They aren't as good as smartphones.
BMW is one of many automakers currently asking the question - how do we sell more electric cars? The brand's first EV, the i3, is set to be phased out with a slew of new i-branded models set to take its place. The first will be an all-electric version of the compact X3 crossover called the iX3 likely followed by electric versions of the 5 Series sedan, X1 crossover, and even the flagship 7 Series.
Having enough product variety to suit buyers' demands won't be an issue for BMW moving forward but Stephan Neugebauer, the company's Director of Global Research Cooperation, sees another potential speed bump on the road to stronger EV sales. Speaking with Innovation Origins, Neugebauer outlined what he believes to be the most significant barrier to EV ownership.
"No one will buy an electric car if you can't charge it near your work or home. It's as simple as that. That is why we must continue our partnership with the European Union," Neugebauer explained. "Except that we no longer need to focus solely on the actual development of the car itself, as has been mainly the case in recent years. We should focus on cooperation with others, like energy companies and municipalities."
In the EU specifically, there exists a research budget as part of the Horizon Europe program, which amounts to around 100 billion euros in the next several years. Neugebauer believes some of this budget should be spent installing chargers in European cities. "You just have to be able to drive somewhere and stick the plug into a socket so that you can charge a car," Neugebauer said, comparing the ease to charging up a smartphone. "That's my vision for the future."
The United States is facing a similar issue with not having enough chargers to support the growth in EV sales. Volkswagen has invested over $2 billion in its Electrify America subsidiary to install public chargers across the US. Until countries around the world begin installing more easily-accessible chargers, EV adoption may never reach the level automakers and governments are hoping for.