By GreenCompany | June 17, 2012
Electric vehicles are not a new development as some of the earliest vehicles produced were electric vehicles but with the advent and subsequent advantage of gasoline powered internal combustion engines they never really took root. Even today with the advance of technology the internal combustion engine still holds many advantages over electric vehicles and nowhere is that more evident than the price-point consumers are willing to take on to switch to electric or even hybrid vehicles. Add in a poor economy in the Western world and it’s little wonder green vehicles are still seeing their sales numbers crushed by traditionally powered cars and trucks.
Too high of an initial cost is often cited by those who want to switch but don’t. There are a handful of electric vehicles for offer in Canada and even more hybrid vehicles but when compared to their gasoline or diesel powered contemporaries, they often cost too much for most consumers. So what’s it going to take to get people to switch? Well ever-increasing prices at the pump are moving some people towards electric or hybrid vehicles but not as many as was expected a decade ago. The specs of the electric vehicles such as size and range have also gotten better and made them more available for end-users. The green movement also encouraged caring individuals and companies to switch, but the biggest factor will be price.
With everything that is manufactured – the more mass production that is undertaken the lower the price. Battery technology has grown by leaps and bounds and their cost has also dropped but it’s a catch 22. Only when more are made and bought will the price really come down. And more will only be made and bought when the price is already at a point consumers are willing to accept. To that end short of massive subsidies (which are not the answer going ahead), it will take a few companies really making a concerted effort to bring the price per unit down to get the ball rolling. And with that today I read that Mercedes-Benz is bringing out electric drive smart cars at sub-$30k price-points.
The new Smart fortwo electric drive by Mercedes will be the lowest priced in Canada when it hits dealer floors in early 2013. It sports a top-speed of 120 km/h which is more than needed for most drivers and a total range of nearly 150 kilometers. For the average commuter this more than covers their need. Questions remain though – will this be the price point needed or would something under $20k do more to really spur a movement towards electric vehicles? As well, how many competitors are going to feel the need to beat this new price point by Mercedes – and how many CAN?
As always please share your thoughts.