Within my lifetime, electric cars went from being a curiosity, to a novelty, to a pop culture icon. However, most people are still buying hybrids or cars with internal combustion (IC) engines.
Will fully electric cars ever dominate the market?
The answer is yes, according to Burkhard Goeschel, automotive industry thought leader and head of the FIA Commission for Alternative Powertrain technologies.
He explains that electric cars have too many consumer, environmental and industrial perks to ignore. One day soon, these benefits will drive the demand.
Automotive Electrification Brings Many Benefits to the Industry
The benefits electric cars bring to the consumer and environment are clear. They enable new features and reduce carbon emissions.
Electric cars also have benefits that can help the automotive industry.
“The package of the car is quite flat and open, so it is easy to load and does not contain many of the components of a traditional vehicle. There is an electric motor, a battery in the floor and a drive line from the motor and that’s it,” explains Goeschel.
The simplification of the car’s interiors is a boon for manufacturers and designers. It gives them the freedom to place components in new ways. This can lead to further optimization of automotive designs that aren’t possible with an IC engine.
“For example,” says Goeschel, “a car could be designed so passengers can walk in from the front and traverse to the rear. It is easy to handle. And, from a manufacturing standpoint, it can be produced in a totally different way from cars that exist today — it can be made on demand.”
Given the advantages electric cars bring to industry, there is an incentive to push the environmental perks of the vehicle into the minds of the consumer. “As long as electric cars are sexy, they generate emotions and sales,” says Goeschel.
As these sales increase, automotive manufacturers can start simplifying their production facilities in accordance with their simplified auto designs.
Why Electric Cars Have Yet to Dominate the Market
So, if electric cars are so much better than IC and hybrid cars then why have they not dominated the market?
In this video, Goeschel explains how the lack of a charging system infrastructure could hold back adoption of the electric car:
“It is the battery and charging system,” says Goeschel. “Battery systems are developing, but charging requires an infrastructure, so most car manufacturers have collaborated to build up a new community to push a common charging system forward.”
As soon as cars are able to go further on a single charge, their popularity will increase.
Additionally, once everyone can charge their car in a few minutes at every street corner, the biggest drawback will disappear. As Goeschel implies above, this can only happen if the automotive industry creates a common charging system.
So, when will electric cars finally beat the IC engine? Find out by reading the full Goeshel interview: Electric Vehicles — A Thought Leader’s Perspective. Or, if you want to learn how ANSYS is helping innovators develop new charging infrastructure, read: Charging Ahead.