What Needs to Happen Before Electric Cars Take Over the World

You have to agree that the auto industry is now firmly committed to an electric future - The following article is from The New York Times.

Electric vehicles have only a tiny market share, but the auto industry is betting billions that they will soon be as cheap as conventional cars.


On the slope of a thickly forested Czech mountain, three men in hard hats and mud-spattered fluorescent vests dig for the metal that could power a new industrial revolution.

 A Tesla owner recharges his vehicle near Mountain View, California

A Tesla owner recharges his vehicle near Mountain View, California

They watch carefully as a mobile rig, mounted on tank treads, hammers and spins a drill bit hundreds of yards into the bedrock. Water gushes from the bore as the bit punctures an underground spring.

The men are prospecting for new sources of lithium, a raw material now found primarily in China and Chile that could become as important to the auto industry as oil is now.

Faster than anyone expected, electric cars are becoming as economical and practical as cars with conventional engines. Prices for lithium-ion batteries are plummeting, while technical advances are increasing driving ranges and cutting recharging times.

“Once the trend gets going, it can happen very fast,” said Guido Jouret, chief digital officer at ABB, an electronics company based in Zurich whose businesses include constructing charging stations.

But this electric-car future is still missing some pieces. Some crucial raw materials are scarce. There are not enough places to recharge. Battery-powered cars still cost thousands of dollars more than many gasoline vehicles.

Car companies are racing to overcome these obstacles. They, and the millions of people they employ, risk becoming irrelevant.

“Many people are nervous about how fast this is coming and how much they have to invest,” said Norbert Dressler, a senior partner at Roland Berger in Stuttgart, Germany, who advises the auto industry.

Here’s a look at what needs to happen before electric cars take over the world.


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