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Electric vehicles are the new revolution in the automobile industry

BMW i3 | Photo BMW
BMW i3 | Pho­to BMW

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 Zoe | Photo by Renault
Re­nault Zoe | Pho­to by Re­nault

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.

Opel Ampera | Photo by Opel
Opel Am­pe­ra | Pho­to by Opel

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.

Tesla Supercharger | Picture by Tesla
Tes­la Su­per­char­ger | Pic­tu­re by Tes­la

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.

Tesla Model S | Photo by Tesla
Tes­la Mo­del S | Pho­to by Tes­la

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.

Smart Fourtwo Electric Drive | Photo Daimler-Benz
Smart Fourtwo Elec­tric Dri­ve | Pho­to Daim­ler-Benz

Nissan Leaf | Photo by Nissan
Nis­san Leaf | Pho­to by Nis­san

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