With increased concern over climate change and with governments the world over focusing more heavily on how to decrease CO2 emissions, electric cars have become the talk of the town, or auto industry, these days. It's a new and exciting time in vehicle innovation but, as Tim Schwanen at the BBC points out, we're still a long way off from serious integration of the electric vehicle.
As it is, sales of electric cars are skyrocketing. In the UK alone, according to Schwanen, sales were up 70% last year. However, even with this increase in sales, the market share of electric vehicles is still incredibly small, with only 1.1% of cars sold in the UK last year being electric.
These statistics are quite surprising. The buzz around electric vehicles has been huge, and while such a large increase in sales is encouraging, the fact that electric vehicles still represent such a small part of the market limits the impact they will be able to have on the environment. So what's holding electric vehicles back from making a bigger impact?
As Schwanen sees it, there are five major challenges that face electric vehicles, challenges that impact consumer choices in the present and that will impact the way forward, as well. These challenges include a limited amount of choice for consumers in the UK, a lack of certainty on what technology will make the most long-lasting investment, and the question of who will cover the cost of further integration.
"Electric vehicles are a crucial part of the UK's attempts to drastically reduce transport's emissions. Yet they are no panacea. A large shift away from motorised [sic] vehicles is the only way to fundamentally reduce transport's contribution to climate change, however hard and politically unpalatable that may be."
So far, despite the understanding that electric vehicles are crucial in lowering CO2 emissions, both governments and businesses have been reluctant to make the sort of commitments to change that could see electric vehicles take a bigger share of the market. The challenges that face this new form of transportation are certainly not insurmountable, but they will certainly require more action if they are to become more widely used.
For a more complete rundown of the five challenges facing electric vehicles according to Schwanen, check out the original article on the BBC.