By in Technology

When Will We All Drive Electric Cars?

Reading the Melody23 post about her first solo drive - - got me thinking, how long before we all drive electric cars?

The affordability, performance and range of electric vehicles are improving all the time.

Leading the way is Tesla and its inspirational CEO, Elon Musk. Tesla is addressing all the issues:-

- Cost. Tesla cars are synonymous with performance. Current Tesla models are quite expensive but the strategy is to move from luxury, low volume to business-class, medium volume through to economical, high volume. Tesla's next release will be the Model 3. It's expected to retail for about $30,000. Not cheap but, when the savings in fuel and maintenance are taken into account, possibly low enough to ignite the EV revolution (read more here) .

- Batteries. EV's typically have a range of at least 200 miles and, in the USA, there is an infrastructure of recharging points. Elon Musk is investing heavily in the mass production of the next generation of high performance, low cost batteries. Nevada has just been officially selected to site Tesla's $5b factory which will annually build the batteries for 500,000 cars by 2020.

- Performance. EV's are already a joy to drive. The current Tesla top end models achieve 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds. I've never driven an EV but even petrol-heads marvel at the near silent, instant acceleration.

Elon Musk is so committed to EV's that he has made all Tesla's patents freely available to everybody, even his competitors- this article - All our Patent are Belong to You and no, this is not bad grammar - illustrates the depth of Musk's vision and commitment.

Tesla seems to be dominating the EV horizon. At some point, traditional car makers will wake up and smell the coffee. I get the impression they're not yet fully committed to the EV market- but thanks to Tesla and Musk they will have to accept the inevitable- when they do, watch out!

The rise of EV's mirrors and complements the rise in PV technology. The cost of photovoltaics are falling annually. In 5 years time, I expect some EV's will be parked under PV carports to have their batteries re-charged overnight. In 10 years time, I expect some EV's will have ultra-thin PV's built into their bodywork. In 20 years time, who can say? Perhaps roads will provide the power- Solar Roadways ??

I believe by 2025, over 50% of new cars sold will be Electric Vehicles. When do you think we'll reach that tipping point?

EDIT:- Even the bankers agree with me- see here - I'm not sure an "endorsement" from UBS is something I should shout about or keep quiet.

Image Credit » Tesla Model S 2014

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MegL wrote on September 29, 2014, 10:24 AM

I think it depends on where in the world you live. Some countries with lots of sunshine already have agricultural vehicles powered by solar panels. I would love to see more solar powered vehicles.

tinamarie wrote on September 29, 2014, 10:27 AM

I agree with MegL , it will depend on where you live. I'm not sure how practical this would be for someone living in the mountains.

suffolkjason wrote on September 29, 2014, 10:47 AM

In the USA the grid will connect all the sunny regions and power the whole country!

Ellis wrote on September 29, 2014, 10:49 AM

As long as there is still money to be made from oil the industry will continue to drag it feet..

suffolkjason wrote on September 29, 2014, 11:20 AM

True- but they may find that Tesla and others have taken all their customers. The energy and car giants are a bit like the music industry giants of 10 -15 years ago- they need to adapt or die.

Feisty56 wrote on September 29, 2014, 1:00 PM

These are exciting times with the forthcoming changes in the auto industry. Big Oil will provide the largest and loudest cries against electric and solar transportation, but the opposition's voice will grow more distant and quiet as time and consumers move forward.

BarbRad wrote on September 29, 2014, 1:45 PM

What happens to solar-powered vehicles on stormy days on freeways?

Scorpie wrote on September 29, 2014, 1:52 PM

When gasoline about 12 dollars per gallon in the US then we will see the major switch to electrics.

suffolkjason wrote on September 29, 2014, 1:52 PM

Mots commercial EV's have batteries that give a range (already) of at least 200 miles. Power generated from solar carports, ultra-thin solar panels or even solar roadways (I accept this requires more than a few wrinkles to be iron out!) could be used to re-charge the batteries either to fully re-charge or to extend the range.

suffolkjason wrote on September 29, 2014, 1:55 PM

Is this- close to meeting those needs?

suffolkjason wrote on September 29, 2014, 1:58 PM

In the UK- it's about £1.30/litre (has been higher)- £5.90/gallon= $9.45/gallon

suffolkjason wrote on September 29, 2014, 2:02 PM

Yup- innovation and visionaries (like Musk) will lead the way and consumers will demand and drive change. I think USA will steal a march on the rest of the world. Is Elon Musk a bit of a hero in the States?

Scorpie wrote on September 29, 2014, 2:05 PM

You are paying almost three times for petrol than us. We are due for a shock.

tinamarie wrote on September 29, 2014, 2:09 PM

They do? Oh, wait, yes we do, it's the heat we're missing for most of the year. ;)

Feisty56 wrote on September 29, 2014, 2:30 PM

Dear me! How does anyone afford to drive a car there?

suffolkjason wrote on September 29, 2014, 2:32 PM

Have you seen the Flintstones...? By the time we get to the gym we don't need to go in.

melody23 wrote on September 29, 2014, 2:42 PM

Up here there aren't that many charging points for electric cars. An electric car would be useless to me because although I could charge it in the city centre and I don't live that far from there, I have no idea how I would get anywhere outside the city, I could never get to my mums and back I don't think on one charge and there is nowhere to charge an electric car where she lives. I guess the answer to your question is as soon as there are enough charging points, and the price of electric cars comes down a bit I think lots of people would go for an electric car.

suffolkjason wrote on September 29, 2014, 2:46 PM

I'm sure it will happen in the next 10 years.

AliCanary wrote on September 29, 2014, 6:25 PM

I want a Tesla SO bad, but my god, they are ridiculously expensive.

Feisty56 wrote on September 29, 2014, 8:51 PM

Shall I picture you as Fred or Barney? Ya-ba-dab-a-doo!

Bethany1202 wrote on September 30, 2014, 12:45 PM

I know some countries are moving towards cleaner cars and hope all manufacturers follow suit with hybrid cars. I would love cars that can gather solar power, be electrically charged, and only use clean fuels as a last alternative. Excellent post! Saw this on Twitter and wanted to come check you out. : )

suffolkjason wrote on September 30, 2014, 2:05 PM

Thanks Bethany- good to know that Twitter works sometimes! I'm sure we will all move to electric vehicles- it's not if, but when.

Ruby3881 wrote on October 1, 2014, 9:57 PM

I think you are right in thinking there will be a shift. Just as our power companies are beginning to invest seriously in alternative energy sources, I believe the car manufacturers will eventually shift their focus in order to avoid losing business. Demand is there, and it will grow if the price comes down. But if it's true that the EV can last 30 years with low-cost maintenance, there's no wonder makers of ICE cars have been slow to switch over.

nbaquero wrote on October 2, 2014, 12:27 PM

suffolkjason It will take a few years, especially considering the Oil Companies do not want to lose all that revenue coming from Gas powered cars.

paigea wrote on October 3, 2014, 5:18 PM

Here, I think I better wait for the solar powered ones. 90 % of Alberta's electricity is produced by burning coal. If we all start plugging in our cars, we will need to burn a lot more coal!

Kasman wrote on October 9, 2014, 6:03 PM

I'm not at all sure electric vehicles are the way to go. The mass use of electric vehicles will cost billions of dollars to develop properly and will require the retooling of factories to produce them or the building of new production facilities. If we were to use hydrogen then we can use the existing internal combustion engines we already have and all the production facilities for such with only minor alterations and would cost much less to bring into service. The pollution problem of current internal combustion engines would also be solved as the byproduct of burning hydrogen is oxygen and water.