17 Experts Explain Why the Whole World Will Be Driving Electric Vehicles Sooner Than We Think
The past few years have seen electric cars move from an ambitious dream to a lucrative reality, and it would seem as though the days of traditional fossil fuel-guzzling vehicles are numbered.
With many countries vowing to phase out their consumption of oil within coming years, and committing to replacing existing vehicles with electric alternatives, it appears that the electric revolution has well and truly begun.
Though the full conversion to all-electric vehicles won't happen overnight, here are just some experts from a variety of different industries and fields who believe the world will be driving electric cars sooner than we think.
1. "The PSA group will be 100% electrified." - Carlos Tavares
Peugeot CEO, Carlos Tavares, went on record in November 2017 attesting that by 2025 the company's output would be entirely electric. His comments were made during last year's Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Michigan.
In addition to his predictions on electric cars, Tavares also said that by 2030, 80% of Peugeot's vehicles will be self-navigating. If Tavares' words are anything to go by, we can expect roads full of electric vehicles in less than a decade.
2. "This breakthrough marks the beginning of a new era in solid-state materials and manufacturing technologies." - Dr. Fabio Albano
In November of last year, Fisker Inc. revealed a massive breakthrough in batteries for electric vehicles. The innovative new power source could last for 500 miles, and would take just one minute to charge.
Fisker's VP of battery systems, Dr. Fabio Albano, was keen to stress that their solid-state batteries would be safer and more efficient than Lithium Ion batteries, marking this development as a huge breakthrough not just for Fisker but for the electric automobile industry at large.
The company plans to apply the new battery technology by 2023, so in just 5 years electric cars could be charged within a minute.
3. "This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car.” - Håkan Samuelsson
In July of 2017 Volvo president, Håkan Samuelsson, announced that starting in 2019 the company would no longer be producing combustion engine vehicles. So from 2019 onwards, Volvo will be producing only electric or hybrid vehicles.
In the interim Volvo is launching five electric vehicles into the market. The company, which has been under Chinese ownership since 2010, is likely working towards China's goal of getting 5 million electric cars on the road by 2020.
4. "We will continue to improve the battery’s performance and aim to put the next-generation SCiBTM into practical application in the fiscal year 2019" - Dr. Osamu Hori
In October of last year, Toshiba released a statement about their developments in EV batteries - a battery that can run for 200 miles and charge in 6 minutes. The company's SCiB batteries use lithium titanium oxide anodes to ensure the highest level of safety, with quick recharge speeds and large energy capacity.
According to Director of Corporate Research & Development Center at Toshiba Corporation, Dr. Osamu Hori, the breakthrough batteries could be applied to Toshiba electric vehicles as soon as next year. So there might not be long to wait for fast-charging EV batteries.
5. "I believed that electrically powered vehicles would solve the vehicle pollution problem." - James Dyson
Vacuum cleaner giants, Dyson, announced their entry into the electric vehicle stakes in September of last year. In a memo to Dyson employees, CEO James Dyson outlined his plans to have Dyson EVs on the roads by 2020.
Though their plans remain shrouded in secrecy, it has been suggested that Dyson have their sights set on solid-state battery technology, similar to that of Fisker's. Unnamed sources have said that the first Dyson electric vehicle will run on lithium-ion batteries, with subsequent models hoping to run on solid-state batteries.
6. "Our ultimate goal is to provide a self-driving vehicle tailored to every trip and every purpose." - John Krafcik
The buck doesn't stop at electric cars. The push towards self-driving vehicles is also one that's been whipping up a lot of interest in the industry in recent years.
Earlier this year, Waymo joined forces with Jaguar to create a fleet of autonomous, electric SUVs, the I-Pace. Waymo CEO has voiced their commitment to putting self-driving cars on the market, and the I-Pace is set to become available in 2020 once testing is completed. Within two years, people might not even have to drive electric cars - they could be doing the driving for us.
7. "If we electrify 20,000km of highways that will definitely be be enough." - Hans Säll
If the world is going to embrace electric vehicles sooner rather than later, we need to have the right infrastructure in place. Countries like China, Australia, and Sweden have already started working on roads that could charge electric vehicles as they drive.
Sweden's own electrified road was created by eRoadArlanda, and can charge vehicles without being a danger to anyone. According to CEO Hans Säll, the country would only need 20,000 km (12, 427 miles) to keep roads full of electric vehicles well-charged and operational.
While only 2km has been built so far, the next two years are to be used to testing and observational purposes before expanding the scope of electric roads. All going well, electric roads could become a lot more common within the next few years.
8. "If there is an electric supercar to be built, then Ferrari will be the first." - Sergio Marchionne
Electric vehicles are starting to convert even the most skeptical of manufacturers. At the start of the year, noted EV skeptic and Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne announced that the company would be building an electric supercar.
The comments were made at this year's Detroit Auto Show, and it's not entirely surprising that Ferrari would want a piece of the pie now that electric vehicles are becoming so popular.
While there's no definite timeline in place for the release of Ferrari's electric supercar, their decision to enter the race shows that the fight to get electric cars on the road is speeding up.
9. "We’re showing our customers how they can make a seamless transition to autonomous and the new world of mobility." - Mark Rakoski
When it comes to integrating smart technologies with electric vehicles, Mitsubishi are hoping to lead the charge. Mitsubishi Electric unveiled a number of their cutting-edge technologies at this year's CES, in a bid to pique consumer interest in their up-and-coming innovations.
They were especially keen to showcase their EMIRAI 4 driving-assistance car, in an aim to open customers to the new possibilities of electric vehicles, according to Vice President of Engineering Mark Rakoski. The fact that they're easing their customer base into this revolutionary new tech could suggest that Mitsubishi will be making the move to introduce their smart electric cars to the market sooner rather than later.
10. "General Motors believes in an all-electric future." - Mark Reuss
The past year or two has seen many countries reveal timelines for phasing out fossil fuels and combustion engine vehicles. Major car manufacturers have followed suit, and in October 2017 General Motors became one of many companies to announce their dedication to switching to electric.
The move was announced by Head of Product Development, Mark Reuss. The move marks the beginning of a five year plan that will see General Motors release as many as 20 new all-electric vehicles by 2023, and phase out their production of combustion engine models.
11. "IONITY will deliver our common goal of providing customers with fast charging and digital payment, to facilitate long-distance travel." - Michael Hajesch
There's a lot of work to be done to make roads ready for the incoming fleets of electric vehicles, and that work can't be handled by just one company alone. This why many major car manufacturers are joining forces to put the necessary infrastructure in place.
One such initiative in IONITY, created by Ford, BMW, Volkswagen, and Porsche. In February of this year, IONITY announced that they would be building a network of 400 charging stations across Europe. CEO Michael Hajesch announced the plans in a press release, and 100 of the stations are set to be completed this year.
12. "The industry isn’t changing from one day to the other. Therefore you have to be very clear how to construct this period of transition." - Oliver Blume
Last year Porsche revealed that they were creating an electric luxury vehicle that would rival Tesla's output. Porsche CEO, Oliver Blume, seemed excited for the new release when speaking to the Financial Times in September, but was quick to point out that the electric revolution won't happen overnight.
Though the Mission E, Porsche's luxury EV, will be road ready by 2019, it won't be on the market until 2020 at the earliest. But even at that, two years isn't long to wait for more luxury EVs to start entering the market.
13. "I want to go one, two, three laps without having to stop and recharge after every lap." - Maurizio Reggiani
While most manufacturers are creating electric cars that run off batteries, Lamborghini are looking at the next step forward - supercapacitor technology. The company's Terzo Milennio electric car would be powered by carbon nanotubes that make up the car's body.
The design was inspired by the desire for a sportscar that can maintain high speeds for long durations, while still being streamlined, according to Lamborghini head of research and development Maurizio Reggiani. While supercapacitor technology is still a ways off from being market ready, the push towards newer power methods suggests that the first obstacles to creating electric vehicles have been surmounted, and that we're entering a new era of innovation.
14. "Our investment in these trucks is part of our commitment to improving road safety while also reducing our environmental impact." - Mike Ducker
Electric vehicles won't just change how we, as individuals, get around. They'll also revolutionize freight and trade systems across the world. It's with this in mind that FedEx announced in March of this year that they would be adding 20 all-electric Tesla trucks to their fleet.
The move was announced by FedEx Freight CEO Mike Ducker, who stressed the company's commitment to green alternatives. Early prototypes of the Tesla semi trucks have been spotted on roads, but they won't formally go into production until 2019. But in the next year or two more major freight companies could be making the switch to electric vehicles.
15. "We will not stop until every car on the road is electric." -Elon Musk
No name has become more synonymous with electric vehicles and ambitious innovations in the past few years than that of Elon Musk. The man behind Tesla has been working tirelessly to make commercial electric vehicles a possibility, and has so far been succeeding.
Tesla has already put plenty of electric cars on roads worldwide, and even has one in space. Between commercial Tesla models for individual drivers, and collaboration with global freight companies for trade fleets, Musk is driving the push towards an all-electric future.
16. "We know the future of transportation is autonomous, and autonomous driving technology needs to be proven in the real world to accelerate deployment in a safe and scalable manner." - Woong-Chul Yang
Lately, EV technologies and autonomous driving have gone hand in hand. This is no different when it comes to Hyundai's recent efforts in the field.
At this year's CES the Korean manufacturer delivered a double-whammy of exciting automotive news in the form of their Nexo EV. The Nexo boasts an efficient battery that beats the capabilities of Tesla's Model S, and has autonomous capabilities to boot.
It marks the beginning of Hyundai's efforts to release a fully-autonomous electric vehicle by 2021, something which Vice Chairman Woong-Chul Yang believes is the future of transportation.
17. "The time is right for electric cars - in fact the time is critical." - Carlos Ghosn
Renault CEO, Carlos Ghosn, announced last month that safe, self-driving EVs are a mere five years away. Given Ghosn's background in EVs, we can safely take his word for it.
In 2017 Ghosn's group sold half a million electric vehicles worldwide, and are planning on releasing 22 new models by 2022. With that in mind, electric vehicles - be they self-driving or otherwise - will be dominating the roads far sooner than we had imagined.