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Electric-vehicle growth depends on support

A recent report by energy experts Global Data reiterates the challenges facing the adoption of Battery Electric Vehicles at global and national levels.

A recent report by energy experts Global Data reiterates the challenges facing the adoption of Battery Electric Vehicles at global and national levels.

It states the global BEV market is expected to grow 15 per cent a year between now and 2020 - if proper support is provided by governments.

Challenges to growth include a lack of vehiclecharging infrastructure, government subsidies and incentives, and the high cost of batteries.

Charging stations

While there has been an increase in the number of EV charging stations, few are public and even fewer are high-speed chargers, which can charge a battery up to 80 per cent in 20 minutes. In comparison, it can take hours to charge a vehicle with just a Level 2 charger, the charger BEV owners typically have at home. Not many people are willing to put up with the inconvenience of having to wait that long before they get back on the road.

Incentives

Canada stands out as one of the few countries where the federal government has not introduced countrywide, long-term financial incentives, usually in the form of subsidies and tax rebates, to promote BEV adoption. Instead, several provinces, including B.C., have taken it upon themselves to introduce their own incentives. These initiatives are currently acting as drivers for consumers entering the BEV market.

Battery cost

The report blames the high cost of batteries as one of the major limitations to BEV market growth. It says the global average price of a BEV is currently around $39,000, mostly due to the cost of the battery. This represents a significant premium when compared to the price of a vehicle with a conventional internal combustion engine.

Widespread adoption of clean-technology vehicles is expected to remain low until the price of batteries significantly falls. Fortunately, the report's authors expect the price of the batteries used in BEVs to drop by 50 per cent every four to five years.

parrais@timescolonist.com