What Does TVE Want To See This Christmas? Fast and Furtious 9: Electric Vehicles

What Does TVE Want To See This Christmas? Fast and Furtious 9: Electric Vehicles

Is the era of Electric Vehicles dawning?

Stories of electric vehicle breakthroughs, improvements and new usages are popping up fast and furious, and show no signs of slowing down. Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens have just joined forces to build a hybrid electric plane by 2020, Royal Mail have just added nine fully electric vans to their delivery fleet, and I see more and more electric cars drive past me every day.

As a result, the predictions on electric takeover are starting to fly. For instance, Morgan Stanley believe that half the cars on the road globally will be battery powered by 2050. Is this wishful thinking, or might fossil fuels have to start sharing with their greener energy rival?

There are a number of changes that are making electric vehicles look more and more feasible. Firstly, the price of batteries has gone down while their power and range has gone up. China’s investment into the industry and their ambitions to dominate the battery market are at least partly responsible for this. With batteries accounting for up to half the total vehicle cost, these shifts in price of battery and the diminished ‘range anxiety’ are major steps in shooting electric vehicles into mainstream affordability. Environmental travel no longer has to be for the top salaries.

Secondly, car manufacturers are also investing huge proportions of their R&D budget into electric cars. Volkswagen, for example, will launch 30 new electric models by 2025, which they estimate will account for up to a quarter of its entire sales. Brands are also aware that the mainstream price bracket needs to be represented among these new electric portfolios and are racing to make that possible to claim the electric car space for their brand.

And finally, the infrastructure for charging cars was always going to be the final hurdle, but the breakthrough has begun. Governments, private companies and carmakers are all starting to take a hold. China is on course to install 800,000 new electric charge points by the start of next year. New businesses such as Chargepoint are springing up, and even energy companies are joining in, for example; Shell opened its first three charge points in the UK this October. If oil companies are investing in electric infrastructure, this is surely a sign of shifting sands?

If we are at the tipping point of electric travel this is both exciting and dangerous for a multitude of brands and sectors. The electric vehicles arms race will be expensive, but not joining in could be more disastrous.

Rachel Ballard Rachel Ballard