Home > News > How Far Are We from an Electric Vehicle Tipping Point?

A recent Business Insider article (“Everyone is making the same big mistake about electric cars”) offered a perspective regarding the barriers to broader electric vehicle adoption. This is a response from BIEVA member, Bill Bugbee.

Nothing could be further from the truth…”It’s currently incontrovertible: very few people want to buy an electric car…” Beyond early adopters, the general public has been waiting on several things to coalesce; range, charging convenience, and EV model selection (cars, pickups and SUVs). Within the next two model years EV selection of mass-market to luxury choices will expand dramatically.

Ownership retention is the market signal that EV’s are not going away. To the contrary, the electrification of personal ground transportation in the coming years will become the norm, rather than the exception. Tesla has already demonstrated, with global advance orders by major transportation players the demand for its all-electric Semi truck-trailer, and the promise of zero emissions and autonomous commercial trucking within the next few years.

The growing popularity of EV’s is easy to understand. Near zero maintenance, outstanding performance with 100% torque on-demand, long vehicle life, quiet and comfortable ride, all rolled up in one package.

Tesla has set a very high bar for competitors by delivering to the driving public vehicles with style, unmatched performance (blows away any ICE performance competitor), and advanced technology that has Germany, Japan, Detroit, S. Korea, and China all scrambling to play catch up – good luck with that.

GM’s introduction of the 225 mile range Bolt EV features a small cross-over vehicle design with lots of utility, plenty of range, and acceleration. Unlike the Chevy Volt, GM finally appears fully committed to EV’s and the Bolt’s success, along with other “future” EV platforms.   Meantime, Tesla’s model 3 (with 220 miles base model range, and 310 miles range for Premium model versions) is now being delivered to a massive 450,000 back-order list of new and patient Tesla customers.

Both the Chevy Bolt and Model 3 are riding the transformative wave of second generation EV mass market adoption.  Governments and utilities are playing catch up, and creating some bumps in the road to mass market EV adoption.

Presently, there is an absence of charging networks (other than Tesla’s cross-county charging infrastructure now in place).  This limitation will go away in time with greater vehicle range (as the driving charge range threshold grows from 100 to 200 to 300 to 400 plus miles), and new and expanded charging options for EV owners.

Current EV ownership limitations have translated into an owner profile that favors EV’s with greater than 200 miles range, and owners with home garages and charging stations, or access to residential parking and charging, and/or place-of-business buildings with charging stations.  The convenience and benefits of home charging cannot be overstated. This is especially true for EV owners here in Hawai’i with PV solar generation on their home and/or business roof tops that provide the added advantage of fueling their vehicles for free via the sun …and that benefits everyone, as well as the planet.

…” EV versus gas-powered car —can’t be justified on the simplistic grounds that EVs are in the end cheaper to own.”  This article statement is true; there are many additional advantages of EV ownership that exceed the sum of lower ownership operating costs – and I submit, the joy of driving electric.

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Bill Bugbee is a clean energy and sustainability advocate. He was Chairman of the Board at Community Forums and is the Director at Globetrans EC. Importantly, he ‘walks the talk’ – Bill owns a Chevy Volt and Tesla Model S 90D. He also powers his home and cars with solar energy. He resides in Kona.

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