By Paula Lamares
The automobile industry is a good barometer of the international and national economy. It had been one of the most relevant industries in the world in recent decades. On the other hand, environmental protection is nowadays perceived as a pressing need in the most industrialized countries. Thus, it is not surprising that the production of vehicles with electric motor is in full growth, at the same time that the big brands invest more and more in improving the performances and autonomy of the electric cars. This evolution is directly linked to the progress in the generation, storage and distribution of electric energy for motor vehicles. But it had not always been so, a long way has gone before it can be said that the new generation of electric vehicles is the way of the future, in an industry traditionally linked to the major oil´s economic interests
If we go back to the year 2009, the electric vehicles had limited autonomy to only 160 km, having no pretension other than the predominantly urban vehicle sector. The economic crisis that began that year contributed to the automobile industry that had many bankruptcies at that time had to change its strategies and start a process of industrial disruption. In Europe, plunged into crisis, recovery was starting slowly, but diesel was still the absolute master in the main markets.
Renault then presented a full range of electric vehicles and even an automated battery exchange system. At that time, it was the solution to the low autonomy of lithium-ion cells, which in fact would revolutionize the segment, leaving tablets and smartphones to conquer the streets. The brand was created “Better Place”, a foundation that linked French and Japanese and led to the creation of battery exchange stations in seconds. The recharge time was high and exchanging the package for a reasonable price solved the problem of many people, especially those who lived in condominium, where domestic recharge is impossible, even in more current projects.
Later, in Germany, Elon Musk of Tesla Motors was the great step towards the future, reaching the 482 km of autonomy. In Paris, the Opel Ampera reaches the 500 km of autonomy, while the German mark tested its version P100D with almost 600 km. We can say that the turning point in the electric motors was thus reached, leaving definitively the exclusively urban concept.
But if the question of autonomy seems to be resolved, the high price is still an obstacle to be overcome, towards the massification of the concept, and only fiscal incentives seem to reduce the differences in the price of gasoline and diesel cars. The industry needs high production so that the cost comes close to the polluting competitors. Tesla Motors aims to manufacture 100,000 cars /year from 2019. In recent years, the price of batteries has also dropped by half and is expected to fall by 30 percent by 2021.
Also in regards to battery recharges, Tesla once again innovated with the Supercharger, a network of electric cars so that the Model S and X do not leave their occupants on the road. In addition to the “plug”, wireless recharges and even proposals for electrified routes begin to appear, which replenish the vehicles that run on it.
It is no wonder, therefore, that Elon Musk recently announced the start of production of the Tesla Model 3, Volvo has guaranteed that from 2019 all its models will have an electric motor and Paris proclaimed the intention of, by 2040, prohibit the sale of petrol or diesel vehicles.
Is it possible, then, to assert that the automobile industry is in an early process of technological revolution? Given the weight of world energy consumption, what changes and consequences will there be in the global geopolitical setting? All of these changes are centered on rich countries with sophisticated capitals and a strong middle-class such as the US, some European countries, Japan, Singapore, and China. Although the US and Europe are in advantage over China. With regard to the electrical infrastructures, necessary for the production of a new generation of electric vehicles.
In 2016, France overtook Norway which led the sales of electric cars (about 12,000) during the last few years. France is now leading the ranking of electric car sales in Europe, where more than 15,000 consumers decided on green vehicles (data for 2016), with 49 percent growth. It is also a French vehicle that commands the sales chart, with Renault Zoe reaching a volume in the first six months of 2016 of 11,790 units. In 2nd place, the Nissan Leaf, with 11,117 marketed cars, is the leader. Surprising is the 3rd position obtained by Tesla’s Model S, by far the most expensive proposal in the entire ranking, with Volkswagen winning the 4th and 9th place with e-Golf and e- Up !, respectively.
The growth of the Group, which includes Renault, Dacia, Samsung and Lada, sold 1.88 million new vehicles in the first half of 2017, an increase of 10.4% compared to 2016, Increased by 2.6%. This is proof that betting on electric cars can be a viable path for the future of the automobile industry and an incentive to its growth and evolution.