Is the gasoline engine doomed? That's up to you.
Posted July 26
Updated July 27
Countries like France, Great Britain, China and India have set aggressive goals to phase out gasoline and diesel cars that will undoubtedly push the rest of the world towards greener cars.
The question is... How are you going to feel about that?
"[Electric] may be where the industry is going," said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with the automotive Web site Kelley Blue Book, "but it doesn't mean that's where consumers want to go."
So far, consumers have shown relatively little interest in electric, or even in hybrid cars, despite the fact that automakers are offering more and more of them. Electrified vehicles of all kinds currently make up only about 3% of all cars sold worldwide, according to data from IHS Markit.
Because of the high cost of batteries, electric and even hybrid vehicles generally cost considerably more than cars that run on gasoline alone. Besides that, gasoline stations are relatively abundant and it takes only a few minutes to refill a car's gas tank. Electric car charging stations are hard to find and, even if cities install lots of public charging stations, it can take hours to recharge.
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The challenge for countries like Great Britain and France will be to get customers to pay for more expensive cars when there will be readily available alternatives available. Even if every new car for sale is electric, there will still be plenty of used cars that burn good old gasoline. If drivers don't want to switch, they'll just keep older, gas-powered cars on the road longer, experts say.
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"All that happens is the costumer holds onto existing products for longer and you lose sales," said Jackson Neville, Chief Innovation Officer for the auto engineering consulting form Ricardo.
But just because consumers aren't ready to buy electric today doesn't mean they won't be ready by 2040, said Joern Buss, a consultant for Oliver Wyman's automotive unit. Things will change.
By 2040, he argues, automakers will have boosted their battery manufacturing capacity, which will ultimately bring down the cost of electric cars, making them more accessible and giving them longer range.
These countries want to ditch gas cars for electric
In fact, electric cars are, mechanically, far simpler than internal combustion cars, so they could ultimately cost less than the vehicles we drive today. Electric cars also cost much less to maintain and fuel, so they could quickly become far more desirable to drivers than internal combustion cars -- even hybrid ones.
The next thing you know, we'll all be driving electric cars because it will just make sense.