2011 is apparently the yearof the electric car if the media are to be believed. The Nissan Leaf is Car of the Year and there are Government subsidies to be had in the purchase of such vehicles (£5000). But recent comments by many of the leaders of the car industry suggest this is not going to be the reality of things;
Apparently the majority of global car executives do not foresee a reasonably priced electric vehicle being available on the mass market in the next five years! Many also believe that electric cars will not be affordable without government subsidies.
The report produced by accountants KPMG sounds sensible – I have always believed that electric cars need to be as cheap if not cheaper than current cars to make the public even consider them as a long-term replacement for their existing fossil fuel burners. The report does suggest that the market for electric cars will be the fastest growing sector in the market, but the reality of this is that carmakers are investing in electric vehicles to reduce carbon emissions generally across their range to comply with various Governments requirements for reduced emissions.
They would of course argue that this is to hit both emissions targets and satisfy consumers’ growing desire for fuel-efficient cars, but surely this is just a cynical move by the manufacturers? The survey did find that 91% of consumers cited fuel efficiency as the single most important factor when choosing a new car, which is understandable with recent rises in fuel costs. But note it is not emissions that they are worried about, although low emission cars tend to give good mpg.
Some carmakers, such as Renault and Nissan, are pinning their hopes on pure electric cars (and have recently suffered some ‘industrial espionage’ over its electrical developments) Others, such as Toyota and General Motors, prefer hybrid technology, which combines both electric and petrol engines.
But, I cannot help being cynical and thinking that they are going down this route for all the wrong reasons?