FutureTrans: Electric Cars — History repeating itself?

Gasoline vehicles have dominated the automobile industry for such a long time now that people fail to realize how popular electric cars were. They were partly replaced by gasoline cars because of limitations of batteries hundred years ago and also because Henry Ford chose gasoline for his Model T. Electric cars had many advantages and they still do. It took some time for people to realize this fact, but, Better late than never!

With people becoming more and more environment-friendly and much improved batteries now available, the Green-Car mania is kicking back in! Nearly 30 car manufacturing companies are coming out with electric cars including some major car brands like General Motors, Tesla, BMW and Ford. The Electric Revolution doesn’t seem far away. In fact, it is apparently scheduled for 2022!

According to a report issued by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research firm, higher cost of Electric Vehicles or EVs, which is a major obstacle in their sales, will be eliminated in the next six years and cars running on electricity will cost less than those running on fossil fuels.

Currently, EVs contribute to less than 1 percent of new car sales in the US. But according to the report, the unsubsidized total cost of ownership of BEVs [Battery Electric Vehicles] will fall below that of a gasoline vehicle by 2022 leading to a steady increase in the adoption rate of EVs, reaching to sales of $41 million globally by 2040, which adds up to 25 percent of market share. Also, between 2010 and 2015, the average cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) dropped from $1,000 to $350 and is expected to further drop to $120/kWh by 2030.

But everything has its pros and cons. If the electric revolution does take place and if eventually gasoline vehicles are replaced by electric vehicles, it would reduce the CO2 emission by 417 million tons per year i.e. by 6.4%. On the contrary, there would be an increase in the electricity consumption by 1111 TWh per year i.e. by approximately 29%. Low cost EVs will require less maintenance as compared to vehicles with internal combustion engines. This will be beneficial for the consumers but not for the automobile dealers and spare part manufacturers whose revenues largely depend on vehicle maintenance. The government will have to provide sufficient charging infrastructure for the EVs. Also, there are chances that electricity prices may soar high after the Electric Revolution as the government will have to make up for the loss in revenue due to reduction in gasoline consumption. Considering all these factors, the question that comes to my mind is,

“Will history repeat itself by 2022? And even if it does, will it really be beneficial for mankind!?”