Electric cars haven’t been quite as popular as predicted, but experts are hopeful that within the next decade the petrol engine will eventually die out. Virgin magnate Richard Branson is confident that the revolution is on its way, maintaining that within 20 years, “No new road cars will be petrol driven.”
The global switch to electric cars will be largely powered by a worldwide effort to slash carbon emissions, with packages such as Europe’s ’20-20-20’ targets leading the way. At present the transport industry produces 23% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. This gives electric cars serious edge when it comes to winning over consumers determined to combat climate change. An upcoming UN summit in Paris will also discuss climate change, and look at ways the world can manage global warming – electric cars will undoubtedly be a hot topic.
Another factor pushing the popularity of electric cars will be cutting edge new technological developments. Over the next few years manufacturers will use state-of-the-art technology to improve performance, augment run times, boost reliability and of course, refine aesthetics. Manufacturers such as Renault-Nissan are working hard to cut down RRP costs, as well as minimise running and maintenance expenses. Overall, this will make electric vehicles far more appealing to modern drivers.
Government subsidies will also play an important role in fast-tracking the electric car uprising. The construction of charging point networks will be integral to encouraging consumers to make the switch, while financial incentives will rapidly increase adoption rates.
This year industry bosses were also thrilled to see the final of the FIA Formula E all-electric race series go ahead. The event was the world’s first electric supercar rally and helped raise the public image of electric cars across the globe. Carlos Ghosn, the fast-talking head of the Renault-Nissan alliance, explains “Ten years ago people thought that electric cars would never make it, they thought electric cars were like a golf cart, something slow, bulky, not very attractive. Now they see the [Renault] Zoe, the [Nissan] Leaf, the Teslas etc and they think electric cars can be fun. They see Formula E and see the cars can be very powerful and go very fast. The idea that electric cars are normal cars, which is a big revolution from 10 years ago, has taken place.”
For the motor trade industry this means business owners will need to start refocussing on the electric car market and the needs of eco-friendly consumers. Motor trade insurance policies may also need to be adjusted in order to cater for the specialty vehicles.