2012 was a highly successful year for us. The hard work took its toll though and the Christmas break couldn’t have come early enough. It was time to recharge the batteries to face the new challenges of the year ahead.

Talking of batteries, I couldn’t help reflecting on the current state of electric vehicle development. Getting right down to the heart of the problem, battery range continues to be a major limiting factor for EVs.

The range of a typical EV remains between 90 and 100 miles in the best of conditions and obviously drops substantially when the going gets cold.

That’s all well and good for nipping around town but not the best scenario for those contemplating longer journeys further afield.

With a recharging network still somewhere off the ideal and no current agreement on a standard plug and socket, an EV still has to be considered at best a second or third family car for use around town.

Given the significant advances made by vehicle manufacturers around the world in extracting ever more from the internal combustion engine, both in terms of fuel economy and low emissions, it strikes me that battery manufacturers may have missed the boat in terms of developing a major new market.

The battery that can compete with the internal combustion engine, that is delivering the same range as an average tank of fuel, is some years off.

Depending on whom you listen to the battery that delivers a range of 500 miles will not see production until sometime between 2020 and 2030. When it finally sees the light of day in an EV, the battery will not even be a lithium-ion one but a lithium-air, delivering much higher energy density comparable to that of petrol.

However, even then, there is debate as to whether the range will be the claimed 500 miles or a more realistic 500 kilometres. The difference between a diesel and high performance petrol sports car.

The majority of us rent mobiles now, replacing them at the end of contract periods to avail ourselves of the latest technology. Does this model work for EVs?

If you lease the battery, not only is the up front cost less but the cost is also spread over the ownership term of the vehicle.

And for those holding on to vehicles for more than five years, there is not only the possibility of acquiring improved technology, i.e. a longer range/shorter charging time, but the avoidance of a massive replacement cost running to thousands of pounds.

Most would consider the battery lease route the most sensible option but as we all know, one manufacturer, Renault, has taken the opposite view and sells its EVs and batteries separately.

The battery lease route provides more consistent depreciation valuations but an EV without a battery is useless so that creates its own unique residual valuation challenges. The debate continues.

My own batteries now fully replenished, I look forward to the year ahead. The best thing about life is looking forward to getting out of bed and enjoying the day ahead. I feel blessed that I work in an industry so full of interest and one that rewards those that put in the hard work.

I hope that the fleet industry will lead the way for driving UK PLC out of the current economic quagmire. We need to capitalise on the successes of 2012.

Follow BusinessCar on TWITTER.