Blog: Dave LeggettPure electric vehicles – case for the prosecution

Dave Leggett | 10 June 2010

I have found myself involved in a number of conversations this week on market prospects for electric vehicles. I met up with New York based John Voelcker – who specialises on electric drive coverage for just-auto – and we got to talking over a few pints of stout about things like the energy density of oil versus battery packs, diverse car ownership and usage patterns across the world and so on. It's a very big and multi-layered subject with a lot of dimensions on both the demand- and supply-side.

I guess I'm in the agnostic camp. I think I can just about envisage a scenario in which electric vehicles become attractive and develop a significant market presence, but I can also see how a lot of variables have to combine to make that happen. And I also think there is a fair bit of hyperbole and misperception about EVs around. We're not all going to be 'going electric' tomorrow.

Even if we do, there's the small matter of how the juice out of the socket has been generated.  

And there's also the political mix. Fiscally challenged governments may well - when push comes to shove - rate healthcare or education needs a little bit above subsidies for EVs that mainly benefit well-heeled 'early adopters' (the broader economic case is obviously there to be made, but it's not an easy sell when other more politically sensitive departmental budgets are being scrutinised). That said, the next few years are certainly going to be very interesting.

I also got chatting this week to journalist Neil Winton who has neatly set out the sceptics' case in an article on his Detroit News column.

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