Is the world ready for electric cars?

The changing of the guard from petrol to electric cars is slowly gaining momentum, with the surrounding infrastructure for these new green cars the last piece of the puzzle. 

Early adopters will also need to a way to charge their cars at home, representing another market that is yet to grow to a sustainable level. However, according to Navigant Research, the seeds have already been sown, and consumers can look forward to a thriving industry that will hopefully keep up with the adoption of electric vehicles. 

Alternatively, there are other options for drivers looking to reduce fuel consumption who wish to wait until the supporting infrastructure for electric cars is more developed. 

What are the predictions?

According to Navigant Research, there is a number of contributing factors that are likely to alter the commercial market, such as government policy and the nature of emerging business models relating to electric cars. 

Either way, there will need to be significant growth in the home-charging market to ensure consumers have access to the peripherals required to power up their vehicles each night. Navigant Research is expecting this market to be worth $11.3 billion in the years between 2014 and 2023. 

"The residential charging market is entering a phase where chargers are simply a commodity, with a focus on bringing down the price," said Principal Research Analyst Lisa Jerram. 

"Meanwhile, the commercial charging market is in a state of flux, experimenting with different business models, including free charging to draw in customers, fees for usage, and the use of advertising, hoping to find the most viable options for long-term growth."

What are the alternatives?

Fleet managers looking to find a more practical method of saving the environment in the meantime should be investigating hybrid options. These cars still possess a standard internal combustion engine, but it is most often used as a generator for the accompanying electric motor that principally drives the wheels.

Some cars, like the Toyota Prius, will also use the normal engine to provide extra thrust when needed, reducing the demand on the electric motor and resulting in a more efficient voyage. 

These options are growing in status as well, as companies have figured out how to use these systems to create efficient performance, with examples such as the McLaren P1 making a bold statement for the technology's future. However, with a price tag that sits north of $1 million, fleet managers might have to leave it on the wish list for now.