Electric cars will not be viable as everyday transport for at least 10 years and further research needs to be undertaken into battery life and weight, according to a new report.
The Institution of Engineering Technology’s (E&T) report claims long-term limitations of battery technology will cap electric cars’ range at 100 miles and fast charging points will damage battery life.
It has called on the government to instead invest in high efficiency diesels and hybrids instead.
Highlighting the current limitations of electric cars, E&T said an average VW Golf could travel 375 miles on a single tank of fuel in mixed driving conditions at 70mph. To undertake the same journey in an EV, the batteries would weigh in excess of 1.5 tonnes and the car would cost more than £100,000.
E&T’s research reveals that although breakthroughs on the cost of batteries will be achieved within 10 years, similar progress in reducing their weight will not happen. It also believes drivers will not be satisfied with the performance of batteries for at least 10 years.
It also says that to achieve a respectable life from lithium-ion batteries, they should not run from full to empty and should be kept at between 20-80 per cent of their charge. This has knock-on effects to the range.
E&T also says that constant fast charging will damage battery life and the impact of these fast charging points on battery life has yet to be looked into.
E&T editor in chief Dickon Ross said: “Some of the performance improvement claims being suggested are likely to stay pure fantasy for the foreseeable future.
“While we believe electric cars overall are a good idea, particularly for short-range commutes, there’s a need for more honesty on whether they can really be the solution to our transport and environmental needs in the mid- to long-term.
“Do people really have to invest in more than one car, and all the resources they demand, to take care of commuting and family holidays? We need to encourage alternative solutions.”