fill up a can, and get back going.
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If an electric vehicle runs out, you’re calling a tow truck.
There’s also the issue of what types of models are being offered. Most electric cars are smaller, sedan-sized cars. That leaves a swath of car buyers who prefer SUVs or trucks for their everyday needs without a realistic electrical option.
Change is Coming – Quickly
The good news is that these limitations are rapidly receiving solutions. On one front, manufacturers are developing more efficient processes for creating lithium-ion batteries with larger ranges, lowering the cost per kilowatt hour and enabling further travel. Electrical options will continue becoming cheaper as the efficiency continues to improve.
Charging is a huge inconvenience in the minds of most shoppers – but that won’t always be the case. Car manufacturers and tech companies are teaming up to create wireless vehicle charging options. Though the speed and efficiency aren’t quite up to par with plug-in charging just yet, portable wireless options allow the ability to charge up wherever there’s electricity available.
An Israeli company called StoreDot is looking to dramatically lower charging times as well. The company recently unveiled their new FlashBattery technology which they say can charge an electric car in just five minutes. That’s a dramatic improvement on the 75 minutes of a Tesla Supercharger station. They also claim their battery is safer than the lithium-ion batteries found in most electric vehicles; it’s constructed from proprietary organic compounds and nanotechnology.
Another option seems pulled straight from a sci-fi movie: Roads that charge your car as you drive. Earlier this year, Qualcomm unveiled their dynamic electrical vehicle charging system in the form of a 100-meter test track. The kicker here is that your car charges as you drive on the road. Though it isn’t expected that this will be a major player in the short-term due to the cost of installing the infrastructure, this technology could eventually allow autonomous charging that eliminates the need to manually charge at all.
How’s that for convenience?
The Future is Now
In short, improvements in the field of electric vehicles is a near certainty. With so many legal and social agendas pushing for alternatives to combustion engines, electric vehicle technology is moving forward in leaps and bounds. And this isn’t something that’s waiting for us in the future – these breakthroughs are happening right now.
We’re rapidly approaching the tipping point in electric vehicle technology. The keys for the average consumer adopting electric vehicles as an attractive option are price and convenience. But now that financial costs are lowering – and innovations for convenience and ease of use are being made – soon electric vehicle options will undeniably become the most attractive ones on the market.
This guest post was written by Samantha Tung from Caliber Collision.