Electric cars will account for up to 15 per cent of the market by 2020, according to the boss of leading lithium ion battery maker Ener1.
But the bulk of the electric vehicle market will initially be taken up by small urban delivery vans, Ener1 CEO Charles Gassenheimer told Autocar.
‘We’re anticipating the market early adopters to be municipal government fleets, particularly in Asia and Europe’ he said, revealing that his company was involved in supplying technology to the Japanese postal service for its delivery vans.
However Gassenheimer also sees a future for electric cars such as the new battery powered Volvo C30, also one of his company’s projects. But, he argues that there’s no long term viability without a mass infrastructure of charging points being put in place.
‘We need the cars, the battery technology and the charging points and all three need to be there for electric cars to work’ he said.
However with a mass network of charging points battery technology could become simpler and cheaper: ‘Why make a car with a range of 150 miles, that no one really needs. With the right infrastructure we only need to make it last for 50 miles which requires a smaller and cheaper battery.’
Gassenheimer also predicts that leasing a battery, separate from an electric car is the way the industry will go.
‘In the short term you will have to buy them both together, but when we learn more about the life of a battery and recycling costs come down a battery will be financeable’ he said.