There is no doubt that consumer demand for electric vehicles has soared, with many also planning to make the transition to reduce their carbon footprint. Heycar reported that 1.61 million new cars were registered and of those, 16.6% were electric vehicles and 6.3% were plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are now a close second to petrol powered vehicles.
However, as of today, according to the Center for Sustainable Systems, about 79% of the nation’s energy still comes from fossil fuels and only 12.5% comes from renewable sources. In China, this number jumps to two thirds. Even the most carbon-conscious countries, like the Netherlands, generate 29% of its electricity from coal. Across the world, around 37% of the world’s electricity comes from power plants that burn coal.
We asked our MOVE community whether their next car will be electric and a staggering 62% of votes said that yes, it would be. Only 38% said that it wouldn’t. So, what is preventing people from making that transition?
While the demand for electric vehicles increases, still many drivers are concerned about how far their batteries will take them. Range anxiety is therefore one of the most significant barriers preventing EV adoption.
The drive reported that 58% of drivers are afraid that they will run out of power before they are able to charge their vehicle. Additionally, Volvo has also reported that 58% of their respondents cited range anxiety as a barrier to purchasing an electric vehicle. The car manufacturer also found that 65% of EV drivers have said that their initial range anxiety faded away after a few months of usage.
On average, most electric cars can travel an average range of 300km on a single charge which exceeds what the average driver would need. A study conducted in Europe revealed that 8 out of 10 drivers travelled less than 100 km a day, meaning that a lot of cars have progressed far enough technologically to travel further than the average person does daily, on a single charge.
Models from global manufacturers such as Mercedes, Tesla and BMW can travel up to 400km on a single charge. Now EV owners can ‘refill’ their batteries as much as any other vehicle. With more and more electric vehicles stretching their reach on a single charge, EV owners should no longer fear their car not being able to make long distance journeys.
Lack of Infrastructure
Range anxiety also finds itself hand in hand with problems with infrastructure. In December 2022 Zap Map reported that at the end of December 2022, there were 37261 electric vehicle charging points across the UK, across 22049 charging locations. This shows a 31% increase in charging devices since 2021.
In the U.S, there are around 140,000 public EV chargers distributed across almost 53,000 charging stations which is still outnumbered by the 145,000 gas fueling stations in the country. Furthermore, the world economic forum has also highlighted that 29% of all chargers are in California. This shows the uneven distribution throughout the country and while it can be accessible to some, others will have to travel miles before reaching a charge point.
EV buyers want reassurance that they will be able to charge their vehicle conveniently, but with the increase in drivers growing, the competition for public chargers grows evermore.
In Europe alone, according to Mckinsey’s EV charging report, by 2030 the EU would need to scale up from its 340,000 charging stations to the estimated 3.4 million to meet the needs of its future EV charging fleet. Alternatively, the report also showed that around 1,600 installations of public charging point a week in 2021 would need to grow to more than 10,000 a week in 2030 to meet charging targets.
Although EVs will be able to travel large distances on a single charge, in many places across the world, many will not have access to charging infrastructure. Public charging points will need to be placed in convenient locations and local grids will have to be amended to support multiple vehicles charging simultaneously.
Not enough EVs being produced
For the world to meet its net-zero goals 2 billion electric vehicles will need to be made. However, due to current geopolitical issues around the world, lithium supply chains are facing increasing stress to keep up with demand.
Not only is surging demand a key challenge facing lithium demand, but resources are concentrated in a few places across the globe. Future developments of batteries or manufacturing methods would be the key to alleviating lithium shortages.
An average EV contains about 8 kilograms of lithium according to figures from the US Department of Energy, but it has been estimated that we could face lithium shortages as early as 2025. Meaning that the need for alternative power sources has never been needed more.
The World Economic Forum has reported that global EV purchases jumped to 6.6 million in 2021 from 3 million a year earlier meaning that they made up 9% of the market. This highlights that more and more people are making the transition to vehicles, but due to supply chain issues, many cannot get their hands on EVs anytime soon.
Express reported that customers looking to place an order in January 2023 will be waiting for an average of 28 weeks when anticipating their new electric vehicle. While this is shorter than back in October, many are still pausing purchases out of fear of higher energy costs and costs of living worries.
Production is still recovering from before the pandemic, which means that demand is slow. Governments and local authorities around the globe need to face the growing issues of infrastructure limitations. There is still much confusion within the EV community about the features and capabilities of electric vehicles which prevent many people from making the transition.
For some, it is the simple reason that electric vehicles are just too expensive. Manufacturers are making effort to debunk myths of high energy costs and educating people on the long term savings an EV can bring.
There are still many barriers facing EV adoption globally. If you’re on the lookout for a new car then an electric model can be a great option. They’re cheaper to run and maintain, and they’re greener, helping you do your part to tackle the climate emergency.