Back in 1886, when Carl Benz made the first gas engine-operated vehicle, it shocked the whole world. Fast forward nearly 14 decades since the first inception of four-wheel gas-operated vehicles, electric vehicles have entered our markets. At first, Electric vehicles, or EVs in short, seemed to only be in Sci-fi movies. But now, in most developed countries, you see EVs everywhere. But how did this sudden boom of EVs in our lives happen?
In 2006, Tesla CEO Elon Musk first revealed the Tesla Roadster, a two-door sports car, to the general public; it didn’t captivate much attention as people then didn’t trust the lithium-ion-based battery-powered electric vehicle technology. Whereas a year earlier, Bugatti unveiled its gas-guzzling 16cylinders engine, which people seemed to love a lot.
Though Tesla received some orders for that vehicle, the first unit rolled off the factory floors and was delivered in February 2008. Next came Nissan Motor Corporation; they hyped up the EV game with their Leaf in 2010, and it was a 4-door 5-seater practical electric vehicle, unlike the Tesla Roadster. Surprisingly the Leaf sold a lot, and to this date, Nissan still produces the Leaf.
After that, Tesla unveiled the Model S, a full-sized sedan that opened the door for all EVs of today. It was a practical car with 5 seats and proper cargo space. It didn’t emit harmful gases, and it didn’t empty people’s pockets during charging. With its 60kwh battery pack, it could go up to a range of 400km. Slowly but surely, people started to get drawn to this car. Tesla also upgraded the battery pack to a 100kwh afterward, which had a range of roughly 600km.
No one but time can tell whether the transition from internal combustion engines to battery-powered vehicles will occur. But based on what we see today, it is heading that way. Many manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon and producing electric vehicles, such as Ford, Toyota, Honda, Porsche, and many other reputed brands.
EVs can give you exhilarating performances like 0-100km in less than 2 seconds while being environment-friendly. It is also economical as there are fewer parts than in a conventional car. But it also tends to break less and doesn’t need the general fluid change services that a conventional car needs, saving money there.
Gasoline, a natural product, will one day end as it’s a finite resource. So battery-powered vehicles need to take over the world. The governments of many nations also think EVs are the future, as European Parliament and the council said that all cars and vans will be zero emission by 2035. China will also ban the sale of fueled vehicles by 2030. The country also provides subsidies to people who buy electric vehicles, which has promoted the growth of electric vehicles there a lot.
The EV market size is increasing at warp speed in the world. If manufacturers use this opportunity wisely, it could be a gold mine. According to EVvolumes, an electric vehicle sales database, 10.5 million new BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicle) and PHEVs ( Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) were delivered in 2022, a 55% growth from the previous year. Year on year, EV sales in Canada and the United States climbed by 48%. Even crisis-stricken China saw an 82% yearly growth in sales. Norway now boasts the most electric automobiles globally, owing to the government’s lower taxes and incentives for purchasing an electric vehicle.
According to the Norwegian Road Federation, in 2022, 79.3% of new cars in Norway were BEVs. The government will likely accomplish its goal of having all vehicles sold in Norway be electric by 2025.
Despite increasing demand for EVs and their wide-scale production, EVs are still more expensive than traditional engine-based cars. According to INSIDEEVs, a news site for EVs, an average C-segment ICE sedan costs about 14,000 euros to produce. At the same time, an EV of the same segment costs roughly 20,200 euros to roll off the factory floors. That’s an extra 6200 euros.
The main culprit for this cost difference is the battery pack. Battery production requires expensive raw materials such as lithium and cobalt, and the production process is complex and involves a lot of energy. However, battery production costs are expected to decrease in the coming years due to technological advancements and increased demand.
The manufacturing cost for producing the shell/exterior of the car is also more expensive than ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars due to requiring different welding techniques and using lighter materials such as aluminum and carbon fiber. As EVs become more popular, the economy of scale will improve, and the cost of production is expected to decline. However, ICE cars still have a significant advantage in economies of scale due to their long history of production and established supply chains.
Considering all these initiatives, EVs truly have great potential for the future. But, for certain people who enjoy the scream of powerful engines—which, to most motorheads, sounds like a symphony, it’s not good news. A mechanical connection between a man and a machine appears only in internal combustion engine cars.
Unlike an EV, which lacks these features, each gear shifts, and each firing cylinders of a car excite the driving experience. Most EVs are as quiet as church mice and some pump in artificial audio through speakers. Surely engine powered vehicles are a dying breed, but whether they remain or not, only time will tell.