A recent survey carried out by an American organization, AAA, showed that car owners are more confident with a self driving car than an electric vehicle. They also believed that the autonomous car technology is more in line with what users want. Furthermore, the report also showed that younger drivers were looking forward to cars that can actually drive and operate by themselves than those that can be charged with electricity.
This result doesn't quite come as a surprise for a number of reasons. The fact that an electric car battery can die in the middle of the road with no charging depot is one reason. Others argued that the cost of charging will likely be more than the cost of maintaining the vehicle and buying fuel. But to give you a better understanding, here's why Naijauto believe self driving cars may sell more than electric cars in future.
1. Cost of gas
Respondents to the report released by AAA said they will only consider an electric car when the price of gas goes for as much as $5 per gallon, which is about N1,800 per gallon. In as much as car owners in Nigeria spend more than that, it is actually still cheaper in Nigeria to buy gas than charge your electric vehicle. Here's why.
When an electric car battery is fully charged, it can go for about 8 hours before it gets low. The kilowatts expended to charge the vehicle will cost about 6,000 naira (if you use a prepaid meter). The cost of fueling an average fuel economy car to run for 8 hours is between 5,000 - 6,000 naira. Therefore, a self driving fuel economy car will likely cost you less to run.
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2. Availability of charging depots
There's a filling station on almost every major road in Nigeria. This definitely also applies to other countries around the world. What are the possibilities of having an electric charging depot on all the major roads around the country? If possible, how safe and secure are they? Who will be in charge of ensuring they work well? What measures will be put in place to ensure the safety of vehicles and drivers at each depot. But for self driving vehicles, you can sit in the back and pay for fuel while the car drives itself.
3. Efficiency on the highway
Those who travel constantly or run the highway daily were worried about how efficient an electric vehicle can be on such roads - according to the AAA survey. They believe that autonomous cars with internal combustion engines will perform better on the highway and are more reliable than electric vehicles. If you're conversant with news about electric vehicles, you would notice that most of them run in the city and rarely long distances. Also, what happens when something goes wrong with the battery? Can it be jump started?
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Since inception, electric cars have remained quite expensive - when compared with self driving vehicles. Can the average Nigerian driver afford it? Will the cost of maintenance be less than the autonomous vehicles? How much will a professional take to fix a similar fault in both cars?
Autonomous cars aren't generally better in all ramifications as compared to their electric counterparts. But it obviously will save you a lot of time and money. Maybe when PHCN provides cheaper and reliable electricity in Nigeria, more people will lean towards the electric car option as against owning a self driving vehicle.
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