Dear Readers, have you heard of ‘the second great electric-car extinction’? No, neither had we. That is, until we came across a new article on the Business Insider UK website featuring the bold headline ‘Get ready to say farewell to a lot of electric cars’.
Intrigued, and hoping we were about to get the inside scoop on an incredible new electric vehicle so Herculean that it would blow the doors off a DeLorean and make all other electric vehicles extinct, we began reading.
Unfortunately we didn’t get the insight we’d hoped for. Instead, we were presented an article that claimed electric vehicle sales are declining and suggesting sales are set to decrease further due to the speed of development of driverless cars.
Somewhat surprised by this first statement and slightly confused by the second, we thought it best to clear up any confusion and set the record straight.
Firstly folks, we’re pleased to say that electric vehicles sales are in fact on the rise. In May 2016, Fleet Alliance claimed the uptake of plug-in electric cars has reached a record high in the UK, while The Telegraph reported how electric power could be the dominant form of propulsion for all new cars sold in the UK as early as 2027.
Trust us, we’ve seen the growth of electric vehicles first-hand. We produce power connectors for a number of electric cars currently on the market and demand for these components have never been so high. With today’s electric cars more stylish, sophisticated and reliable than ever, this is no surprise. Heck, even our Joint Managing Director, Les Reeves, has joined the electric vehicle revolution – he couldn’t be happier with his Mitsubishi hybrid SUV!
Our second point is slightly more complex. The Business Insider UK article makes a fair – if not inadequately explained – point that the pace of driverless car advancements is accelerating faster than the development of battery chemistry and, for this reason, driverless cars will likely feature traditional combustion engines. However, this statement overlooks a few important factors: purchase cost, running costs and environmental impact.
Let’s be honest, when the first driverless car is released it isn’t going to be available to most people. They’ll be expensive at first, and as with most technology they’ll gradually become more affordable over time as competition increases and the cost of manufacture declines. Compare that with electric vehicles, which are now more affordable than ever – a Renault Zoe is available from just £13,443. Therefore, the potential market for electric vehicles will be significantly larger than driverless for many years to come, we suspect.
And even once you’ve purchased the car, you’ve got to consider the running costs. The high price of fuel is already burning a hole in the pockets of most vehicle owners. If the cost of electricity remains low (or is at least subsidised by a sensible government), car owners would be wise to invest in electric, especially considering the fluctuating fuel price.
Then, of course, there are the environmental considerations. While affordability has the edge over environmental impact in most households, sustainability has never been higher up the agenda – and as electric vehicles become more affordable, those with an interest in sustainability will finally have the opportunity to invest in one without breaking the bank.
So, to conclude, we are thrilled to declare that reports of the demise of electric vehicles have been greatly exaggerated. If anything, this is just the beginning. And who knows, maybe we’ll see driverless electric cars sooner than expected.