The problem with accurately forecasting the future of electric vehicles is that there seems to be so much riding on them. With the potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as our dependence on foreign oil, there are those who want EVs to succeed so badly that their vision of the technology and the market becomes clouded. Former Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby has been critical of unrealistic government expectations for EVs in the past, and we have recently seen that the US Department of Energy has had to concede that they won’t reach their goal of having 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015. As Autocar reports, Jacoby, no longer at Volvo, has again voiced skepticism over EV viability.
As Jacoby rather bluntly put it ““I have made myself unpopular before by saying this, but I do not believe they have a mainstream application in the foreseeable future. The reasons are clear: the price, the uncertainty of what happens to the batteries as they lose charge-holding capacity and the emotional distrust of a car that can leave you stranded on a highway in traffic and 40-degree (104 degrees Fahrenheit) heat are all problems. Think how you feel when your mobile phone runs out of charge and there’s nothing you can do – the feeling of sitting in a car that has run out of charge would be much worse.” Adding ““Some countries have adopted them energetically, and legislation means that some niche applications will take off, such as with short distance taxis, but overall I do not believe electric vehicles will have a role in the next 10-15 years.”
A grim outlook as it may be, Jacoby doesn’t see every form of electric propulsion as a dead end. He went on to voice support for hybrids, saying that it will be the evolution of this technology that will become dominant in his opinion. It’s obviously impossible to say whether he is right, but current sales figures of pure EV models do seem to suggest a much slower buildup of momentum than what had previously been believed.