Only six years away

20151219-23133107-Edit-600Six years. Not long after the next general election. That’s the estimate as to when electric cars will become cheaper than their petrol-powered predecessors, from a Bloomberg report quoted by Wired in ‘The Electric Car Revolution Is Now Scheduled for 2022‘. Worth a read.

The estimate makes certain assumptions about continued government support etc, so it may be out by a few years, but the principle is right.

One of the things I love about my car is the simplicity – I have no gearbox, no exhaust system, no oil sump, no cambelt, tappets, head gaskets or piston rings. Mine is also made mostly of aluminium and carbon fibre, so rusting shouldn’t be an issue.

This relative simplicity means that electric cars should be more reliable, longer-lasting and eventually cheaper, but it also raises interesting questions. Things like:

  • When the metals needed for batteries become more important than oil, which countries will we have to be nice to? Or invade?

  • Will the business model of dealers have to change when servicing costs are lower and cars last longer?

  • What will be the thing that causes me to sell this and buy a new car? In the short term, probably the opportunity for increased range, but eventually it may be that my car’s CPUs can’t run the latest version of the BMW operating system?

  • How quickly will the electricity grid and service-station infrastructure be able to change to support a world where transport is predominantly electric, once electric cars become the economically-preferable option, and not just something for enthusiasts like me?

I assume that eventually, every supermarket car park, every park & ride, every pay & display, will have inductive loops in significant numbers of their parking spaces, so you’ll be doing lots of little charges throughout your day without thinking about it, rather than needing to seek out special charging locations. That’s probably the right model for residential streets in cities where there’s no off-street parking, too. But I wonder how the transition will take place.

The great thing is that, right now, installing a charging point for your customers is something that any country pub or B&B can do – a very different proposition from becoming a petrol station. 🙂

2 Comments

It’s already much cheaper for me to run my Fiat 500e than a BMW 5 series!
We still have another petrol-driven car but an EV works just fine for my day to day work. I lease it though, for simplicity and service.

Hi Matt – yes – I think they mean cheaper to purchase, though 🙂

I’m jealous of your 500e, though. Rose would love one of those but I don’t think they’re available over here.

Q

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