The raft of exciting electric vehicle (EV) previews and new launches at the Geneva motor show has led to industry pundits calling it the ‘year that electric cars took over’.
What an effective riposte for several recent, high-profile reports focusing on perceived barriers or challenges for EVs.
One such high profile report was the Electromobility Platform’s analysis on charging infrastructure, along with comments reported in The Guardian by co-author Greg Archer, who suggested the car industry was ‘deliberately suppressing’ the market for EVs by limiting supply of new models, leading to long waiting lists.
While there’s certainly some truth in the claim that EV demand is outstripping supply – waiting lists are not uncommon – a quick run-through of new models seen at Geneva shows that many automotive manufacturers are investing hundreds of billions in the development of their EVs.
There was, of course, the show-stopping Jaguar I-Pace, but also the Honda Urban EV and the Hyundai Kona Electric, which, with battery ranges of up to 500kms (300 miles), all commanded attention and heralded huge progress.
Coinciding with the Electromobility Platform’s analysis was the SMMT’s report on new car emissions, along with a statement by CEO Mike Hawes which cited ‘disappointingly low demand for electric vehicles’ and the ‘demonisation of diesel’ as contributing to the first increase in CO2 from new cars for two decades.
While this temporary blip in emission levels is disappointing, EVs, hand in hand with the continued ‘greening’ of the grid, are the only viable route to lowering these emissions significantly for the long term.
As lithium Ion battery prices plummet, it will soon be cheaper to buy and maintain a 200-plus mile range EV than an equivalent internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, which means more fleets can make the transition.
And, with charging infrastructure being rapidly rolled out, and Geneva giving us a glimpse of what we can expect in terms of EV choice, the reasons for buying a petrol or diesel vehicle are steadily being eradicated.
By Erik Fairbairn chief executive and founder of Pod Point