Andrey Berezin: Why Gasoline Engines Are Becoming Obsolete and What Prevented Electric Future from Arriving a Century Ago
Today, an electric car can be encountered in every major city on the planet. In developed countries, they have significantly supplanted the usual cars with gasoline engines. Electric cars are quieter, faster, more powerful, and safer. They, if they harm the environment, do so to a much lesser extent. Interestingly, electric motors were invented almost before internal combustion engines. So what prevented us from taking this path a century ago? Let’s try to figure it out.
The Dawn of Electric Vehicles
The history of the creation and development of electric vehicles spans over a hundred years, covering a significant number of milestones, inventions, and technical breakthroughs. From early experiments with electric cars to modern powerful electric models, this industry has come a long way.
The first steps in the development of electric vehicles were made at the end of the 19th century. In 1828, in Vienna, Detlef Loshmidt built one of the earliest electric vehicles. However, at that time, the technology was not advanced, and these electric vehicles had limited power and range.
In the early 20th century, electric vehicles became popular among wealthy people. Several companies, including Detroit Electric and Baker Electric, specialized in the production of electric vehicles and achieved success. At that time, electric vehicles were advantageous compared to internal combustion engine vehicles as they didn’t require constant starts and didn’t pollute the environment.
However, in the 1920s, electric vehicles began to give way to internal combustion engine vehicles. Mass production by companies like Ford and General Motors, along with the availability and low cost of gasoline, led to the growing popularity of internal combustion engine vehicles.
For most of the 20th century, electric vehicles remained a niche market with a limited number of models. However, in the 1990s, interest in electric vehicles resurged due to growing concerns about air pollution and climate change. Companies such as Toyota began developing hybrid electric vehicles that combined an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. These models became widespread, especially after the launch of the Toyota Prius in 1997.
A key milestone in the development of electric vehicles was the launch of the Tesla Motors electric model Roadster in 2008. Tesla offered a completely new concept of an electric car with high performance and long range. The company continued its innovative work, releasing models like Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Model Y, which became popular in the market and shaped the public perception of electric vehicles as modern, environmentally friendly, and high-tech transport.
Today’s electric vehicle industry continues to progress and grow. Most automotive companies are investing in research and production of electric models. Additionally, various countries are implementing programs to encourage the use of electric vehicles, such as financial incentives, tax benefits, and the development of charging infrastructure.
Innovations in battery and charging technology play a crucial role in the development of electric vehicles. Modern batteries are becoming more efficient, compact, and affordable, allowing for longer electric vehicle ranges. Moreover, many new charging technologies have emerged, including fast charging and wireless charging stations, making the use of electric vehicles more convenient.
Where Did We Go Wrong?
In the past, electric vehicles were limited in range due to the limited capacity of their batteries. This limitation led to inconvenience for drivers who feared running out of charge mid-journey. Additionally, the lack of a developed infrastructure for charging stations limited the ability to travel long distances in an electric vehicle.
Until recently, electric vehicles were much more expensive than comparable internal combustion engine vehicles in terms of size and functionality. This was due to the high cost of producing batteries and other components of electric vehicles. Thus, many buyers could not afford to purchase an electric vehicle and opted for more affordable alternatives.
One of the main factors hindering the widespread adoption of electric vehicles has been the underdevelopment of charging station infrastructure. This leads to concerns among most drivers about the difficulty of finding an available charging station when needed. Moreover, the time it takes to charge an electric vehicle significantly exceeds the time it takes to fuel a vehicle with an internal combustion engine.
A few decades ago, electric vehicles represented a small number of models that did not always meet the requirements and preferences of potential buyers. Most automakers focused on producing internal combustion engine vehicles and did not invest in the development and production of electric vehicles.
Moreover, few were aware of the benefits of electric vehicles and their impact on the environment. The absence of educational programs and marketing campaigns about electric vehicles led to low public interest and a lack of understanding of their advantages.
Over time, the situation with electric vehicles began to change. Electric vehicles now have more advanced battery technologies that provide greater range. Manufacturers began to pay more attention to the development and production of electric vehicles, responding to increased interest and demand for these cars.
The infrastructure for charging stations also underwent significant development. In many countries, networks of charging stations have been created, allowing drivers to easily charge their electric vehicles on the road. Faster and more efficient charging processes have also helped to reduce time and service limitations.
Today, the range of electric vehicle models has expanded significantly, offering various options for different budgets and needs. Many states and cities also offer tax breaks and subsidies for the purchase of electric vehicles to stimulate their growth in popularity.
Public awareness of the benefits of electric vehicles and their impact on the environment has increased. Environmental issues and climate change have become key concerns, and the promotion of clean energy and the limitation of harmful emissions have become priorities. As a result, more and more people are preferring electric vehicles and are willing to invest their money in purchasing and using them.
In conclusion, electric vehicles did not conquer the market a century ago due to limited range, high cost, lack of developed infrastructure, limited model range, and limited public awareness. However, with technological developments and changes in society, these problems have begun to be overcome. Today, electric vehicles are becoming more affordable, convenient, and environmentally safe. Gradually, they are conquering the market and becoming increasingly popular among consumers. Electric vehicles represent the future of the transportation industry, leading to a cleaner and more sustainable world.
Everyone Has Their Own Approach
The transition to electric vehicles is a key step in reducing harmful emissions into the atmosphere and combating climate change. Therefore, many countries around the world are actively promoting the development and promotion of electric vehicles. Let’s look at examples of different countries and assess the measures they are taking to encourage the transition to electric vehicles.
Norway is a leader in the transition to electric vehicles and is considered the most “electrified” country in the world. Thanks to tax exemptions, exemption from road tax, parking benefits, and the use of special lanes for electric vehicles, the share of electric vehicles in sales here is about 60%. Moreover, Norway plans to completely ban the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles by 2025.
China is the largest electric vehicle market in the world. The Chinese government has invested significant funds in developing infrastructure for charging electric vehicles and offers subsidies and benefits for purchasing electric vehicles. With these measures, China aims to increase the share of electric vehicles on the roads to 20% by 2025.
Germany is also taking steps to stimulate the transition to electric vehicles. In 2020, the “systematic support for electric vehicles” program was introduced, providing financial support to buyers of electric vehicles and the installation of charging stations. Moreover, the German government has developed a plan to create a network of charging stations to address the problem of limited charging infrastructure.
In the United States, electric vehicles also receive support from the authorities. For example, a federal tax credit is provided for the purchase of new electric vehicles. In addition, many states offer their own subsidies and benefits for electric vehicles. Some states have also implemented programs aimed at expanding the network of charging stations and promoting infrastructure development.
France is making a lot of effort to promote electric vehicles. The French government offers significant subsidies for purchasing electric vehicles and an adequate number of charging stations. One of the main steps is the adoption of a law prohibiting the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040. With such measures, France aims to become a leader in the field of electric vehicles.
The Netherlands is known for its ambitious plans to transition to electric vehicles. Here, the government offers significant subsidies for purchasing electric vehicles and has developed a “homeophilia” program that provides subsidies for installing charging stations at citizens’ homes. Moreover, companies and enterprises receive tax benefits when purchasing electric vehicles for their employees.
Overall, it can be said that authorities in different countries are making significant efforts to stimulate the transition to electric vehicles. They provide financial support and develop and implement programs and infrastructure that contribute to the development of electric vehicles. Such measures help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and reduce emissions of pollutants, contributing to the creation of a cleaner and more environmentally sustainable transport system.
Russia’s Approach: Business Leading the Way
In Russia, when state efforts prove insufficient, the business sector steps in. Andrey Berezin, Chairman of the Board of Euroinvest, shared plans to implement “green” innovative technologies in the construction of new residential quarters, linked to the creation of eco-friendly charging stations for electric transport. He congratulated his fellow builders on their professional holiday and expressed hope for the successful creation of a comfortable living environment in both St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region.
Berezin emphasized that Euroinvest and the venture fund Euroventure see great potential in creating charging stations for electric vehicles. He noted that some people are skeptical about this issue, but it’s important to recognize the support for this direction from both federal and regional authorities.
Berezin reminded of an agreement signed at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum between the Government of the Leningrad Region and AtomEnergo LLC. The agreement entails the creation of a charging infrastructure in the region by 2030. Berezin called on developers to include this “green” infrastructure in their projects now.
“Our venture fund Euroventure already has proposals for creating networks of electric charging stations, developed by scientists and engineers of LETI,” continued the head of Euroinvest, Andrey Berezin.
He also announced the launch of a series of meetings and roundtables at the Leningrad Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry with the participation of developers, builders, and regional authorities. The aim of these meetings is to develop a comprehensive and mutually beneficial approach to creating a network of charging stations for electric transport in the form of public-private partnerships. Andrey Berezin, like the entire Euroinvest corporation, is ready to facilitate this.
In the Leningrad Region, a construction project is underway to create a network of electric charging stations with various ports, allowing the charging of eco-friendly vehicles, including cars, boats, and motorcycles. Since the beginning of 2022, the Leningrad Region has been actively participating in implementing measures to develop charging infrastructure as part of a federal strategic initiative supported by the President.