In the recent days, I’ve watches a lot of videos on Youtube about electric vehicles. There are quite interesting and seem at least to be the future of moving around the world. There are some pioneers in this domain, the most important one being Elon Musk with his Tesla.
Tesla started the electric car trends, no matter what some people will tell you about Toyota Prius, which is a hybrid, which still has a petrol engine. Tesla is the first car that actually managed to get a lot of people on board for buying electric vehicles. Musk even released the patents for EV technology for other companies, so they can contribute to this revolution. And they did.
But they still lag behind Tesla on some chapters. The main one, of course, is the range. Maybe the best kept secret of Tesla cars, the battery configuration. A lot of car makers tried to increase the range, but they didn’t really managed getting more than 300 km (160 miles). Which is ok for a town car, but if you want to get on a long trip, you might want some extra range. Tesla does have an 500 km range on their top model, but you can only achieve that on good weather conditions and driving constantly on around 80 km/h, as Bjorn Nyland have managed when he drove from Oslo to Trondheim (around 480 km).
Ok, so for the moment, the range is an issue, since with the current technology you can’t really go more than 300 km (with some good speed) until you need to charge for an hour or two. It’s good if you plan to drive only 500 km on a day and have a Tesla Supercharger on the way.
A friend of mine tried to reach on a party 600 km from his home in Hamburg. He had to start in the morning and barely managed to get there at 8 PM, driving on the Autobahn, mostly without any speed limit. He had to stop 3 times to charge it for about 1 hour and 20 minutes before setting back on the road. His wife barely had time to change in her “etuikleider” (sheath dresses), put some make up and have 5 minute to rest. So it’s not really a car for a long road.
And that in a country like Germany, which have a lot of superchargers on it’s territory. If you try to do that in Eastern Europe, you will be doomed on staying hours and hours in a city before your car get properly charged. So not a car for a weekend trip or even for couriers.
Norway fares a bit better than other countries, since the government there gives incentives for buying an electric car. So the car filled with Tesla’s pretty quickly. Norway has another advantage: huge interest in electric. Plus a lot of green energy, since most of the country energy comes from hydro and wind energy.
The EV starting to get more popular in Western Europe, since they have a lot of charging stations around and the price of electricity is still quite low (somewhere around 10 cents / kwh), so if you want to around 100 km, you will have to pay around 1.8 euro, which is way lower than LPG, Petrol or Diesel. For the moment.
What the future holds ?
Better batteries, for sure. Otherwise the industry can’t advance to a level of electric integration. With better batteries comes better range and long range travel becomes a dream.
What’s the sweet spot ? I think 500 km, no matter what’s the temperature, wind or weather. After that distance, most drivers would stop for at least and hour, enough time to charge the battery for at least 300 km. So you can drive 800 km in a day. When will get there ? Not soon.
In the meantime, we will probably have an extended network of superchargers in Europe and USA, so we will probably manage to charge the electric cars faster without wasting a lot of time.
Expect 2030 as the ear in which 10 % of the Europe cars will be electric. Not only Tesla. I presume that Renault Zoe, Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Ioniq, Chevrolet Bolt or other similar cars to come to the market. Dacia has recently announced plans for adding some EV. Probably on the Logan, since it’s the cheapest vehicle. And we will not get more than 100 km of actual range on it. Good enough for someone who just drive to work and back and charge it on weekend.
It’s still a long way to go for going electric. But we are way better that 5 years ago.