Driving on electricity: ‘the new normal’
In 1920, Maarten Steinbuch’s great-grandfather, George F. Steinbuch, wrote in his textbook that “the days of the electric car were over”. The reason for its popularity in those days were female drivers because a combustion engine was too hard for women to crank up, and doing so was a dirty job. With the advent of the starter, this problem was off.
Car of the future
Maarten Steinbuch is a professor at the Technical University of Eindhoven (The Netherlands) and CEO of Eindhoven Medical Robotics. He wrote this week’s column in the Dutch newspaper, Financieele Dagblad.
When Maarten Steinbuch’s great-grandfather wrote off the electric car, he stated it was limited, expensive, and too heavy. The car with the combustion engine would become the car of the future.
Almost a hundred years have gone by, and today, the electric car has become evident. Driving on electricity will be the new normal. After earlier attempts in the seventies and the nineties, it is clear that the modern car will be powered by an electromotor. And the ultimate goal will be to sell nothing but emission-free vehicles from 2030.
Last year in June, the sales of electric vehicles in The Netherlands represented about 10% of total sales. In Norway, it’s already 50%, thanks to the strict fiscal measures that make cars on fossil fuels costly. In Belgium, Flanders is also stimulating the sales of electric vehicles, and the number of applications for electric car grants in Flanders is steadily increasing.
However, it is interesting to see what the consumer wants. Are we still going to buy a petrol car? And will we be able to resell it after four years? What worries people most, though, are vacation-related aspects. What about range? And can you pull a caravan with an electric car?
According to the professor, it’s perfectly possible to go on vacation with an electric vehicle. In the meantime, he has driven 230.000 km, and he has crossed countries like Italy, France, Germany, and Switzerland. Charging usually takes about three-quarters of an hour, and meanwhile, the family goes for lunch. As a matter of fact, with the new and more powerful charging stations charging will even go faster.
The new normal
So, a hundred years after his great-grandfathers’ opposite conclusion, Maarten Steinbuch is convinced that the era of the combustion engine is over and done. Driving on fossil fuels is too expensive, too polluting, and needs too much maintenance. Driving on electricity will become the new normal. And hopefully, soon for everybody.