While the adoption of electric vehicles is slowly gathering momentum, the level of take-up remains confined to the select few rather than gaining mass appeal.
This may be because availability of electric cars is still limited and the available ones are quickly being snapped up.
For the EV industry to gain mass market adoption, the business case for moving to electric propulsion must be financially robust in a like-for-like comparison by the large majority of commercial fleet buyers.
Financials notwithstanding, there is also a strong emotional factor when deciding whether or not to purchase a vehicle – this is not related to cost or even practicality, but rather how the vehicle makes you feel.
Electric vehicles will become an affordable and sustainable proposition when we see a change in the way key components (such as batteries) are developed – that is, with a focus on lowering the end price of electric vehicles.
The pace of EV adoption is slowed by tier one and tier two suppliers focusing investment on costly and lengthy research and development programmes, coupled with the filing of patents in an effort to gain a perceived intellectual property edge and a relatively small performance advantage over competitors.
By using a greater proportion of existing mature technologies, parts will become cost effective and can be brought to market more speedily.
Most importantly, the result will be a reduction in the overall vehicle price for the fleet operator.
The use of existing technologies is only one means to accelerate the adoption of EVs.
The development of an all-in-one solution, accounting for total cost of ownership, will make EVs truly economically viable.
A package consisting of the vehicle itself and the charging infrastructure, coupled with an awareness of the importance of lowering maintenance and energy costs, will make EV fleets very compelling.
When fleet owners are able to realise a significant saving as a result of switching to electric power, we will witness significant movement away from fossil fuels and towards cleaner and renewable energy sources to power our vehicles.