Will Dropping EV Prices Displace European Diesels?

Diesel engines have long dominated EcoMotoring in Europe, but more stringent emissions standards combined with mass production of lithium batteries may be changing the game.

It’s well known that lithium batteries are the wave of the future for developing a more robust electric car infrastructure. Today, it was announced that lithium is at an all time market high and is expected to reach unprecedented numbers by 2025, some $93 billion, according to Grand View Research. But what does all this mean for the diesel engine?

Lithium batteries have truly brought electric cars into the forefront in terms of being able to achieve power and range. Over the last decade we’ve seen conventional combustion engines augmented by this technology in a “battery” of hybrid models from a great number of manufacturers.

However, Europe has been relatively reluctant to adopt electric and hybrid models compared to its American counterparts. To the automotive layman, a question remains: “Why?!” The answer is quite simple: diesel.

Diesel engines are far more frugal than that of their gasoline counterparts and have long been preferred to relatively inefficient gasoline engines. To boot, they are extremely rugged and durable.  Many popular vehicles produced for the European market are available in a diesel option, something that is uncommon stateside because of long-standing emissions standards.  So, the electric car has had to play catch up in the worst way in communities in which the diesel engine has traditionally been preferred to to gas models.

European countries have perhaps been the greatest consumers of the diesel engine. It’s likely no coincidence that the technology is so commonplace their side of the pond. After all, the diesel engine was invented by German engineer Rudolph Diesel in the late 1870s and has thus enjoyed a great deal of attention and pedigree from European strongholds of invention.

Rudolph Diesel

The EU has highlighted the growing problem of air quality associated with diesel emissions and hopes that the European public will soon get on board with their plans to address these issues. Because diesel car ownership is so high in countries like England, Germany, and France, the electric car has yet to make a name for itself in a substantial way. As diesel automobiles begin to age and less are manufactured via the EU’s projected tougher environmental restrictions, it will begin to make more sense than ever to make the switch to EVs.

Ultimately, Americans, like Europeans, are hoping that an increased interest in lithium will bring costs associated with electric cars and their components down, making it a more practical option for car ownership.


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