Life Science & Technology

The future of cars is electric–but will governments play their part?

Electric cars have a pivotal role in an eco-friendly Earth. But the market alone may not do enough. Rebates can do a lot to encourage this much-needed change.

Internal combustion engines are contributing significantly to the world’s pollution and according to many respected scientific studies, the car is leading ultimately to global warming. Electric vehicles are one of the ways we may help mitigate the effects of our rampant expansion on earth and will help to fix these problems that are occurring by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

Car manufacturer companies like Tesla and General Motors are leading the charge–so to speak–in offering consumers viable replacements for the current gasoline-powered vehicles we all use. The biggest challenge car makers face is trying to turn the general consensus away from the dreaded “range anxiety“–the feeling people have when they believe the car will run out of charge before the destination is reached. The technology has now developed to the point where electric cars can replace a gas-powered cars for everyday use with no drastic change in lifestyles.

In my own family we decided to help in our own small measure by purchasing a Chevy BOLT. With a range of 350 to 400 kilometres per charge,it serves perfectly doing daily driver duty. In addition, the $50,000 Cdn manufacturer’s suggested retail price was offset by a provincial rebate of $5,000 here in British Columbia. Having driven around in it for nearly a year, I can attest to its amazingly modern technological feel. GM Korea partnered with LG Chemical to produce this clean slate vehicle and they’ve managed to do something that most car makers still need to figure out: produce an electric vehicle people would want to buy.

Tesla has recently announced that their Model 3 price will drop to around $35,000 USD early next year. Ultimately, other manufacturers will also drop the price of their cars, making electric cars much easier to obtain for the general public. This will contribute significantly to the widespread use of electric cars across North America and the world, bringing us just a step closer to all cars being Eco-friendly.

If you ask what the future of electric cars looks like, well, here is the answer. Earlier this month at the Paris Motor Show, Audi unveiled the e-tron. It will start production in late 2019 and will cost up to $80,000 USD. Jaguar also showcased their new I-pace which will be hitting the market later in the fall. Other anticipated all-electric vehicles to make the market in the next few years  also coming in 2019, and there’s actually two models, the Porsche Taycan and its sibling, the Cross Turismo, both  costing up to $100,000 USD. Those are some expensive cars but there are plenty more affordable models to be released in the near future. The market for electric cars needs to fit people’s demands, both expensive and inexpensive.

One of the problems electric cars are facing is that some governments are dropping rebates they had previously offered to buyers to reduce initial cost. In California the rebate is still intact while in Ontario the $14,000 Cdn rebate was temporarily removed. So as some governments are promoting electric cars, others see them not as an environmental benefit but as a subsidy for the rich. The Ontario Superior Court agrees with Tesla who has recently sued the Ontario government for denying customer incentives by only targeting direct sellers–Tesla is the only car manufacturer in the world that is one. This resulted in the rebate being reinstated.

If these problems continue, it could slow down the demand for electric cars at a time where we need people to see them as a solution rather than an expensive toy for the rich. True change seems to occur organically where something better comes along to replace the problematic original item, and that seems to happen faster–obviously–when its profitable. Preaching environmental change is hard, but wrapping that change in a shiny Tesla helps immensely.

Cover Image: Painter06

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