The evolution of electric car will be gradual. A step by step process that is starting to have less obstacles each day.
Where are we now?
It’s getting harder to make excuses to not build electric cars.
The truth is, excluding Tesla Motors, automakers have been purposely making crippled electric cars by design because they don’t want them. They do it by using old battery tech and lying about costs.
Most of the state of the art batteries are used in portable electronics, like smartphones or tablets since traditional automakers don’t want them. It’s sad to see traditional automakers use batteries as excuses to not develop electric cars with better range. The fact is the energy density of the cells used in most electric cars is very low, around 300 Wh/L, while it’s around 700 Wh/L in Tesla Motors current battery’s cells.
Regarding price, I’ve been fighting the battery high price myth for a long time. Gladly, GM recently admitted the cell cost per kWh for the Chevrolet Bolt will be $145. There is no excuse to make it expensive.
You can see that if traditional automakers wanted they could build affordable electric cars with double the range of what they have been reluctantly selling. An affordable 200 miles range electric car will be seen as a real alternative to gas cars and that’s a threat to the status quo.
Yet, sooner or later traditional automakers will stop fighting the inevitable and embrace electric cars or Tesla Motors will have open road to be dominant. The first step is using better batteries and lowering prices.
Same car, better battery.
Are you waiting for the latest battery breakthrough? You don’t have to, better batteries already exist, automakers just have to use them.
In next months we’ll see Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf get batteries with more capacity, improving the electric range.
This will be a stopgap until the second generation electric cars arrive.
I even predict that if Nissan doesn’t launch the second generation Leaf with the 60 kWh battery before the Chevrolet Bolt, they’ll launch a 48 kWh for the current generation Leaf to gain time. The Renault-Nissan Alliance will not let GM take the lead.
Since first generation electric cars were built with limited fast charging capability, I expect to see some of them getting at max 48 kWh battery upgrades. More than this will be introduced in second generation electric cars with 120 kW fast charging capability.
In late 2016, new generation electric cars will arrive. These cars will have 120 kW fast charging capability and batteries with 48 kWh minimum.
When this happens Fuel Cell supporters, like Toyota or Honda will admit defeat and embrace battery electric cars. Every major automaker will have at least one model that is electric. More cars to choose from will increase demand and decrease prices.
With more automakers making electric cars, some will learn that to improve range, weight and aerodynamics are better than bigger and heavier batteries. Battery capacity will stabilize at around 100 kWh and fast charging at 200 kW, no need to go behind that. Energy density improvements will be used to make batteries lighter and smaller. With efficiency improvements a 100 kWh battery will be enough for a 800 km real range.
By 2018, PHEVs will start losing ground. They’ll be seen as complex, expensive to run, maintain and to buy cars. The depreciation of first generation electric cars will be at its highest.
By 2020, electric cars will be more popular than hybrids and new generations of buyers will not even consider buying a car that isn’t electric. Some small traditional automakers like Mitsubishi or Smart will sell more electric than gas cars.
Companies like Kreisel Electric will start selling improved batteries for first generation cars. The depreciation of electric cars will start to be slower.
By 2025, gas cars will be popular only in museums. They are prohibit for circulation. The revolution is done.