Enough showing off about people I know who drive nice cars. This post is all about a fascinating peak, he gave me, into the future of the car industry. One in which car manufacturers could lose control over their cars. And here's how.
Why have car manufacturers been so slow with electric car development? One reason could be the lack of charging points in people's homes and car parks. And not just any kind of charging point, the world needs rapid charging points which only the energy companies can introduce. They are being very slow about it. Because what they want to offer isn't charging points, they want to offer replacement batteries.
The scenario is that you buy an electric car and drive it around until the battery is depleted. After which you go to your local energy company's 'battery replacement centre' and they pop out your depleted battery and pop in a fully charged one. All this in 30 seconds. And then the same again in another 400km or whatever your range is. The worry/problem car manufacturers have is that buying a car could become like buying a mobile phone. Energy companies could end up controlling decision making when it comes to car sales in the same way phone service providers have all the power over things like handset prices and contract deals.
Energy providers can start offering contracts on replacement batteries which are tied into the purchase of a new vehicle. And this is a major concern and a real likelihood. Can you imagine buying a Electric VW Golf for just £2,000 up front and £50 per month with unlimited battery for 3 years?
BTW, he also mentioned that if every car in Europe was fully electric (i.e. not hybrid) we would only need 15% more electricity production.
You heard it here first.