Is the end nigh for diesel and petrol cars?
Support for electric vehicles is building but there are some substantial barriers to mass adoption.
It seems we are driving ever faster towards a future where all diesel and petrol cars will be replaced by electric or hybrid vehicles.
Farewell to the internal combustion engine?
Another indicator of this shift came earlier this month when Jaguar Land Rover became the latest large carmaker to say it will include electrified vehicle options in all it ranges from 2020.
The company’s announcement followed in the wake of a similar pledge from Volvo earlier in the summer.
At the same time, the Government has proposed a ban on the sale of all petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 onwards, as part of a move to tackle air pollution.
But Dutch bank ING recently predicted that the move to electric cars will happen sooner, saying it believed that all new cars sold in Europe will be electric within less than two decades, as government subsidies and falling battery costs make the vehicles more attractive to consumers.
Enough charging points?
But while there is considerable momentum behind the green car industry – what is the likelihood of the UK being free of cars powered by the internal combustion engine within the time spans mentioned above?
One point to consider is that despite all the headlines garnered by electric vehicles, they still currently make up a very small proportion of cars on the road.
Although over the last four years new registrations of plug-in cars have increased from 3,500 in 2013 to more than 107,000 by the end of July 2017, electric cars still only represent around 1.7% of the total new car market in the UK.
Where will the electricity come from?
Another potential barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles is the lack of public charging points for electric vehicles. At the moment charging points can be found at over 4,000 locations throughout the UK with around 300 being added each month but there are still concerns about how long it will take to build an infrastructure to cater for a mass take-up of plug-ins.
A recent survey found that half of drivers are put off buying an electric car because they fear running out of power and being unable to find a working charging point.
But should all drivers adopt electric or hybrid cars, there are also concerns over where we will find the extra electricity from. Some reports say the country would need to find an additional 50% of electricity from a current peak of 61GW – the equivalent of almost 10 nuclear power stations – to meet the demand.
These are massive questions that require a clear government strategy, technological break-throughs and business innovation, if the majority of people are to adopt plug-ins anytime soon. We look forward to following developments with interest.
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