Why Electric Cars Have Not Taken off Yet? The Truth About Electric Cars

For personal use, electric vehicles saw a sharp decline in popularity during the last century owing to their hefty price tags, lower-than-average top speeds, and short ranges – putting a big question mark on their potential take-off in the market. But their indispensable role in warding off climate change has kept them going, though gradually, making them closer to blasting off with each passing day.

So far, electric cars have not taken off due to some inherent but solvable technological problems.

Moreover, some market conditions and consumer mindset issues also pose impediments. Though the overturn is expected to occur soon, the current state will continue for some time.

Why Have Electric Cars Not Taken off Yet?

Technical Reasons

1. Sizeable Charging Time

A lot of time required to charge an electric car presents a big hassle to consumers, impacting the demand. A gasoline car can be refueled within a few minutes, while an electric vehicle takes up to a few hours. Though the problem will eventually leave, it is here to stay for a while.

Drivers are more tuned to pulling gas in less than five minutes and continuing their journey; however, on average, electric vehicles may take up to 12 hours to be refueled. But the progress is being made at a rapid pace – thanks to Tesla, a super ‘level 4’ charger has been developed to do the job in 10 to 15 minutes for a simple SUV. Nevertheless, by the time such technologies thoroughly sweep the market, the electric car industry will have to bear the brunt.


2. The Range Problem,

The average range of 194 miles for electric cars on a single charge is a big turn-off for several consumers. Compare it to the 200 to 400 miles figure in gasoline-powered vehicles, and the clear victor emerges.

Besides the low range, huge charging time, as discussed above, also plays an essential role in negatively impacting electric cars’ fame. But again, the problem is being quickly overcome, thanks to the evolving technologies: Tesla Model S has already hit the 350 miles range.

Read: How to Increase Electric Car Range? (14 Proven Ways)

3. Battery Replacements

On average, electric car batteries cost about USD 128 per kilowatt hour to be replaced, and the change needs to be done every 15 to 20 years. Based on these stats, electric cars can be rendered unattractive in the sight of consumers because they have to pay USD 2,000 to 20,000 after a certain period.

However, the need arises only after a long time, and the battery price is also projected to lower.

Moreover, jumbling up the rising cost of petroleum and the significantly less amount spent on charging an electric vehicle than refueling a conventional car, electric cars can be far cheaper to keep and maintain.

Read: How Much Do Electric Car Batteries Cost in 2022?

4. Performance Reputation

For a long time, electric cars have been criticized for their subpar performance, leading to a bad reputation. Fortunately, things have changed, and electric vehicles are projected to cross the conventional ones based on performance, but healing the lost fame might take some time.

When they hit the market, electric cars were compared to golf carts. Moreover, various famous brands are known not to produce faster electric vehicles. But thanks to the advancements, sporty and SUV vehicles in electrified mode are here: their improved torque contributes greatly to acceleration, and some Tesla models outperform most conventional vehicles.

Consumer Behavior Issues

1. Affordability Shortage

The Fuel Institute has ranked affordability as the top factor in determining a consumer’s attitude toward buying an electric vehicle. The economics says it all: the better the affordability condition of the buyers is, the higher the sales of an electric car will be.

Unfortunately, despite making tremendous technological progress, electric cars are still out of range for millions. The Kelly Blue Book suggests the average price of a new electric car to hover around USD 64,000, while the figure lowers to USD 35,000 for the gasoline counterparts. However, this issue is not here to stay for long – experts have finally predicted a fall in price due to the lowering of lithium batteries cost.

Did You Know?

Most EV owners are middle-aged degree holders, white men earning about USD 100,000 a year.


2. Availability Factor

For personal ease and contentment, consumers rush towards and are willing to spend money only on readily available things. Due to several reasons, regretfully, the supply of electric cars is not smooth, hindering their availability and thus decreasing the enthusiasm of buyers. Let us explain.

Electric car manufacturing has not been flat since its inception; however, the coronavirus factor has added fuel to the fire. When the lockdown hit, various EV manufacturing plants were shut down due to a drastic fall in demand. But right after the ease in restrictions, the manufacturers could not cope with the rising normalcy in demand due to semiconductor chip shortages.

3. Bad Familiarity

Psychology pulls the buyers towards more familiar items, probably because familiar products are relatively hassle-free to maintain: you know what the thing is, where the dealer is, and what you can do to tweak it.

According to an Ipsos survey, Americans with better know-how of electric vehicles were significantly more interested in buying such cars in the future. At the same time, those on the other side did not show much enthusiasm. The report also concluded that the real motivation for such buyers was familiarity, as it reduced uncertainty.

4. Green Technology Confusion

Yes – electric cars are greener than gasoline-powered cars. Still, it is also true that these vehicles are yet to hit their full potential in being environmentally friendly. Globally, coal and gas have been the largest source of electricity production, and consumers argue that charging an electric vehicle instead of refueling a conventional car will make no difference.

Electric cars are here to obliterate the carbon footprint appearing due to road travel; however, it will take a long. Researchers from the University of Cambridge have found that driving an electric car is far safer for the environment than combustible engine vehicles.

Other Reasons


1. Lack of Charging Stations

There is a discrepancy between the number of charging stations and electric cars cruising the roads worldwide, the latter being relatively fewer. Thus, the idea of buying an electric vehicle if one doubts the availability of fueling it when needed is rendered unattractive.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) Global Outlook 2020, the US has only 17,000 stations to charge around three million electric cars, which puts the load of 176 cars on a single station. Furthermore, less than half of those have a fast-charging facility, making the situation even more bothersome. The rest of the world has nearly the same stats, giving electric cars take off a tough time.

2. Battery Fire Incidents

To their core, electric cars are extremely safe; however, the problem arises when the lithium-ion battery gets damaged and catches fire. Due to burning hazards and some recent incidents, electric cars are still struggling to maintain their worth in the eyes of buyers.

It is important to mention that the incidents of electric cars catching fire have been infrequent, especially when contrasted with combustible engine vehicles. However, still, they have gained a bad reputation. Lithium-ion batteries installed on these cars can get damaged due to extreme heat or if something penetrates them. However, the blaze is extremely hard to extinguish if such an incident occurs.

3 ’Personal Choice’ Matter

Various electric car manufacturers have difficulty making their products more appealing to customers. Here are some ‘missing’ features in such vehicles that drive car enthusiasts more toward conventional vehicles.

Particularly for young drivers, electric cars are not as better styled as the conventional ones. Similarly, these cars do not have the traditional ‘vroom-vroom’ sound associated with racing and high speeds. Again, the arguments like better top speeds and acceleration sustainability also weigh in favor of gasoline-powered cars.

4. Competition

Currently, electric vehicles are competing with hybrid and hydrogen-powered cars. Since these technologies are potential rivals, electric vehicles’ taking off can be jeopardized.

Hybrids are giving the worst tough time, probably because of the better familiarity of these vehicles among the general public. Though hydrogen technology cars are developing right now, they might end up posing significant competition to electric cars if they evolve faster.

Measures That Can Boost Electric Car Sales

  • Better Persuasion Is the Key: Electric cars are different – people need better familiarity. Just as smartphones are marketed with each feature in detail, all important and user-friendly features must be highlighted on a large scale.
  • Making Consumer Clusters: Broadly, there are three types of customers for electric cars: completely uninformed, those with some know-how, and experts. For the first segment, experience-oriented marketing must be ensured. For the rest, ‘normal marketing’ must work.
  • Multiplying Charging Stations and Service Centers: As discussed, consumers are pushed back when they doubt electric vehicles’ aftersales services or refueling abilities. This must be overcome ASAP, and governments must intervene for a greener future.
  • Incentivizing Electric Cars: A government job, authorities must facilitate and prioritize electric car owners. For instance, free public parking measures must be taken in favor of such vehicles, and charging rates must be subsidized, if possible.

Rounding Up: Why Electric Cars Have Not Taken off Yet?

Electric cars have not yet been able to take off because of technical and market-related shortcomings. However, the impending ‘electric revolution is not far away. As per the experts, electric car sales are projected to boom soon. The signs of taking are already being witnessed: the IEA reports that 2021 saw a 140 percent rise in electric car sales despite pandemic issues.

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