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How do you feel about buying an electric vehicle? Nervous?

Imagine then the boardroom discussions underway at major car manufacturers as they make decisions on investing in the electric vehicle (EV) market—where profit margins are far less than with their cash cow, the internal combustion engine (ICE).

Originally published in the ESI Africa weekly newsletter on 2019/09/25

It has taken a bit of time, but a recent spate of announcements is set to change the vehicle manufacturing market forever.

Mercedes-Benz is among the car manufacturers that have decided to end the era of their internal combustion engine. According to a company executive attending the Frankfurt International Motor Show in September, the firm does not plan to develop any more ICEs after the rollout of a new four-cylinder motor, which is underway.

It’s a significant step on the road to a transportation revolution, but stopping new ICE development doesn’t necessarily mean a shorter timeframe to when ICE sales and operations will cease to exist.

The majority of people worldwide are in a transportation comfort zone. They are familiar with and rely on engines requiring a fossil fuel source.

Meanwhile, the ICE’s less popular cousin, the electric vehicle, has a clean, silent motor and the route to an EV majority has many speedbumps including naysayers espousing the disadvantages.

These include the initial outlay for an EV, the lack of EV infrastructure, the cost of electricity (the fuel), and the challenges around battery storage.

Looking into the battery challenge, I came across an article about a seven-year-old Tesla Model S that apparently has a 98% battery capacity. According to the owner, when the battery was brand new, it achieved 383km on a 90% charge. Now, seven years later, a 90% charge gives 376km.

The highway to modernising transportation is becoming congested!

There is Jaguar’s pure-electric I-Pace model, which won the World Car of the Year, World Green Car and World Car Design of the Year titles at the New York International Auto Show back in April.

While Daimler’s development chief, Markus Schaefer, said the company has no plans to develop a next-generation combustion engine and their focus will be on new electric powertrains.

Others on the mark are Volkswagen, Honda, and BMW who have all showcased electric vehicles with a current average price tag of $33,000.

In Africa, Jaguar Land Rover is arguably leading the way in terms of strategically understanding the necessity for infrastructure to be in place to facilitate the EV revolution.

As car manufacturers bet their futures on electric vehicles, whose marketability is untested, private vehicle owners must also conduct thorough research before making a purchase – especially around their local EV infrastructure.

In its favour, consider that EVs have fewer moving parts and require less maintenance…does this make you less nervous about making the transportation transition?

Join me on 22 October to continue this conversation around the EV market in our next live webinar.

Until next week.
Nicolette