New York Times: “The age of electric cars may be coming sooner than expected”

Barcelona, September 23, 2020.- The prestigious american newspaper The New York Times has just published an interesting diagnosis on the automotive industry. Its conjuncture and evolution with the electrification of automobiles around the world, at different rates. The New York Times assures that this industrial revolution 5.0 will arrive earlier than expected:

As car sales collapsed in Europe because of the pandemic, one category grew rapidly: electric vehicles.

One reason is that purchase prices in Europe are coming tantalizingly close to the prices for cars with gasoline or diesel engines. For example:

  • An electric Volkswagen ID.3 for the same price as a Golf.
  • A Tesla Model 3 that costs as much as a BMW 3 Series.
  • A Renault Zoe electric subcompact whose monthly lease payment might equal a nice dinner for two in Paris.

This near parity is possible only with government subsidies that, depending on the country, can cut more than $10,000 from the final price. Carmakers are offering deals on electric cars to meet stricter European Union regulations on carbon dioxide emissions. Electric vehicles are not yet as popular in the United States, largely because government incentives are less generous.

As electric cars become more mainstream, the automobile industry is rapidly approaching the tipping point when, even without subsidies, it will be as cheap, and maybe cheaper, to own a plug-in vehicle than one that burns fossil fuels. The carmaker that reaches price parity first may be positioned to dominate the segment.

A few years ago, industry experts expected 2025 would be the turning point. But technology is advancing faster than expected, and could be poised for a quantum leap. Elon Musk is expected to announce a breakthrough at Tesla’s “Battery Day” event on Tuesday that would allow electric cars to travel significantly farther without adding weight.

The balance of power in the auto industry may depend on which carmaker, electronics company or start-up succeeds in squeezing the most power per pound into a battery, what’s known as energy density.

“We’re seeing energy density increase faster than ever before,” said Milan Thakore, a senior research analyst at Wood Mackenzie, an energy consultant that recently pushed its prediction of the tipping point ahead by a year, to 2024.

An electric Volkswagen ID.3 for the same price as a Golf. A Tesla Model 3 that costs as much as a BMW 3 Series. A Renault Zoe electric subcompact whose monthly lease payment might equal a nice dinner for two in Paris.

As car sales collapsed in Europe because of the pandemic, one category grew rapidly: electric vehicles. One reason is that purchase prices in Europe are coming tantalizingly close to the prices for cars with gasoline or diesel engines.

At the moment this near parity is possible only with government subsidies that, depending on the country, can cut more than $10,000 from the final price. Carmakers are offering deals on electric cars to meet stricter European Union regulations on carbon dioxide emissions. In Germany, an electric Renault Zoe can be leased for 139 euros a month, or $164.

Electric vehicles are not yet as popular in the United States, largely because government incentives are less generous. Battery-powered cars account for about 2 percent of new car sales in America, while in Europe the market share is approaching 5 percent. Including hybrids, the share rises to nearly 9 percent in Europe, according to Matthias Schmidt, an independent analyst in Berlin.

SETRAM

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