All electric cars are not the same and why the call for ‘real’ electric cars should be resisted
AbstractBattery powered cars have many merits over traditionally powered cars: they are more energy efficient (i.e. less GHG emissions), less polluting and quiet.
However, not all electric cars are the same and there is a ‘break point’ at a range of around 50-75 miles. Up to this range battery packs can be made affordable, compact and manageable in size and weight. Vehicles with this range are already produced today at affordable prices and do not need dramatic technology breakthroughs. Nevertheless, in the popular media and among commentators and politicians there is a sense that such vehicles are not an adequate replacement for traditional ICE powered car’s long range, fast refuelling and high performance. Such a view ignores the potential of small BEV’s to deliver adequately and economically on the actual mobility requirements of the majority of the population.
In the United Kingdom the average car journey is only 8 miles long and the average speed is only 24 mph. This suggests that the capabilities of most current cars are vastly in excess of their actual requirement. This apparent paradox is easily explained by a brief look at the price list of a typical car manufacturer’s range. By the nature of the global, large scale car production process the marginal costs of extra performance, space and features is relatively small. The free market and consumerism do the rest.
These economics do not apply to BEVs where the cost of the energy storage system imposes a large cost on vehicle size, performance, range and features. This paper concludes that smaller, short range BEVs are nevertheless such good match to actual consumer mobility needs and have so many societal advantages that the economics of carbon pricing and fuel price rises already make them cost competitive with traditional ICE powered cars in selected markets. As consumers re-evaluate how much they are prepared to pay for range and performance in particular, they are likely to opt for vehicles that match their actual needs at an affordable cost. Therefore small BEVs specifically should be encouraged as a means to create affordable and clean access to individual mobility in the shorted possible timescale.
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Geurtsen, E.; Wilford, J. All electric cars are not the same and why the call for ‘real’ electric cars should be resisted. World Electr. Veh. J. 2009, 3, 884-889.
Geurtsen E, Wilford J. All electric cars are not the same and why the call for ‘real’ electric cars should be resisted. World Electric Vehicle Journal. 2009; 3(4):884-889.Chicago/Turabian Style
Geurtsen, Evert; Wilford, Julian. 2009. "All electric cars are not the same and why the call for ‘real’ electric cars should be resisted." World Electr. Veh. J. 3, no. 4: 884-889.