Electric cars are the future, but will they ever rule the road?

Michael James

A Mitsubishi electric vehicle at the charging station in Concord, California.


Electric cars are the automotive future when it comes to personal transportation. How quickly, however, will your current vehicle be obsolete? Will an electric car be the first vehicle your children or grandchildren drive?

Carscoops reported in 2015 four European countries and several states were planning to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. The list included Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Vermont. International locations included Quebec, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands.

A Mitsubishi electric vehicle at the charging station in Concord, California.
A Mitsubishi electric car at the charging station in Concord, California. The vehicle is now defunct after poor sales. Image © James Raia/2012.

Earlier this month, China also announced it would ban the production and sale of gas and diesel-fueled vehicles. France has also pledged to stop the sale of these vehicles by 2040.

Meanwhile, Germany is pushing for a ban on gas-powered cars throughout Europe and Oslo, Norway is nearing the goal it established two years ago that gas-powered vehicles would not be permitted in the city in 2019.

Many automobile-related service industries will have to adapt before it is convenient to own an electric car. For now, however, it’s logical and reasonable electric vehicle owners still return to dealers when service for their vehicles is required.

Many mechanics likely won’t know how to repair electric vehicles until demand requires it.

Another consideration is emergency service. In the past two years, I’ve needed to call roadside assistance three times. Once was when a door was left ajar and drained the car battery overnight. On another occasion was visiting a friend in the north when I didn’t realize I needed a block heater to ensure my car would start cold the next morning. And once because my old battery couldn’t take the strain of a night with the radio on at the drive-in.

I was able to call on my local tow company and it got me running and back on the road quickly. These companies’ interests in, and ability to serve, electric cars will likely also be a demand. I certainly don’t want to be a frontrunner and find the normally easy fix of a dead battery now needs a tow because the towing industry knowledge isn’t available for mobile assistance.

Beyond everyday challenges, larger issues still need consideration. Specifically, the increased cost electric cars compared to vehicles with gas-powered engines. The median range currently for electric vehicles is about 100 miles.

That’s adequate for a commuter with 30-minute drive to work. But for anyone with a busier lifestyle that may include transporting children to soccer practice other family responsibilities and an active lifestyle, a limited range electric vehicle isn’t sufficient.

Also, consider maintenance costs. It’s been suggested maintaining an electric car is less expensive except for replacing the battery. It’s the primary reason electronic vehicles have a higher price than their electric siblings.

Prices of electric batteries vary, but $6,000 is a likely price tag. Why consider spending that amount with a car with has 100,000 miles on the engine (assuming that’s the expected battery life?)

Are these cars likely to remain on the road in the hands of original owners? Or, is there going to be a huge influx of used electric cars traded into dealers? And, if so, will the dealer increase the selling price because they’ve had to replace the battery?

The resale value of electric vehicles is questionable. Won’t used car buyers still opt for the economy of an older, gas-fueled vehicle?

Everyone will drive electric cars in the future and will wonder why it took so long to dump current fuel-burning options? But it’s not likely to occur soon. The advancement of electric cars is worthy, but the purchase of electric vehicles will not be the next choice for the majority of new buyers inthe near future.


Article Last Updated: July 27, 2023.

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