A fully electric FCA 500 model was recently announced , which finally welcomes also FCA in the arena of e-vehicles.
On TV I have recently watched a programme on e-mobility describing some new electric and/or hybrid vehicles launched by Renault (e-Clio), a new e-Mini and the strategic plan of BMW to have soon 21 cars electric available in their catalogue and in the next years also one car powered by Hydrogen.
All these pieces of information sound encouraging to fight the portion of climate change caused by transport emissions. However, there are three major issues that dampen my enthusiasm:
1) The most obvious: the cost of electric vehicles. For examples, the new FCA e-500 price – with subsidies – ranges from EUR 19,900 to over EUR 25,000 (in Italy)
2) The little autonomy. Apart from the smart and expensive Teslas, electric cars don’t have much autonomy (usually about 200 km) by default. Besides, this value is heavily dependent on the driving style, air conditioning and heating on/off, headlights on/off, etc.. Although electric cars have a utility installed that informs the driver about the next charging station (see point 3)) when needed, there is a common perception of not being able to reach chosen destination with one batteries charge, if that is beyond the city borders
3) The charging stations. In theory, there shouldn’t be any problem about autonomy as when the charge goes below a threshold, the onboard navigating system would guide the car towards to the nearest charging station. However, this is when the problems arise: users often complain about finding charging stations that don’t work or have plugs not compatible with the car socket or the charging capacity is a relatively low voltage, meaning longer charging time. Sometimes too, charging points are not accessible due to the presence of unauthorised vehicles parked.
Combining all three points above, the final picture is not very much in favour of purchasing an electric vehicles. Probably, other business models should be designed in order to offer clients a sort of long-term rent where one signs a contract with a provider/broker and is then entitled to have a brand-new e-vehicle by paying a monthly fee that also includes the cost of charging the vehicle both at home and on the road.
By the way, in this newsletter we report an article (The Unsustainability of the Electric Car) commenting that, according to some studies, the use of electric vehicles wouldn’t reduce emissions as much as planned. Gosh, this changes everything!
As we can understand, the topic is hot with no definitive answers yet.
EPN Consulting Founder & CEO