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Electric cars fail to switch on

Posted on: June 12, 2013 by Platinum Direct

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The start of electric cars in Australia is proving far from a good one. Not only have the two Japanese car companies offering electric cars had to seriously reduce their prices to attract buyers but now the innovative battery-swap service provider Better Place has gone out of business. Industry experts say this unfortunate start is part of the way such a complete change of technology will find difficulty. They are also convinced that electric cars will eventually succeed here mainly because of the way most Australian motorists have access to private driveways for secure and convenient cable-charging. They cite 5 to 10 years as the most likely period of successful introduction.

When the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi EV were released onto the Australia market nearly two years ago, the small four seat vehicles were seen as far too expensive at over $50,000. The dealers said such a high prices was set by the makers who also severely restricted availability as low as one car per dealer per month. While initial sales were steady, the demand quickly reduced and the supply situation went from a waiting list to one of on-the-floor.

Both Japanese makers then began dropping prices to the extent that today such a car is available at just under $40,000. This has resulted in a slight pick up in sales but buyers are not beating down the dealer doors.

As this slow start for electric cars has been playing out, Better Place has failed. The company was an international organisation with the sound idea of setting up a network of quick change-over battery swap facilities. But the overall lack of interest has seen the business fail.

The auto industry say this slow start to the introduction of electric cars is all part of the difficulty such new technology is encountering. While they admit the future of electric cars in Australia could well be in the way of one in a two car household, they are confident such power will eventually achieve volumes. They point to the continued development of lithium-based batteries and the fast-charge ability.

This latter break-thru is the real biggest asset to electric cars. It could see filling stations of the future have three different offerings: liquid fuel (petrol and diesel), gas fuel (LPG or CNG) and electric energy (plug in and wait ten minutes while visiting the site’s supermarket).

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