A few years ago, big bosses of automotive industry told us that electric cars would not be feasible because of the low mileage caused by unripe battery technology. Elon Musk packed many many battery cells in his Tesla cars and achieved a moderate mileage per charge. Then we heard that battery life is bad and the consumer has to change the battery every few years. Later we known that Toyota has used a battery management strategy for its Prius and have a warranty of 10 years.
One thing left is the charging time for a electric car (or plugin hybrid car) which is a bit long. Some cool proposals are popping up, e.g. battery exchanging station instead of charging station, inductive charging on a long segment of roads or behind traffic lights, etc. Many drivers also do not mind to charge their electric cars during the night and drive 300 km a day.
Furthermore, each and every car manufacturer can make electric cars and each has made a few. So, electric cars are ready for the market, right?
Somehow, they all suddenly jump into the wagon of self-driving cars: OEM’s like GM (Super Cruise), Nissan (ProPilot), Mercedes(Drive Pilot), BMW, VW, Audi, Ford (Argo AI), Tesla, many suppliers, Continental, Mobileye, Delphi, and some “outsiders”, such as Google (Waymo), Uber, Intel, Nvidia, Qualcomm, the list is long. Indeed, Musk’s Autosteer in 2015 started the hype but why did Telsla car not start a real electric-car hype?
What happens to electric/hybrid car? It could be a coincidence but things work well for OEMs and suppliers of ICE cars: we still buy petrol cars, OEMs still make good profits, more people are talking autonomous drive and less attention is on electrification; if electric cars are pick up in future, OEMs can transfer the self-driving technology directly to electric/hybrid cars. Everyone is happy 🙂