There has been a substantial change over the past few years with regards to the automobile industry. A number of car manufacturers have shifted their attention to creating high performing electronic vehicles. This includes heavy weights in the automobile industry such as Mercedes, BMW, Porsche and Tesla. This is important due to oil resources depleting as well as harmful emissions released from the exhaust of cars powered by petroleum (Sorrell et al. 2012).
A survey was conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2016) in the US to assess whether the consumers who have been brought up on petroleum fueled vehicles would be willing to shift to a more environmentally friendly option. The NREL interviewed 1015 households who were randomly selected via telephone. The interviewees were selected through a dual-frame sampling design, where the sample was drawn from independent landline and cell phone sample frames. The response samples were all weight-adjusted.
What I find interesting in the statistics is that 1 in 5 (20%) of the people interviewed stated that their next car could be an EV (electric vehicle). While another 24% said their next car could be a plug-in hybrid, which is a car that can run on both fuel and electricity. A key stat in the survey is that over half of the people interviewed stated that their EV would have to be able to travel at least 300 miles on a single charge for them to even consider purchasing them. This is a reasonable demand as you would not want to end up stranded while travelling especially on long journeys. So far only Tesla’s Model S and X have even come close to matching these expectations with both Models going well into the 200 miles per single charge. Most of the other EV manufacturers have failed to cross the 100 miles per charge such as the BMW i8 and the Audi A3 e-Tron, which explains why the EV industry has not really taken off thus far. (Shahan 2016)
Another factor holding back the number of EVs seen on the streets is the price tag. The survey stated that 55% of the respondents thought EVs were too expensive and 70% stated that they expected to spend less than $30000 on their next vehicle. Cars such as the Tesla S and X, which do not provide sufficient miles per charge and which own steep price tags are not going to be the most commonly owned ones. However, with Tesla’s launch of the Model 3 next year this could be about to change. Eon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors stats that the new Model 3 EV would be able to travel 300 miles per charge and the pricing would half of that of the Model S and X. It would be available to the public for between $30-35000 (Niu 2016).
I feel the biggest problem regarding EVs is that people aren’t aware of the benefits of owning one. This is proven in the survey where 52% of the respondents could not name a single EV model. If they could not name a model then it is entirely possible that they do not have any idea how feasible owning one could be. It can thus be seen that more people are opening up to the possibility of substituting gasoline fueled cars to electric ones but the EV industry is still missing that one car which will break through the market and appeal to the masses. Perhaps the Model 3 will do that in year’s time. All we can do now is wait and see.
If you are interested in reading more on the study carried out here is the link:
Sorrell, S, Speirs, J, Bentley, R, Miller, R, & Thompson, E 2012, ‘Shaping the global oil peak: A review of the evidence on field sizes, reserve growth, decline rates and depletion rates’, Energy, 37, 7th Biennial International Workshop “Advances in Energy Studies“, pp. 709-724, ScienceDirect, EBSCOhost.
Ayre, J 2016, NREL Report: 20% Of Americans Would Consider/Expect To Choose A Pure EV For Next Vehicle Purchase Or Lease, EV Obsession, retrieved 16 April 2016, <http://evobsession.com/nrel-report-only-20-of-those-surveyed-said-that-they-would-considerexpect-to-choose-an-ev-for-next-vehicle-purchase-or-lease/>
Shahan, Z 2016, Electric Cars 2016 — Prices, Efficiency, Range, Pics, More, EV Obsession, retrieved 3 February 2016, <http://evobsession.com/electric-cars-2014-list/>
Niu, E 2016, Tesla’s Model 3 Market Opportunity Is Bigger Than You Think, The Motley Fool, retrieved 2016, <http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/02/20/teslas-model-3-market-opportunity-is-bigger-than-y.aspx>
Lambert, F 2016, Tesla Model 3 “leaks”, lets debunk them, photograph, retrieved 18 March 2016, <http://electrek.co/2016/03/18/tesla-model-3-leaks-lets-debunk-them/>
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