Electric cars have always been a concept of the future. Now, however, it's becoming a reality. With brands such as Tesla and car manufacturers such as GM and Toyota making electric and hybrid vehicles, electric cars are becoming a common feature on many highways and roads. With the replacement of gasoline-fueled engines to completely electric engines, the environment can be saved from further pollution, fossil fuels can be saved, and self-driving vehicles can now be a possibility.
Last year, electric cars were the focus of press coverage and reviews, but the question remains: will 2017 be the year where electric cars are more common than vehicles fueled by gasoline? What is necessary for these cars to be on the road?
One of the most important steps of placing a new product on the market is product testing. For toys, this means that the parts will not cause a choking hazard to infants and for foods, this means that it is safe to consume and digest. Keeping this same mindset active, the same is true for electric cars.
Car companies and manufacturers who want to place their electric cars on the road must pass through a rigorous stage of testing. The testing is designed to ensure that the vehicle is safe to use, as well as that the electric car:
- Will not catch on fire during an accident
- Has an engine with safety feature preventing combustion
- Has airbags that are properly installed and ready to be activated should an accident occur
- Is energy efficient
- Will not malfunction during adverse weather conditions
These and other test must be performed to ensure that the product, in this case being the electric car, is absolutely safe to be used in the consumer market. A key step involved and following product testing, as the next section will hold, is federal regulations.
Federal Regulations Regarding Electric Vehicles
As previously mentioned, a key step that car manufacturers must cover once their vehicles have been tested is to have it approved by federal safety agencies, most notably the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). This agency is responsible to oversee that any proposed vehicle meets the required safety measures appropriate to their vehicle class. In other words, a vehicle must pass evaluations in its design, use, and safety features that will permit it to safely be on the road. This can take quite some time to accomplish for several reasons. First, the vehicle, as mentioned earlier, must have its design approved. Second, it must be engineered to meet efficiency and safety regulations.
Another factor to be considered is that federal regulations can change from one day to another, usually as a result of a newly approved Congressional bill or act that affects how the vehicle should operate or function. Because electric vehicles are relatively new to the public, there is an increasingly amount of laws that can be imposed or lifted from the design of a vehicle. For instance, many vehicles that may have been ready to be placed in the consumer market may be halted and altered to meet new regulations. Nevertheless, once an electric vehicle has been approved and it ready to be place to the market, there is one more hurdle to face.
The consumer market is filled with hundreds of different vehicle brands, manufacturers, and companies. Due to the fact that these car manufacturers have been around for quite some time - some over one hundred years old - they have been in the market for quite some time and the general public has a good idea of what a vehicle should look like and cost. In essence, the consumer market for vehicles has been solidified, and any change in pricing usually results from basic economic principles of supplies and demand. However, there is one thing that is the same for this market: every vehicle has been powered by gasoline, ethanol, or a related fuel.
Due to the fact that electric vehicles are new in both design and implementation, there has not been a set pricing on them. This makes the task of executives from electric companies trying to place a car on the electric cars a bit difficult. To start, the parts that these electric cars include are not the same as traditional, gasoline-powered vehicles. They are built differently, with different materials, different uses, and may cost even more to manufacture. However, these electric vehicles must be accessible enough for a consumer to purchase them; otherwise they would stay in the dealerships unsold!
This is why pricing is very important. The price of the electric vehicles must be competitive enough to offer a fair yet reasonable price, yet sufficient enough to cover the actual building costs and expenses of the vehicle. Vehicle pricing is a key component in making sure that the customers who want to purchase a vehicle can actually afford to purchase one.
Electric Vehicles: Are We Ready for Them?
There is no doubt that electric vehicles will be a common staple of highways and roads in the future. The concern for many, however, is if we are ready for the next generation of vehicles. This includes two important factors. One, electric vehicles will require a new set of skills for drivers because of the vehicle’s different components and features, and two, with electric vehicles comes the idea of self-driving cars. While self-driving cars is a concept that is already on its way, there may be safety concerns with drivers not controlling the vehicles they are in. These factors must be considered, and the benefits of electric cars must be balanced on the number one goal of vehicles: safety.