This is what happens when we hit the limit of technological innovation.
Right now, one of the biggest impediments to the widespread adoption of the electric car is the fact that most semi-practical EVs are out of the average consumer's price range. The cheapest Tesla Model S costs $66,000 and has a range of 210 miles. If this is still too much money, we recently tested a Fiat 500e that cost half as much, except it only delivered a maximum range of 84 miles. That’s BMW 2 Series or Audi Q3 money for a no frills EV that has serious limitations.
Unfortunately, when it comes to fuel-efficient and environment saving cars, the general trend is that the more practical (the closer it matches a gasoline vehicle in utility) the car, the more that it costs. This tendency to pay a larger sum to enter into the realm of environmentally friendly vehicles is a reality that may soon have widespread implications for customers according to Jim Farley, Ford’s head of operations in Europe. Farley told the Financial Times (subscription required) that Europe’s latest round of emissions regulations, which will require real world testing of efficiency ratings over laboratory measurements by 2020, are poised to make the next generation of cars too expensive for consumers.
Since many of these regulations will require cutting edge fuel savings technology be installed in all cars, automakers will need to raise the price to make up for the investment. This would hold true even for base models, which would make them too expensive for many buyers. Farley fears that the new regulations will create an “elitist industry” in Europe where only the affluent will be able to afford cars. Despite his complaints, we think cars will remain accessible. Every region of the civilized world depends on them, we’re sure that automakers will work hard to make affordable and compliant cars or risk turning a cold shoulder to potential profits. Just ask Ford, it knows a thing or two about how to turn a profit.