The Jump from Niche Market to the Only Car on the Market
There have been many great leaps in automotive history, from performance and handling to safety measures, the automobile has come a long way in just over a century. But over the years one thing has stayed to same, the internal combustion engine, taking fossil fuels from the earth and igniting them under compression to produce raw horsepower.
That's all about to change in the next twenty to twenty-five years with France and Britain announcing 2040 as their goal to have purely electric vehicles sold, with many countries soon to follow suit. Currently the UK has new car sales of just over 4% for alternative fuels. And it seems the automakers are on board with this plan as many have made their own goals, such as Volvo pledging to have its fleet of vehicles either fully electric or hybrid by 2019.
But what does this mean for the rest of the world? The United States is the largest market for new vehicle sales, and with Donald Trump recently pulling out of the Paris Agreement, it's unclear if the automakers or the government will lead the push to electric on this side of the pond. Ford is planning to have hybrid F-150’s and Mustangs by 2020 along with a fully electric SUV with an estimated range of at least 300 miles. And Chevrolet already has a number of electric offerings out to market.
The advancement of battery technology is driving down the cost of electric vehicles daily. Tesla is pushing for smaller, cheaper batteries with larger capacity, as shown in their new Model 3. The upgraded Long Range Model 3 will see 310 mile range with a $44,000 price tag, where the standard model will see just 220 mile range but at a $35,000 price tag making it a viable option for a much larger consumer base.
Like most changes in the automotive world, the racing world is taking notice. Most major teams are focusing their attention and more importantly their money on hybrid and electric race cars. The push from these race teams drive innovation that eventually filters its way down to consumer vehicles. This will drive battery and electric motor performance giving us faster more efficient EV.
What this means for the petrol head in twenty years is anybody's guess, but with companies designing luxury and performance electric vehicles it leaves the door open for the enthusiast. Will gas and diesel become harder to come by as prices skyrocket? Will this kill the aftermarket and performance worlds? Only time will tell but I'm sure car culture won't let the gas engine disappear without a fight.