The Uncertain Future of Electric Cars

By Jacob Stubbs

Matthew DeBoard, senior correspondent of Business Insider, says we’re now in the second wave of electric vehicle (EV) enthusiasm as car manufacturers create new EVs that address the weaknesses of the previous generation of vehicles. Yet, the financial crisis left Tesla as the only major player in the EV industry, and only one percent of the current global car market is electric. These two facts reveal how uncertain the EV’s future is. There are several other reasons affecting the future of electric cars:

Charging Time

EVs can be charged at home, at work, or at charging stations. However, those who don’t travel long distances have to plug their cars onto a charger that takes several hours to recharge the battery. Those who do travel long distances require a faster charging time. To satisfy this requirement, Tesla has developed large Supercharger networks in Asia, Europe, and North America that allow EV owners to charge their vehicles in minutes. Yet these Supercharger networks are expensive to build.

Cost of Manufacturing 

Along with the expensive cost of the Supercharger network Tesla has built, EVs are more expensive to manufacture than gas-powered vehicles. DeBoard says this is nothing new and quotes Tom Lavell, from Bloomberg, who says car manufacturers are investing billions to develop battery-powered vehicles to comply with tighter environmental regulations.


EV manufacturers want EVs to reach a tipping point of 10 or 20 percent of the car market. Yet the inexpensiveness of gas-powered cars and the inefficiency and patchiness of the charging infrastructure are making it quite hard for EV manufacturers to reach that tipping point. Furthermore, car manufacturers are now focusing more on self-driving vehicles, which require less expensive technology and don’t require an entirely new fueling system.    

Nevertheless, EVs have qualities gas-powered vehicles don’t have. EVs are quieter, simpler to maintain, safer to drive, reach high speeds at a faster pace, and, of course, require no gas. Carmakers also believe interest in EVs will increase in the future. Even though the EV industry is currently experiencing many obstacles, the benefits of EVs may help EV manufacturers overcome these obstacles in the future.

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