The concept of the electric car has existed for decades. However, it was not until recent times that production methods have made them affordable to the average consumer. As nations are continuing to look for alternative methods to fossil fuels, electric vehicles are quickly taking centre stage. However, what might the coming years have in store? What is the future of electric vehicles and are the targets proposed by the United Kingdom realistic?
The 2040 Cut-Off Date
The United Kingdom has plans in place to ban the sale of all petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles by the year 2040 (1). While this date may seem far off, this is not necessarily the case from an industry perspective. Indeed, factories have already begun incorporating such an eventuality into their production plans. The real question is whether or not this ban could eventually be rolled back to 2030. In order to make an informed observation, it is important to look at some key statistics.
A Growing and Inevitable Trend
The past few years have seen a massive increase in regards to the number of plug-in vehicles present within the United Kingdom. According to statistics released in January 2018, this figure currently stands at more than 155,000 (2). It is also interesting to note that this represents (roughly) 2.1 per cent of all vehicles sold within the domestic marketplace. There are 75 different plug-in models available and such a trend will only increase as more companies seek to tap into this niche sector. What does this say about the future of these vehicles in general?
Will All Cars be Electric in the Future?
This is an interesting question and one which most consumers will eventually ask themselves. However, the future of electric vehicles might not be as black and white as you would initially expect. There are a few important reasons for this observation.
First and foremost, not all nations possess the infrastructure to host massive fleets of electric vehicles. This is particularly relevant when referring to regions such as Africa and Asia. We also need to keep in mind that a ban in 2040 only prevents the production of new petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles. In other words, older models will likely remain on the road for decades thereafter unless these are also included in the ban.
Ambitious Plans Indeed
It is more reasonable to assume that we will witness a slower shift as 2040 approaches; perhaps beginning with a higher prevalence of hybrid units. Some experts even feel that the 2040 date should be moved back to 2030 in order to meet climate change stipulations. However, the automobile industry may not be able to adapt to such a move.
It should also be noted that not all electric vehicles will offer the same mileage and speeds as their traditional counterparts. Although there is no doubt that technology will continue to address these issues, consumers could still prefer petrol and diesel options until modern solutions become more realistic. The bottom line is that while the 2040 target appears reasonable, it is not yet certain if a shorter time frame is feasible. However, let’s never forget that cutting-edge manufacturers such as Tesla are providing groundbreaking solutions and these will continue to evolve as the years go by.
It is only a matter of time before all-electric vehicles dominate the road. This is extremely good news for the consumer as well as the environment as a whole. Traditional vehicles may very well become a memory in the distant future if such a trend continues.