With the increase in demand for electric cars in some of the biggest markest in the world - read: China, Europe, and the US - analysts are saying that 2018 saw the peak demand for cars with internal combustion engines. Governments around the world are pushing for energy efficient vehicles, for cleaner transportation, and this means that electric cars are getting bigger and bigger incentives to persuade consumers to make the shift.
Well, at least that's what a report by the Financial Times states. The problem is it isn't quite as straightforward as people expect, as the sales of electric cars in many parts of the world is sluggish due to a lack of infrastructure and the technology still being in relative infancy. We haven't quite developed technology that can charge an electric car in as short of a time as it takes to fill up a tank of petrol or diesel, so for many consumers who don't have the luxury of time or flexibility of movement, an electric car is still out of the question.
Even in Kuala Lumpur, where we are seeing an aggressive push for charging outlets in malls and car parks, plug-in hybrid vehicle owners are finding it difficult to charge their batteries. In all honesty, their cars usually end up being good value for money propositions at purchase, rather than being environmentally friendly from a holistic standpoint. Even then, hybrid vehicles will still out-sell electric vehicles as they have the added practicality of being able to fill up at any petrol station on demand.
This "writing on the wall" for internal combustion engines is based on data collected from the second half of 2018, which saw a steady decline in demand for cars with internal combustion engines. The statement doesn't take into account the fact that 2018 was a rough year for international trade in general, what with big political shifts and many automakers left in limbo as local policies are constantly changing and putting a wrench in the works, so to speak.
Big firms - Accenture, Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Jato Dynamics - all speak of varying levels of decline in demand for the conventional car, with each firm also reporting either a minor increase or decrease in car demand on the whole (electric included). The current prediction is that regardless of whether the market goes up or down for car sales, electric cars will gain ground on their conventional counterparts - especially when China has the lion's share of consumers.
But we wouldn't be so quick to discredit the internal combustion engine just yet. There are plenty of emerging markets, especially in ASEAN, where demand and production and growth are all steadily increasing as countries in the region develop.