Electric Vehicle. Cost And Consumers’ Perspective
Today, the average cost of an vehicle in the United States is $28,000. Higher quality electric cars are more expensive than this and there are electric cars available at prices lower than the average; however, it can be expected that they are the relatively low performance types of electric vehicles. Despite various government initiatives, electric cars remain to be a small minority in terms of the global car sales. This is not enough to make a dent on the annual fuel consumption of gas, and global gas emission by the transport sector.
The absence of full policy support from government leaders will only hinder the growth of the electric car industry, thereby driving technology-related costs upward. Policy interventions are needed to increase the demand on electric cars to encourage car manufacturers to produce electric cars in larger volumes, which in turn decreases the overhead costs of manufacturing electricity-powered cars. These increases the car’s viability amid a competitive automotive industry.
Over the past five years, electric cars enjoyed better efficiency compared to their petrol-powered counterparts. This drove down running costs of electric cars amounting to a measly 20 cents on the dollar cost of running vehicles powered by gasoline in Europe and the United States. Every American using an electric-powered car has saved $2,000 over the last five years. This can be attributed to vehicle sizes and higher fuel mileage on petrol-powered car compensated by the fuel taxation break in Europe.
The most expensive electric vehicle in the market is available at a price of $105,000. It is called the Tesla Roadster and is manufactured by Tesla Motors. As you would expect, the Roadster offers great overall performance. It has a range of 244 miles, impressive acceleration times, and a 288 horsepower engine. In addition, the Tesla Roadster has a solar panel installed in its roof to help with re-charging the battery packs at no additional cost to the owner. Moreover, the Roadster’s cooling system can also be powered by the solar panel.
Another popular electric vehicle of the contemporary is produced by Tesla Motors as well. This vehicle is the Model S, which costs around $50,000. This car carries the same engine qualities as the Tesla Roadster. However, the car can accommodate up to seven people. The Model S also features quick battery charging, which lasts for 45 minutes only.
The Chevy Volt is another electric vehicle that is currently available on the market. This car costs $32,500 and has a range of 50 miles. Of course, the car’s lower price reflects its lower performance, but it is quite affordable to the average consumer.
Another more affordable electric car available on the market is the Nissan Leaf. This is Nissan’s venture into an all-electric car technology. The Nissan Leaf has a range of one hundred miles without needing to be re-charged. This car’s battery can be fully charged after 4 to 8 hours of charging on a 220-volt charging unit set at home. It is also possible to charge the Leaf for only 26 minutes by using DC quick charging posts. However, the 26-minute charging time will only charge 80% of the car’s total battery.
The high cost of energy storage is thought to be a primary reason why vehicle costs are high, and the range as to how far electric cars can go between charges are still limited. The lack of charging facilities pose another challenge to the growth of electric cars.
While most of these barriers still exist, supportive policy mechanisms, performance developments, and high efficiency have led to the steady increase of electric cars on the road. Needless to say however, the bourgeoning electric vehicle industry has paved the way for the availability of electric cars in the market. Options range from economy cars, with top speeds of 37 miles per hour, to race cars at 120-300 miles per hour.
In an effort to encourage citizens to purchase electric-powered cars and to meet emission targets by the end of the decade, many countries have started to offer tax breaks to consumers, including:
- China – Ownership or circulation taxes are not applied for electric vehicles of any kind (two-wheel or four-wheel vehicles).
- Denmark – Circulation taxes are deducted from tax payables for electric vehicles weighing not more than 2 tons.
- France – Electric cars used as company cars are given tax exemptions.
- Germany – Electric car owners are exempted from paying circulation taxes for ten years following registration.
- Japan – Electic vehicles are given automobile tax deductions and are exempted from annual tonnage tax.
- Netherlands – Zero-emission vehicles, including electric cars, are exempt from having to pay road tax.
- Sweden – Significant deductions are given on company car taxes if they are powered by electricity. Electric vehicles are given special exemptions from road taxes on the basis of CO2 emissions.
- United States – Some states apply regular annual tax fees while others provide exemptions.
The Consumers’ Perspective
Ultimately, trusting the relatively unknown future is what it takes for consumers to shift from the conventional cars to electric powered vehicles. Even today, most consumers know a pretty small amount of information about the new technology in the auto industry. Hence, the faster the information reaches the knowledge of the average consumer, the more rapidly the market may expand.
One of the major issues influencing the consumer perception is range anxiety. As mentioned earlier, electric vehicles can travel from 100-200 miles while the conventional cars top out at 300-400 miles. Although most people are concerned about this issue, it has been found in a study conducted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, that such concern is not fully rational.
The reason behind this is, based on the research, finding that in the United States average drivers travel no more than 35 miles a day. Such distance is indeed, within the capacity, even in the low performance electric vehicles.
The consumers’ concern about the mileage is largely due to the fact that the driving population has been so used to a travel technology where range is never a significant concern.
Aside from range, there are several other concerns consumers are raising when it comes to electric vehicles. Such skepticism can be largely understood considering that with electric vehicles, consumers are not just embracing a car’s new feature or product, but they are also adapting to an entirely new technology, infrastructure, and lifestyle.
Indeed, there are several people who remain adamant about shifting to electric vehicles. Nonetheless, there are others who jumped into the relatively novel car type from the onset of its introduction. The early adopters were profiled as similar to those who responded positively with hybrid cars. They are young high earners, who use their electric cars as a secondary vehicle.
Most of them are situated in Southern and Northern California, where charging infrastructures are set available and the weather is good. In addition to this, the majority of early adopters have private garages with an available electric power supply. They were also found to be politically active and are highly concerned about the country’s dependence to imported oil.
Moreover, the early majority was found to be environmentally sensitive and willing to pay for convenience.
Based on a global study, the majority of the driving population would be willing to pay less than $30,000 for an electric vehicle purchase. However, the majority of the consumers stated that they are not willing to pay the premium. The research also revealed that consumers tended to become interested in electric vehicles due to the increasing price of fuel.
Nonetheless, the majority viewed 8 hour-charging of an electric vehicle to be unacceptable for them.
Another study showed that there were three classifications of electric vehicle buyers in the United States. The first group was labeled theadvocates . Consumers in this particular group were completely dedicated to green initiatives and they comprised of 21% of the study’s population.
The second group was the moderates . Consumers in this group encompassed 66% of the studied population. They are the people who are committed to some green programs, at times. The last group was called the resisters. Consumers belonging to this group were found to be uninterested in even considering joining any green initiatives and they made up 13% of the sample population. In a study by the Bloomberg New Economy Fuel, it is shown that the three most important costs considered by consumers before deciding to own electric cars are: gasoline costs, maintenance costs, and battery costs.
The same study found that for consumers around the world to embrace electric vehicles, at least one of the four items below must happen:
1) Battery costs must start to go down.
2) Customers should realize that driving electric is the better car option.
3) Car manufacturers must be content with lower profit margins.
4) Government should provide incentives to drive down other related costs.
The Ultimate Guide for Understanding the Electric Car and What You Need
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