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PHOTO CAPTION: Nissan LEAF using ABB DC fast charger, a part of Estonia's national charging network.

The Engineering Barriers to Electric Car Deployment

Frazer-Nash's Craig Rice sees the most critical need to improve the acceptance of electric cars is the adoption of a common fast charging standard, following Estonia's model.

Published: 18-Mar-2014

There is no denying that the plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market has grown significantly in the past three years but sales are not rising as fast as many people predicted. This is not ground-breaking news as the numerous stories focusing on the low uptake of charging points attest to.

However, what is interesting to look at more deeply are the oft cited barriers to entry into the PEV market such as cost, fear of obsolescence and range anxiety, the last of which is the biggest issue by far. From here, we can examine the potential solutions and required innovations that could create a step change in usage and make PEV’s a more popular mode of transport.

Firstly, cost. PEVs are expensive compared to an equivalent sized vehicle using a normal, internal combustion engine (ICE). Currently, the Government offers up to £5,000 towards the cost of a PEV. A recent study by the Electric Power Research Institute indicates that, if this and other incentives are considered within the total lifetime costs, then the difference is within 10 per cent of a conventional vehicle. Furthermore, given the current trajectory of fuel prices, this comparison is set to swing in favour of the PEV in the long term.

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