Electric cars– I have dreamed about them and, quite frankly, covet one: the Tesla Model S sedan, which is not yet in production but reservations are being taken for them now. Zero emissions and 100% instant torque: what’s not to love from that kind of vehicle? Even with the big range of the 236-300 miles advertised by the Tesla Motors electric vehicle (EV) offering or the EV products that will be offered to the masses (think Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt) at a range of 100 miles and 40 miles, respectively, you won’t want to be doing any long-distance road trips unless you know you can get back without an expensive tow job. So, what is the current plan to make these EV products something beyond an expensive novelty (but with cool green bragging rights)?
This is the first of a four-part blog post series on the state of EV readiness– infrastructure and product offerings, as well as a discussion of incentives to consumers beyond the ubiquitous tax credit.
The three largest barriers to wholesale embrace and adoption of EV will be the availability/ease of recharging the electric battery, reliability/safety of the EV offerings, and the price of gasoline. While there is a significant subset of consumers who will buy an EV solely because of the zero emission technology (and, if truth be told: the novelty of having something that is new), there will be a significantly larger number of consumers that would like to make the investment in EV technology but worry about the practicality and whether the additional cost will be worth it.
Beyond the New York Times well-known Op-Ed Columnist Thomas Friedman, I haven’t heard too many U.S. voices making the call for taxes on gasoline (similar to many places in Europe) to incentivise consumers in choosing the most energy efficient transportation options. Given our current political climate and the need to tackle some pretty big matters, I think that it is safe to say that, for now, buying and operating gasoline-powered vehicles will be less costly than EV offerings (not taking into account a very real cost to the environment, but such a cost is very hard to quantify).
But there are sufficient numbers of consumers that want to buy EVs (within financial reason) for green/global reasons alone –if the infrastructure and reliability are reasonably strong. Later this week, look for my next blog in this series pertaining to the status of EV infrastructure.