Low oil prices might stall development of electric cars

Low oil prices might stall development of electric cars

It’s a sign of the times that of today’s four news items on Car and SUV, three of them are relating to electric or hybrid cars – electric filling stations in the UK,GM’s release of the Chevy Volt, and the Mercedes-Benz S400 luxury hybrid.

But now that oil has plummeted off its high of almost US$150/barrel down to a more reasonable US$90/barrel, will this stall the success of electric cars? Cost savings predicted by electric car manufacturers used fuel prices that were in line with high oil prices. Now that the cost of petrol will go down, does this mean there’s any real saving at all?

Even GM top brass – VP Larry Burns – has expressed concern saying that he wakes up at night worried that the price of a barrel of oil would drop back down to US$40. Of all companies, GM with its thirsty V8s (think Commodores, etc) should be relatively happy  that oil is cheaper – but they can’t overtly express this because it’s not the ‘new environmental’ image that they want to push.

Low oil prices (and low petrol prices) could, then, price some electric cars out of the market for the price conscious – the people that would buy an electric car to save money. But it probably won’t make much difference to those who will buy an electric car because of the potential environmental benefits.

The electric car may be about to take a knock, but it won’t die. 100% petrol-driven cars could very well go the way of steam-driven cars in the early 1900s. People will keep them around until they’re no longer usable, and replace them with hybrids or whatever other technology arrives to take our fancy.

It’s a sign of the times that of today’s four news items on Car and SUV, three of them are relating to electric or hybrid cars – electric filling stations in the UK,GM’s release of the Chevy Volt, and the Mercedes-Benz S400 luxury hybrid.

But now that oil has plummeted off its high of almost US$150/barrel down to a more reasonable US$90/barrel, will this stall the success of electric cars? Cost savings predicted by electric car manufacturers used fuel prices that were in line with high oil prices. Now that the cost of petrol will go down, does this mean there’s any real saving at all?

Even GM top brass – VP Larry Burns – has expressed concern saying that he wakes up at night worried that the price of a barrel of oil would drop back down to US$40. Of all companies, GM with its thirsty V8s (think Commodores, etc) should be relatively happy  that oil is cheaper – but they can’t overtly express this because it’s not the ‘new environmental’ image that they want to push.

Low oil prices (and low petrol prices) could, then, price some electric cars out of the market for the price conscious – the people that would buy an electric car to save money. But it probably won’t make much difference to those who will buy an electric car because of the potential environmental benefits.

The electric car may be about to take a knock, but it won’t die. 100% petrol-driven cars could very well go the way of steam-driven cars in the early 1900s. People will keep them around until they’re no longer usable, and replace them with hybrids or whatever other technology arrives to take our fancy.

« | »

Let us know what you think

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Road Tests

Silver Sponsors

Car and SUV Team

Richard-Edwards-2016Richard Edwards

Managing editor

linkedinphotoDarren Cottingham

Motoring writer

robertbarry-headRobert Barry

Chief reporter

Ian-Ferguson-6Ian Ferguson

Advertising Consultant

debDeborah Baxter

Operations Manager

RSS Latest News from Autotalk

RSS Latest News from Dieseltalk

Read previous post:
Mercedes-Benz S 400 BlueHYBRID – petrol/electric luxury

Mercedes-Benz is launching its first passenger car model equipped with a hybrid drive system in mid-2009 - the S 400...

Close