Poor air quality is forcing automakers and government leaders to expect more out of electric vehicles.
“Technological advances in energy management and materials together with anti-pollution regulation are paving the way for low to no-emission vehicles,” wrote Thiemo Lang, Senior Portfolio Manager at RobecoSAM Smart Mobility Strategy in a recent blog post. “Further out, electrification, autonomous driving and shared mobility will revolutionize both the car and concepts of urban transport.
Poor air quality, especially in China and India but also in in Europe where air pollution has resulted in the premature death of 500,000 people, has become a worldwide scandal, wrote Lang. Population growth and growing cities are highlighting the problem, he added.
As a result, China and major European countries have called for the phasing out of conventional vehicles in favor of electric cars. “EVs are in the crosshairs as a solution for pollution,” wrote Lang.
The question is, can electric vehicles become cheap enough to answer the challenge?
Samsung and Tesla’s lithium batteries – the biggest cost in electric cars – are on track to costing around $100 (€88.24/CHF99.90) per kilowatt hour by 2020. Cost parity with conventional cars is expected when they reach around $138 (€121.80/CHF138) per kilowatt hour. Batteries, in other words, won’t be a major factor in pricing soon as more manufacturers perfect their technology.
Light chassis, more efficient power trains and, finally, advanced sensors and virtual connections between vehicles and transportation systems and autonomous driving will also make electric cars more efficient and, ultimately, more affordable.
“The demand and sophistication of vehicle electrification will intensify with the acceptance and expansion of autonomous driving,” Lang foresaw.
Image credit: Tesla Model 3 / Tesla