Do electric cars have the future?

Lizet column #3

The electric car is gaining increased attention the last couple of years. For example: the Toyota Prius (hybrid car) can frequently be seen on the road and Tesla is fading away the bland and boring image of electric cars with its fancy designs. How new and innovative the idea of an electric car may seem, the truth differs.

The first electric car was created in 1835. Fifty years later, when the French developed useful batteries, the electric car gets popular. At that time, it was expected that most means of transport would use an electric engine in the future. People saw the advantages compared with cars with combustion engines: the car shakes less, is more reliably and produces less noice and emissions. Besides, electric cars don’t have to switch gears and are faster. This changed in the beginning of the 20th century: the electric engine had to compete with the steam engine and the combustion engine. The electric car lost market because of its limited radius of action and low speed (due to the heavy accumulators). The introduction of the lithium-ion battery puts the electric car back in the spotlight in the beginning of the 21th century (ANWB).

Now the electric car gets a lot of attention due to its (expected) advantages for the climate and living environment. The ambition of the kabinet-Rutte was to increase the amount of electric cars in the Netherlands to a million in 2025. In this way, the dependency on fossil fuels decreases and the Netherlands contributes to the European goals concerning the CO2-emissions caused by transport in 2050. The emissions have to decrease with 60% compared to 1990. A full switch-over to electric cars will contribute severe to this goal. However, this will be very hard to realize (PBL, Nijland, Hoen, Snellen, & Zondag, 2012). The disadvantages (limited radius of action, the price) weigh heavier than the advantages (better for climate and living environment). Electric cars get tax benefits, but still they are expensive compared to normal cars.

I believe that electric cars have the future, or in other words: cars driving on fossil fuels do not have a future. Therefore the government should keep on giving tax benefits to people who drive electric. They should be an example and drive electric cars themselves. The gap in the budget caused by the tax benefits should be filled by the taxed from cars with combustion engines. The user pays princple.


ANWB. (n.d.). Historie elektrische auto. Retrieved 12 6, 2014, from ANWB:

PBL, Nijland, H., Hoen, A., Snellen, D., & Zondag, B. (2012). Elektrisch rijden in 2050: gevolgen voor de leefomgeving. PBL, Den Haag.