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Deloitte: Electric Cars Won't Be Adopted Quickly

electric car

Sure, it would be great if the electric vehicle revolution took place in a matter of months or even a few years. But changing the planet's vehicle infrastructure takes time. And a new study from Deloitte Consulting says electric vehicles will only have 2% to 5% of the U.S. market share in 10 years.

It's a slightly disheartening statistic, but consider this: Deloitte claims that advanced EV batteries are expected to cost an average $600 per kilowatt hour in 2014, compared to today's cost of $1,000 per kilowatt hour. EVs simply aren't affordable yet—and they probably won't be for a long time.

One exception: the Nissan Leaf, which will cost approximately $33,000 when it is released later this year. A recent report claims that Nissan has managed to get the cost of the Leaf's battery pack down to $375 per kilowatt hour. If that's true, Nissan could potentially speed up the mass adoption of electric cars, but other automakers don't seem to be counting on it.

Reuters gives us some perspective on the problem:

Hill said the adoption of electric cars could more closely parallel the relatively slow acceptance of 20th-century consumer breakthroughs like the washing machine than the fast embrace of more recent innovations like the cellphone. It took the washing machine from 1930 until 1975 to go from 10 percent use in U.S. homes to 70 percent. By contrast, the jump for mobile phones to 70 percent from 10 percent in the U.S. market took a mere decade.

It was easy for cell phones to make a quick jump in popularity—they're relatively cheap compared to washing machines and electric cars. With EVs, consumers are looking to make more of a long-term investment. And until the average price of EVs goes down and an infrastructure is in place, that investment won't make sense.