Why electric cars won't work, for now

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IOL mot jan7 nissan leaf charge . A Nissan Leaf EV on charge.

Despite electric vehicles being so widely punted by governments as the solution for a greener motoring future, sales across the globe have been disappointing to say the least.

To that end, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) has warned that under the current conditions it is unlikely that the full potential of battery-charged vehicles can possibly be met.

While this, according to ACEA, is partly due to the current economic situation, there are lot of bigger factors at play.

These include the slow progress in charging standards, the lack of a clear and unified vision on infrastructure, fragmentation of internal market as a result of uncoordinated approach to market incentives and a lack of dedicated support for research and development.

ACEA's secretary general Ivan Hodac said: "E-mobility can be part of a long-term solution to our mobility challenges. However, we need to have the right framework conditions if it is to really take off.

"It will only be possible to book real progress if there is full cooperation between utility providers, infrastructure companies, the energy sector, standardisation bodies and the automotive industry - with the full support of national governments and the European institutions."

Standardising the connection between the electricity grid and electrically-chargeable vehicles is one of the prerequisites to help e-mobility gain a viable market share. It provides predictability to investors, enables economies of scale, reduces costs for all stakeholders and is essential in increasing user acceptance.

The industry has stressed the need for a single harmonised plug system for the recharging of electric vehicles on both the vehicle and the infrastructure sides, and already agreed on a joint proposal for an EU-wide charging system last year.

However it is very concerned by the lack of progress in creating the framework to meet these goals.

This was one of the key incentives for ACEA members to revise their position on battery-powered vehicles and to lower their expectations for thier future market share.

ACEA now forecasts the future market penetration of ECVs to be in the range of 2 to 8% for the next decade, with significant differences among manufacturers depending on their individual strategies.

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