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Electric vehicles are green but lack chutzpah and appeal

BMW i8 hybrid electric vehicles
Hybrid and electric vehicles are the future but how quickly are they catching on

In the US, electric cars have established a green image, but do little else as far as evoking an emotional bond is concerned.

Continental Mobility Study reveals electric vehicles are largely viewed as environmentally friendly but don’t score much in terms of perceptions related to driving pleasure, attractive design, or sportiness.

BMW i8 hybrid electric vehicles

Hybrid and electric vehicles are the future but how quickly are they catching on

In addition, there’s a higher purchase price as compared to regular mass market offerings. Together, it dampens drivers expectations in regards to EV purchases.

As compared to 2011, fewer drivers across age groups expect to use a fully electric car in the medium term (4 – 10 years) having reduced from 33 to 24 pct among the 16 – 30 year year old age group. Willingness is down from 31 to 21 pct for those in the 31 – 59 age group.

Reluctance for those who are 60 and over, decreased from 46 to 21 pct. There’s a strong increase in drivers across all age groups who would switch to an electric car if vehicles with internal combustion engines were no longer available.

Following, several booming years, the pure electric car is now facing image issues, and hybrid (combination of ultra-modern combustion engines with electric motors) could be a solution. 48-Volt tech could clear the way for electromobility through reasonable cost/benefit ratio to give folks their first electromobility experience.

As restrictions on exhaust emissions and CO2 increase, and consumer thinking changes, electrified propulsion systems will help meet fleet emission targets in the long run. It is estimated, about 20 pct of new vehicles globally will use electrified drive systems by 2025 (half of these being 48-Volt hybrids). Hybrid vehicles can create acceptance for electric cars.

More than 55 electric car models are now available globally. Over 70 percent of models are battery EVs (BEVs). About 25 pct are plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs). PHEV numbers is likely to increase over the next 3-4 years. Demand for longer-range vehicles that let one drive pats the pure EV range will be a trend. BMW i3 sales split between BEV and extended range EVs (eREVs) demonstrates this.

Frost & Sullivan, Strategic Outlook of Global Electric Vehicle Market in 2015 analysis show EV sales volume stood at 3,04,683 units in 2014, and is expected to reach 466,407 units in 2015. North America will lead with a market share of 36 pct by year end, followed by Europe and China with a share of 27 and 24 pct, respectively.

Major EV OEMs, BMW, Tesla, and Daimler look to benefit from incentives and subsidies in China and are depending on growth strategies to establish themselves in the Chinese market said Prajyot Sathe. With annual decrease in incentives by five pct in China, some OEMs look to make available alternative tech ( fuel cell) vehicles to qualify for incentives.

Despite general growth in EV market across regions, overall sales does not meet automakers expectations. Sales targets in Europe and North America are not met owing to end user reluctance to adopt new tech, long charging time, and lack of awareness on EV benefits.

United States EV market sales has increased by 30 pct from 2013. PHEV and EV sales were at about 162,000, a long distance away from the 1 million unit goal for 2015. To fuel sales and improve EV range, manufacturers are trying to double Li-ion technology energy density. EV OEMs are focused on improving EV charging networks through partnerships. Tesla continues to build its own super charging network with over 120 stations in US, 75 in Europe and 25 in Asia. Tesla installations are expected to double by 2015 end.

Edmunds reveals car buyers are trading in hybrid and electric cars for SUVs much more than ever before. Fuel prices are prompting hybrid and EV owners toward gas guzzlers. About 22 pct of people who traded in their hybrids and EVs in 2015 bought a new SUV. In all, only 45 percent of hybrid and EV trade-ins resulted in the purchase of another alternative fuel vehicle, down from just over 60 percent in 2012. Hybrid and EV purchases seem driven more by financial motive than environmental reasons.

Three years ago, as gas price hit near-record highs, people rationalised price premiums on alternative fuel vehicles. With gas prices being low again, the pro EV sentiment isn’t as strong. EVs and hybrids accounted for only 2.7 pct of all new car sales in Q1 2015, down from 3.3 percent in Q1 2014.


About the author

Nabanita Singha Roy

Nabanita Singha Roy

Love for a red car has with experience transformed to a detailed outlook for around the clock news from Nabanita Singha Roy. Starting out as auto blogger in 2009, her inextricable editorial approach guarantees diverse storylines for a widely enthusiastic automotive readership.

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  • Devin Serpa

    The opinion on the sexiness of a tool means nothing for the long term viability of an industry.

    Prices are dropping for li-ion batteries faster than analysts expected. 2017 will bring at least 3 200+ mile EVs under $35k. At least for me and my wife, we’re looking forward to purchasing our fifth and sixth EVs.

  • TheBigDG

    I never considered using “Chutzpah” as the word to describe the fecklessness, blandness, uninspired, tired, boring, yawn inspiring and blah look of most economy model cars. It seems the industry has tried even harder to repel buyers with the cheap look of EV cars. It can be said “Chutzpah” is what it takes to pass off these designs as serious.