Death of the gas powered car……….

By all means necessary start-ups and major car manufacturers are racing toward an unknown future. All with one goal in mind, dominating the electric car market.   Which is a market that is somewhat fickle and yet to be proven. For every Tesla that has been sold, there are also cancelled electric car orders. Those numbers have not been factored in at all into the overall economic model on the electric car market. Add to that the barriers to entry in the industry and you have an uphill battle of sorts. (no pun intended)

Be that as it may, multiple car manufacturers worldwide are betting billions on the future of hybrid and pure alternative energy automobiles.   With all that investment capital being thrown at the automotive marketplace one would think we were gearing up to see the death of the internal combustion engine.   Well, don’t book the funeral just yet. The market for electric cars is definitely there but there are still constraints to the mainstream acceptance of these products.  There are many things that have to transpire in order for the electric car to become a mainstream reality.

For starters drivers in The United States have really not embraced the electric car. It is still a small minority of consumers that even consider the option, let alone purchase a hybrid or a pure electric car. Even though the amount of electric powered cars has risen by almost fifty percent (50%) in the past year, it still does not change the fact that it has not made the marketing breakthrough.

The offerings are limited of pure electric cars and that is another part of the problem. Electric vehicles only account for approximately one percent (1%) of all car sales currently. When it comes to options on different kinds of cars, the variety is still very limited. Most electric cars are 4 door vehicles.   The majority of cars sold today are trucks or SUVs, which still have not hit the product line up in electric format. Then there is the most popular automobiles sold last year which were all pick up trucks. A pick up truck has not even entered the planning stages for an electric replacement.   Even with all of those issues, several large automobile manufacturers have publicly stated they will stop making gas only powered cars sometime after 2019.   This is even though the consumer buy in is still quite limited.

Why are consumers not embracing the electric vehicle? Well there are several reasons for it. First, electric cars still have a small radius of operation between charges, which presents all sorts of problems. The common issue is that the infrastructure needed to operate electric cars nation wide does not exist currently.   Charging stations exist in lots of cities but not as many as one would need to have the product go mainstream. Demand for these stations is not quite there yet and costs a good amount of capital investment. Once the demand is there then fueling stations will be retrofitted and/or electric charging stations will be a stand alone additional refueling station.

Consumers will not embrace the change in technology unless that technology makes their lives easier. Look at the growth of the cell phone, the iPod or some similar device. They made Apple into a multi-billion dollar company because these products made your life easier. You cannot be without them in today’s day and age.   If an electric car comes with technology that isn’t widely used yet, then it is still going to be a market with poor product penetration.

There is a lot of focus in the electric car market to shrink the size of the battery or batteries that the car runs on. Making those smaller or having different configurations will allow for a wider breath of products to be produced and offered by manufacturers.   As well if the weight of the battery/batteries can be reduced it will allow for introduction in a host of vehicles. It will also increase the mileage capacity of the actual battery’s output, which will greatly improve the range.  Improvements in range will definitely attract more purchasers, as one of the most common complaints about the use of an electric car is the range. The problem is the infrastructure does not exist currently to be able to charge your electric car sufficiently to take a road trip. Or if one is stuck in hours of traffic it continually depletes the range the car can travel.

Since we are still in the infancy of the electric car’s evolution, much more progress needs to be made in order to have electric cars take the place of gas powered cars.   Right now you can drive from coast to coast as long as you have the ability to get more fuel.   Refueling in a gas-powered car takes just several minutes giving you the full range of the complete gas tank. Where in a full electric car the batteries have to be recharged which takes hours. Hence the design dilemma we currently face. If we want to embark on a reduced dependence on fossil fuels then we have to figure out ways to produce renewable energy in less time. If not, the internal combustion engine is here to stay for at least the near future.

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