Recent research conducted by a global management consulting firm predicts a sharp rise in electric vehicle purchases leading into 2012, expecting sales in New York to account for 16 percent of new buys. Hybrid and pure electric vehicles are also expected to account for 9 percent of new vehicles in Paris and 5 percent in Shanghai. the UK has many regional schemes, Future Transport Systems in the East of England being an example. Mitsubishi Electric is among those addressing fundamental design issues relating to EV charging infrastructure.
It is not surprising that New York is foremost in this development as the United States are world-leaders in supplying financial support for electric vehicle research and manufacture. The Financial Times reported late last year that the U.S. is the only country to have major financial backing from the government. In 2009 the U.S. allocated $2.4 billion to the electric vehicle industry.
The French government has become heavily involved in sustainable transport with a recent over-haul of public transport and a nation-wide EV infrastructure planned for the near future. The government is encouraging market take-up with the hope that 100,000 EVs will be purchased by 2015. A new Parisian initiative will be implemented in September, aiming to emulate the success of its current e-bike rental scheme. The 'Autolib' will allow Parisians to rent an electric vehicle whenever they require one. This will be the world's largest electric car scheme and aims to further reduce Parisian traffic, which has already seen a dramatic decrease of 25 percent in the past decade.
Chinese commuters have been adopting electric bikes in their droves; Shanghai already has a large population of EV users. Last year China purchased 90 percent of the world's e-bikes; 21 million in total.
The majority of these worldwide initiatives are specifically targeting urban commuters, as are the manufacturers. The average range for an EV on one full charge is between about 80-100 miles, making them impractical for extended journeys but ideal for a shorter daily commute.
An exception to this rule is the Tesla Roadster, which has a range of up to 211 miles in ideal conditions. Large cities such as New York, Paris and Shanghai have significant metropolitan populations that could benefit from owning an EV.
One leading industry analyst said, "It's not surprising that the market may take root in big cities: nowhere is the need for cleaner air and reduced carbon dioxide emissions more pressing, and nowhere else can you expect to find as many green-minded early adopters who will welcome a clean vehicle that takes them the short distances they need to go on one charge."
As the first pure electric urban commuting cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt begin to make an impact in the market, other big names such as BMW, Audi and Mitsubishi are getting involved. With these major automotive players, plus many others, there is sure to be plenty of options for potential EV commuters. If cars are not the ideal mode of transport there are always the scooters and motorcycles with the likes of Honda, Yamaha and Vectrix producing hybrid and pure versions.
For more attend Electric Vehicles - Land Sea Air Europe 2011
which has now been renamed from Future of Electric Vehicles to reflect its unique covering of the whole subject.