Electric vehicles to kill gas powered cars? Don’t bet on it

As part of its commitment to the Paris climate accords, France will prohibit the sale of new petroleum-powered vehicles in 2040.

Nicolas Hulot, France’s ecology minister, says the goal will be “tough” for French carmakers to meet. But Peugeot, Citroen and Renault already are racing to get electric vehicles to market. 

On the demand side, France’s plan includes subsidies to help low-income families abandon their gas-guzzlers and switch to smog-free cars.

By some other countries’ standards, France is behind the NEV (new energy vehicle) trend. India, for example, facing serious pollution problems, is considering a ban on new petrol-powered vehicles by 2030. Norway’s target is 2025. Pollution-plagued China is heavily subsidizing NEVs with its ambitious “pedal to the metal” program. From Madrid to London and Mexico City, cities across the globe are considering their own gas-guzzling bans.

TRENDPOST: While electric ambitions are big, battery power technology is limited. Yes, there has been progress in increasing battery effectiveness. However, fossil fuels retain more energy longer, and at a cheaper cost.

While demand for lithium-ion batteries will double within the next decade, the effectiveness of electric-vehicle batteries will not dramatically increase. Despite decades of research in trying to generate more power from batteries while keeping them safe, the complexities of electrochemistry limits their performance and extends their time to reach the market.

Thus, NEV sales, now only 1 percent of sales in the US, Europe and China, are estimated to hit only 2 percent within the next decade. 

Another remaining barrier to permanently saying adieu to carbon-belching vehicles is cost. In the absence of scientific/technological breakthroughs, they will remain high. 

And on a practical “where do I charge my vehicle” level, there are minimal refueling options when your battery starts dying. There’s a lack of cheap, quick ways to refuel on the go.

TRENDFORECAST: Batteries? Those things in your flashlight? How far can this 1800’s technology advance? We forecast that NEV advancement will excel when it breaks past the old-fashioned battery pack. 

And, the more electric vehicles that hit the road, the higher they will be taxed by state governments, because while they use the roadways, they don’t pay gas tax. 

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