Why Electric Cars Will Soon Be The Most Popular Vehicle

For what seems like a long time now, electric vehicles (EVs) have been on the cusp of going mainstream – in fact it was three decades ago that major automotive manufacturers first introduced working concepts of EVs.

Since then we’ve seen the hybrid vehicle make a significant impact on the car market, and now it looks like the fully-fledged EV is set to change motoring for good, making our cities less polluted and altering the very way we think of energy and how to use it.

The battery revolution

In the past, what’s held the EV back has been the high cost of batteries and their limited range. Consumers looking at the bottom line found they were paying more money for a car that travelled shorter distances. That has radically changed in recent years.

Battery costs have reduced enormously – 65% since 2010 – mainly for two reasons: firstly, as manufacturers figure out ways to make processes and materials more efficient, production becomes cheaper; secondly, economy of scale means that as EVs become more popular, the increasing demand pushes the cost of each individual battery down.

The other decisive factor with batteries is to do with improvements in their chemistry, which means they can now power a car over much longer distances.

Going station to station

Another criticism of EVs in the past has been the lack of charging points. This meant that – especially for long journeys – you had to plan meticulously and incorporate various diversions to ensure you didn’t wind up in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery.

But in the UK for example, the EV charging network is expanding rapidly. There are now 4,100 public charging locations, which is remarkable when you think there were only a few hundred as recently as 2011. Compare that to the 8,472 traditional fuel stations (a drop of 75% in the last 40 years) and it’s clear a major shift is underway. In fact, based on these trends, electrical charge points will outnumber traditional fuel stations by 2020.

Driving energy

One significant bonus for EV drivers relates to the energy convergence we’re beginning to see in urban areas, and how these vehicles interact with a ‘smart city’ dynamic.

Recharge stations could be used to feed energy back to the national grid, a process we already see in places like Japan, which has one of the largest EV populations in the world. It operates ‘Vehicle to Grid’ (V2G) systems, which essentially turn EVs into generators, enabling their users to sell energy from their parked cars to the national grid at times when it is most needed. Such technology combines easily with an app on your smartphone or alternative device that, in turn, ensures none of said energy is wasted.

For years we’ve been told the Electric Vehicle is the future, but as that future begins to unfold, and people begin to understand both the economic and environmental benefits, their popularity will begin to snowball. Within a generation, there is every chance EVs will be the only vehicles we’ll see on the road.

Read more: Huffington Post

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