The electric vehicle adoption rate in the U.S. has been slow over the years, due in part to some significant and legitimate concerns among American consumers. Tracking these major obstacles – especially as they relate to consumer viewpoints and decisions regarding electric vehicles (EVs) – has been an important part of speeding up the rate of electric vehicle adoption.
Today, it’s clear that these obstacles are steadily fading away. They’re not completely gone, but they’re much less impactful, and things are looking up.
Below are five of the biggest obstacles to EV adoption that we’ve been tracking, along with a quick summary of the positive news surrounding each of them.
1. Range anxiety
EVs have always been viewed as cars that can’t be driven very far, before needing to be recharged. This concern is being managed well by OEMs, as they recognize that the battery technology has to improve.
New vehicles, like the newest Chevy Bolt with a range of 238 miles, the new Nissan Leaf with a 151 mile range today (and a new update in 2019 to 220 miles), and the new 2019 Hyundai Kona with a 258 mile range are just a few examples of very significant progress on this front. And, battery technology innovation will only see this mileage range continue to get better.
2. Charging infrastructure
Many people feel as though there are not enough charging stations in the community, at the workplace, and across their region to support EV adoption. But, momentum is growing to change this concern, particularly with public policy programs to support infrastructure build-out.
36 of the 50 states in the U.S. now have initiatives underway to either formally reduce carbon emission and push for green energy, finance car charging station infrastructure, build EV incentives, or promote regulatory innovation. Industry leader ChargePoint now estimates that the annual electrical vehicle infrastructure station growth this year will be 41% in the US.
3. Not enough vehicle options
Market surveys have always reported that the industry has too few electric vehicle choices, with the best ones being too expensive. The Volkswagen Group will electrify all 300 of its cars and SUVs by 2030, delivering 80 new electrified models by 2025. GM will be bringing a total of 20 new EVs to market by 2023. Ford is investing $4.5 billion in EV development and plans to add 13 new EVs over the next few years. All in all, the OEMs globally are investing $92.5 billion in the EV segment, which is dramatically changing the market.
4. Vehicle costs
This is a hot topic whenever anyone mentions electric cars. The general theme of the conversations are that EVs are more expensive to buy than their regular counterparts, though in general they are far less expensive to run on a per-mile basis.
But, the up-front pricing options are beginning to improve now, too. Volkswagen recently announced in November 2018 that it plans to produce more than 50 million new EVs in the coming years, all far cheaper than Tesla vehicles.
A major reason for new lower pricing is the fact that over the last 7 years, battery technology has not only dramatically improved, but battery costs have also dropped by 79%. This has huge implications to enable OEMs to produce more cost-effective vehicles.
5. Vehicle performance
In the early years, electric cars were not the most stylish, high performing, or aspirational cars for people to consider. The arrival of serious, high-performance, premium OEMs has changed the game. For the first time, we have cars which are great to drive, aesthetically pleasing, and cost-effective.
One example of many is the new Chevy Bolt EV, which challenges whatever negative preconceived notions people have about EVs. The car is fast, responsive, and comfortable, measuring up well against its EV competitors in terms of driving dynamics.
The above obstacles and concerns have not completely disappeared; more changes will be needed, and more education among consumers will need to occur. That said, very exciting changes are taking place all the time, and even more powerful progress is headed our way in the near future.