Challenges facing the electric car industry- update

Challenges facing the electric car industry- update

Editor Wakesho

While there are some roadblocks in EV uptake, some of the biggest ones are in the minds of the end-users. Here are some of the factors that prevent some people from adopting electric vehicles.

Battery technology

The major challenge is costs. Battery technology is expensive, and because batteries in electric cars need to be able to hold massive amounts of charge to make the cars practical for most drivers, they have to be built using expensive materials, most of which are tough to procure. Because electric cars cost a lot to build, they also cost more than comparable gasoline cars to buy. That makes consumers reluctant to adopt them. It's a free-range-chicken-and-organic-egg problem. Electric cars could be less expensive if electric car makers could ramp up production volume and use economies of scale. But, for that to happen, lots of consumers need to buy electric cars, something that likely won't happen without prices coming down.

Range anxiety

Not everyone is sold on the idea that electric cars make sense for their life. That's because of range anxiety. Electric car makers are finding that people are worried about how far they can travel in electric cars before their batteries peter out. In a gasoline-powered car, running low on gas is really no big deal; just pull into a gas station, fill up and in about five minutes you're back on the road. Charging and electric car isn't quite so simple. Most production electric cars about to hit the market can only go about 100 miles (160.9 kilometers) on a single charge. And, unless you have access to a specialized charging station (which are currently in short supply), getting a full charge takes around eight hours. While most people drive less than 40 miles (64.4 kilometers) a day and could easily charge their electric cars overnight, electric cars still aren't useful for road trips. And, let's say you drive 80 miles (128.7 kilometers) in a day, come home and find out that there's an unexpected emergency and you need to drive another 30 miles (48.3 kilometers)? Consumers thinking of situations like that make for a big hurdle that electric cars still have to clear.

Car prices

Electric car prices are higher than petrol or diesel-fueled cars. The reason for this is the cost of the battery, which needs to be more powerful in order to increase the driving distance.If there were a greater demand for EVs, battery sales volumes would drive down the price, but since the price is high, the demand remains low.

Having said that, there is a good chance that technology will allow future batteries to be cheaper, bringing the price of battery-powered vehicles down. Also, the cost of refueling an electric car is much lower than running a car on petrol or diesel. These savings do offset the initial cost of the vehicle.

Charging stations

Charging station are another challenge, they can alleviate a number of concerns consumers have about electric cars. Electric cars represent a vast change to the country's infrastructure. While some charging stations are out in trial phases, most charging still needs to be at home, in a garage. That means that people who live in shared housing or use street parking will likely have the hardest time charging. Of course, if infrastructure was improved and more charging stations were available, more people would buy electric cars. But, of course, changes to infrastructure won't be made until more people buy electric cars and call for it.It's the chicken-and-the-egg thing again.


The assumption was that the EV charging infrastructure would be the responsibility of private companies. However, some companies are reluctant to invest just yet as the profit margins aren’t high enough. It’s the same problem with EV prices, where the uptake relies on the profits but the profits depend on higher uptake.

Whilst this is a slow process, companies are starting to get more involved as there is a chance that in areas where there is low profit, the Government might decide to step in.

Not completely zero-carbon

There is an argument that, while EVs are being promoted as being zero-carbon, that’s not quite true. They do produce non-exhaust emissions and are fueled using electricity, which is not yet completely from renewable sources.

Even if it were, there are still environmental factors to be considered. The batteries are made using minerals, which need to be mined. Deteriorated batteries need to be dismantled.All of these processes have a significant carbon footprint, which means electric vehicles aren’t completely zero-carbon.

However, there is no denying that EVs significantly reduce the amount of exhaust emissions, making urban air safer to breathe.

To sum up the challenges, it seems there are still a few challenges facing EV adoption. However, some of the biggest problems are based on customer perception, and others are chicken-or-egg type problems. This is bound to change in the future, making EV ownership much easier for everyone.