Electric vehicles have been rising in popularity for the past few years, but now electric vehicles embody the future of the auto industry. Major car manufacturers have announced plans to reduce the number of gasoline models of cars, and some to eliminate completely in favor of electric cars.
This transition to the electric automobile will take time, but lack of infrastructure is the main barrier to continued growth. Prior to many of the announcements by car manufacturers, there were a few barriers preventing people from purchasing electric vehicles currently. Those include a high purchase price, limited choice in models, low mileage and a lack of public charging options (as well as long charging periods for more affordable models) But major car manufacturers are addressing these main issues.
Volkswagen plans to introduce more than 30 electric vehicles over the coming decade; Porsche CEO Oliver Blume says that by 2023, he expects half the company’s production to be electric vehicles; Ford will add 13 electric models to its lineup over the next several years, investing $4.5 billion in the process; every car Volvo launches starting in 2019 will be electric; BMW expects electric vehicles to account for 15 to 25 percent of total sales by 2025.
As the electric vehicle trend continues to grow and is encouraged by governmental agents, there will be a continued decrease in pricing and likely discounts offered through governmental programs and tax cuts. As countries adopt a full transition from gas-powered vehicles to electric, reductions in price will be a solution that assists in facilitating the major change. There are a growing number, now more than 15, models of electric vehicles under 30,000. EVs have come down in price, largely due to the plummeting cost of lithium batteries. There is an increase in lithium batteries that are being produced and used in electric vehicles. Faster and more efficient batteries allow for shorter charging time and lasting for a longer period of mileage. As technology advances and power sources become more available, those prices will continue to drop.
The major issue that still remains to be dealt with is creating public infrastructure to support the increase in electric vehicles. Companies like ChargePoint, a designer and developer of electric vehicle charging hardware and software, are leading the way as municipalities continue to figure out how to seamlessly incorporate charging stations into built-up city infrastructure. While this particular company has more than 41,000 charging spots, those charging locations were purchased by a consumer (an individual for home use, a retailer for parking lot use, a company for employee use, etc.) and owned individually.
Governments, local and national alike, continue to figure out how to incorporate the changing automobile movement within existing infrastructure. One way is partnering with private businesses and retail destinations. The charging spots act as a way for new customers to be attracted to a retail destination and build an additional revenue stream from a new consumer basis, with a higher spending capacity. Leading employers attract talent by offering options for workplace charging as a benefit. Companies often already assist with travel costs for employees and is something that the public sector can encourage private businesses to get behind.
The main locations for existing electric vehicle infrastructure in the US are Los Angeles, the San Fransico Bay Area, and the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area. While these seem like obvious hubs for electrical vehicle ownership, the cities with the most electric vehicle expansion might be surprising. Las Vegas, Denver, Kansas City and Raleigh/Durham all have the most infrastructure growth.
The number of electric vehicles is growing overall, not just in these specific areas. Sales are up 45 percent from July 2016 to July 2017. As people continue to purchase electric vehicles, there is a growing indeed for charging stations readily available throughout the country. Considering the potential ban on new gasoline-powered vehicles, gas stations may eventually become a thing of the past. California Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order that will help get 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025. But around the globe, countries are taking it a step further.
France and the U.K. will ban the sale of any new gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2040. Norway’s proposed ban will go into effect by 2025. India plans to sell only electric vehicles by 2030. Even China, where roughly 28 million vehicles were sold last year and only one percent of them was electric, is working on a ban for gasoline powered automobiles. Cities around the world are driving significant electric vehicle adoption and as cities look for innovative ways to reduce emissions, they incentivize cleaner modes of transportation through policy and initiatives.
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