Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth has some bad news for motorists this week with comments suggesting that electric vehicles will not be falling in price any time soon.
The JLR boss believes that it will take three to five years for the costs of brand new electric cars to drop, mainly due to the current need for larger batteries to cope with a lack of charging points nationwide.
Speth thinks that, London aside, the paucity of charging points means that producing vehicles with larger batteries and hence longer ranges remain a necessity; there’s simply no way for motorists to be certain of reaching their destinations on a short battery range.
Once that is put in place, there will no longer be a need for larger batteries with high ranges, and hence prices can come down as manufacturers consolidate their range of vehicles and have much smaller battery costs.
Using Jaguar as an example, the company’s main production electric vehicle, the I-Pace, costs approximately £65,000 for its entry model; the car has a heavy 90 KWh battery which can achieve a theoretical range of over 290 miles.
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Future models may well have smaller, shorter range batteries, bringing down the cost, but this won’t be possible until there’s a much denser charging infrastructure and better spread of facilities for drivers.
Tesla vehicles, which have a similar range and luxury appeal, can also cost upwards of £30,000 and have high insurance policy costs, placing them firmly out of reach of most motorists. Even those looking to invest in second-hand cars can pay a hefty premium, especially for battery rental, while the lack of home and public charging points is a large deterrent to others.
The news will come as a setback to those members of the public, motor trade and government who are pushing for people to invest in electric cars. With diesel sales beginning to decline, there needs to be a strong investment in moving motorists onto cars running on cleaner technology.
The current costs and impracticality of charging the vehicles means that electric-driven motoring remains some way from gaining mass appeal or uptake at the present time.
Whatever the benefits of electric vehicles, be it cheaper long-term motoring, environmental considerations or just a new approach to getting from A to B, the mass uptake of such cars is still some way from taking hold.