The New York Times recently published an article about macro factors that are playing a part in the large-scale adoption of electric vehicles. These include:
- Cost of components and battery storage, i.e., cost parity or improvement over ‘gas’ counterparts. This is something that is quickly coming. Note that pre-owned EVs are also becoming abundant and they are very reasonably priced. Additionally, the cost to operate an EV is lower than that of a ‘gas’ car.
- Access to fast charging stations. This is especially important on major travel corridors and in urban areas where owners may be in condos or apartments. On the Big Island, we’re still in need of chargers around the southern end of the island and on Saddle Road.
- Travel range. With newer EVs like the Teslas, Chevy Model 3, and the 2018 Nissan LEAF, ranges over 150 miles are possible. Teslas with over 300 miles are available. These EVs are sufficient for travel across our island. Importantly, for many, the typical commute range is less than 50 miles daily so many of the early EVs provide full utility.
- Public perception and awareness. There are habits and expectations that must evolve for people to ‘get’ electric cars. The quiet, smoothness, and quickness of electric cars create a sensation that is wonderful and must be experienced to be appreciated. They can also be a detractor for people who are used to the sounds, vibration, and even the exhaust of the ‘gas’ engine.
- Car industry production, supply, and profit models. Manufacturers, suppliers, and the car service industry must evolve or be left behind by those that are aggressively shifting attention to electrics. This is starting to happen on a global scale with major brands building or promising to build their ‘Tesla-killer” (a sad metaphor but if it gets more EVs on the road, it works). Service, likewise, needs to evolve as EVs don’t require as much maintenance as ‘gas’ cars (e.g., no oil changes, fewer components that can fail).
Not mentioned in the article are peripheral developments in energy production and storage, autonomous driving technology, transportation service models, and form factors beyond the car. There are many hurdles to cross but they are getting lower and there are many companies and industries in the race.
It will take over the world before long.