The future of Cars
As environmental awareness is taking hold of the world, with countries introducing road taxes and Eco-taxes on cities and countries, Eco-vehicles should be an attractive alternative to petrol and diesel fueled cars. This should be especially true in the biggest and most populated cities, (bad pollution in Beijing even led to the fabrication of stories about pollution being so bad that the sunrise was played on screens across the city just so that people know it is daytime, this was not true but it raised important issues about pollution in the city).
According to ChinaAuto, electric vehicle (EV) sales in China rose by 37.9% in 2013, leading to the assumption that people are becoming more Eco-friendly, wanting to take care of their environment. But the number of plug-in EV’s sold in China, barely scratches the surface of the total number of vehicles sold (of the 21.98 million new vehicle sales only 17,600 vehicles made were plug-in EV’s), and with the population booming across the world, these figures seem low.
Electric Car sales in Europe are currently quite strong looking at the percentages – but the actual sales are, as with China, relatively small, with only 38,617 sales of battery and plug-in hybrids. This is up from previous years, although not by much. Despite the exemption from road taxes and the good feeling people get when doing something good for the environment, sales of Eco-cars are surprisingly low. This may be due to a number of factors.
Firstly, most people would expect the cost of the car to be cheaper than their petrol and diesel counterparts, but this is not true, as they often cost up to twice as much, even after government subsidies in some countries.
Secondly, people have fears about how far an electric car can run before needing to be recharged, and also, worry about recharge time.
Thirdly, there is still a distinct lack of charging facilities available, so it may simply be a fear of being stranded with nowhere nearby to recharge that is preventing people from buying Eco-cars.
It seems that sales of electric cars are directly linked to the amount of subsidies and road tax exemptions each government allows. Holland and Norway are two of the highest selling countries of EV’s and they are also the most generous with subsidies, road tax exemption, free toll roads, free parking, and using the bus lanes. People want the best they can get for as little as possible, so countries such as Germany, where the government does not subsidise EV’s and appear to be lagging behind countries such as Holland and Norway.
Unfortunately, being good for the environment does not seem to be a very important factor in most people’s decisions when buying cars, and while most would probably admit that it would be nice to drive around guilt free, they like to stick to what they know and trust.
However, the innovation of electric, hybrid and fuel cell cars is still in its infancy, and with every New Year surprises will be in store. And with this age’s fascination for new technology, and society’s need to have the newest gadgets, it may just be a matter of waiting. So maybe in years to come, electric cars will be the only cars on the roads.
The QRi team x