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Felicity Bradstock

Felicity Bradstock

Felicity Bradstock is a freelance writer specialising in Energy and Finance. She has a Master’s in International Development from the University of Birmingham, UK.

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Why The World Still Isn’t Ready For An EV Revolution

  • Soaring energy prices and fuel shortages have sparked a rise in searches for electric vehicles.
  • The lack of EV infrastructure still presents a major problem for the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. 
  • Another concern is whether charging stations can keep up with growing demand.

In the face of energy shortages and rising fuel prices, people are still reluctant to make the shift to electric vehicles (EV). So, what needs to change for consumers to buy into the EV future?

We’ve seen the media coverage of backed-up fuelling stations and doctors unable to make it to their patients because of the scarcity of diesel and petroleum, and yet the majority of the world’s cars continue to rely on these fuel sources despite the growing accessibility to EV. Despite a 60 percent rise in searches for electric cars in the weeks following the recent U.K. fuel shortages, not all consumers are convinced that an EV is the answer. 

One of the major obstacles is the lack of EV infrastructure available. Governments around the world are making big plans for the future of EV, with the rollout of charging stations in major cities already taking place. But rural areas in North America and Europe, where EV uptake is increasing, are still lagging behind urban areas in EV infrastructure. 

A 2017 U.S. Department of Energy analysis determined that rural areas house around 19 percent of the U.S. population and yet there is a severe lack of EV charging infrastructure in non-urban locations. In addition, the average rural driver has to travel longer distances on a daily basis than urban drivers, meaning out-of-home charging points are vital for EV uptake. 

The case is even direr in several emerging economies that want to encourage the shift to EV but simply don’t have the infrastructure to back it up. India is the prime example of a country that has rolled out an EV strategy in its “Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles Phase 2 programme” but has, to date, failed to install the 4,400 charging stations in cities and on highways it initially promised. 

Another concern around EV infrastructure is whether charging points can keep up with demand. In Europe, EVs share of auto-registrations has risen to around 10 percent, a huge leap from under 2 percent in 2018. While the U.K. is leading the way with EV charging infrastructure, experts worry that if consumers shift to EV faster than anticipated, the infrastructure may not be able to keep up. 

A lack of charging points and the prevalence of slow charging options have left some reluctant to make the shift. In fact, Allegra Stratton, spokesperson for the COP26 climate summit, made headlines when she stated, “I don’t fancy it just yet,” in reference to swapping her aging diesel Volkswagen Golf for an EV alternative. She justified the statement by saying that she has elderly relatives that live “200, 250 miles away”, and the need to stop and charge would take too much time, particularly when traveling with her children. If even the voice of the world’s climate change summit is unwilling to shift, this says a lot about consumer needs. 

Worries over charging infrastructure also indicate the failure of EV manufacturers to have achieved a greater range for their EVs. Newmotion by Shell has highlighted “range anxiety” as a key deterrent for EV purchase. While European drivers commute just 25-50 miles a day on average, across 2.5 trips, making it the prime market for EV uptake with electric car batteries available that easily cover this range, public perception is what matters, and the public is scared of getting stuck on a journey with no charging point in sight.

Another factor is cost. EVs are still comparatively much more expensive than their petrol equivalents. Despite decreasing production and battery costs, electric cars are still much more expensive on average than traditional cars. There is a lack of low-budget EVs on the market, whereas there are both low-cost versions and second-hand options of traditional cars. Yet, analysis by BloombergNEF suggests this could all shift in the near future, with the “upfront cost parity” of EV and internal combustion vehicles in the U.S. expected to arrive in 2024.

Because of high costs, and international pressure to push green policy, governments across Europe have been offering heavy subsidies for the purchase of EVs. Germany, France, and Spain have been leaders in EV purchase incentives for consumers. But several other governments in Europe and North America have, so far, failed to incentivize the purchase of EVs, meaning the initial investment is simply too high for many consumers. 

An alternative option is to lease a new car, paying monthly installments until the cost of the vehicle is paid off. Leasing often lasts two to four years, with the consumer coming out of the contract with an electric car at the end of it. But due to the higher costs of EVs, buyers are often tied to the lease for longer than when leasing traditionally-fuelled vehicles, which is something to consider. A new car is no longer a new car at the end of it, but the trade-in value could be significant. 

Other companies, such as Onto and Elmo, are offering monthly rental options for consumers to test out EVs before taking the plunge, with insurance included. While this could incentivize trialing EVs ahead of making a long-term investment, this option is not cheap, at over $500 a month.  

So, if severe fuel shortages, rising costs, and the intention of many governments to eventually stop the sale of gas-powered vehicles don’t encourage consumers to make the shift, what will? The ever-improving EV technology and the increased production of EVs by auto majors from around the world will inevitably lead to greater battery life, lower costs, more fuelling stations, and greater range, but it seems that until this point many consumers will remain on the fence. 

By Felicity Bradstock for Oilprice.com 

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Leave a comment
  • DoRight Deikins on October 17 2021 said:
    Welcome to the brave new World (?) of excuses and prevarications. It's Russia's fault, they won't send more gas. Ah, well, for how much did you contract? It's big Oil's fault that the climate is changing. Look in the mirror, folks! Yeah, I need my diesel, I need my jet, I need my air-conditioned and heated environment, I'm trying to help save the planet.

    More charging stations need more generating capacity, more storage capacity, and more transmission capability - all which needs to be reliable, far more reliable than any we have seen so far. And not on a one to one basis, but at least 3 times as much as as is needed. And how much will that cost? Are statistics and risk analysis no longer taught at a university level? One source of energy at any point in the system, is a laughable, or is it an extremely sad solution. Because, folks, the chance that it will break is almost certain. What?, you don't have a back-up solution?
  • David on October 17 2021 said:
    SDPI (NYSE) Superior Drilling Products: Precision machinist for the the oil & gas industry, strengthening fundamentals with continued penetration into foreign and domestic markets.11.6 million float.
    "Strong Buy Rating"
  • Kay Uwe Boehm on October 17 2021 said:
    There is also not enough green energy surplus for EV electricity most from gas and coal.also not for making hydrogen without much more nuclear and cold fusion power with efficient turbines. Lithium price still exploding.

    Geothermal energy is just theoretically in praxis unimportant less energy also because of heat falling local where taken out underground with high effort.

    Energy supply in world did all time increase but mainly from oil, gas and coal not geothermal, solar and wind with wrong peak values in medias in praxis FRG 1/10 from peak middle value of solar panel, wind power 1/6 in danger of hurricanes & tornados and always backup power system needed.
  • Mike Berger on October 21 2021 said:
    "In the face of energy shortages and rising fuel prices, people are still reluctant to make the shift to electric vehicles (EV)."

    Interesting assertion when most competent ev's are production constrained.

    Heck, Tesla in U.S. is sold out of most models until end of April. Some models sold out for a year.

    They doubled Porsche Taycan production and it now sells better then the 911.

    VW won't import an ID.3 as they can sell all they make in Europe. ID.4 is in limited supply here in U.S.

    Even the new comer from Ford the Mach-E is very hard to get a hold of with dealers jacking the price way about list. The Lightning (ev version of F-150) garnered so many reservations they doubled thier production plans...

    Yeah. not selling. right...

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