Electric vehicles are becoming more mainstream, and that’s good news for consumers who care about reducing their carbon footprint, improving the environment, and yes watching their wallets. The market is changing rapidly, both in terms of the number of electric vehicle options available and the technology that goes into them. Understandably, that leads to a lot of questions about affordability, practicality, and reliability.
Below, we’ve outlined three of the most significant trends that we’re seeing in the electric vehicle market, and what those trends could mean for you and the future of transportation.
1. More Competition Means Lower Costs for Consumers
The electric vehicle finally appears to be here to stay. As more consumers become increasingly concerned about both the cost of traditional fossil fuels and their impact on the environment, electric vehicles have become more attractive and more popular. According to EEI.org, electric vehicles on the road in the United States passed one million vehicles in 2018, with the number growing rapidly.
This is prompting more automakers to jump into the electric vehicle market and grab their piece of the pie and that’s good news for consumers. This increased competition is paving the way for a wave of electric vehicles at lower price points, making them more accessible for the average driver. It’s a welcome change from a trend that, just a few years ago, showed average EV prices increasing rather than decreasing as many automakers had not yet released additional models.
As of 2019, QZ.com notes that EVs are getting cheaper, with the average price falling from $64,300 to $55,600 in just one year. That’s still a pretty penny to spend on a car, but as EV technology gets cheaper to produce and more models flood the market, we could see a dramatic fall in vehicle price tags soon.
This doesn’t even take into consideration the cost of owning an electric vehicle compared to a gas-powered vehicle. If oil prices skyrocket in the next decade due to a depletion of global oil reserves, the comparative cost of owning an EV may seem downright cheap to a gas-powered car.
2. Increased Variety of Vehicle Types
Despite the increasing adoption of electric vehicles by consumers over the past five years, there is one factor that has been limiting for the market: the variety of electric vehicles is expanding. The Tesla Model S was, and still is, a pricey luxury vehicle with additional high-end features beyond its electric battery, such as its famous self-driving mode.
Besides the Model S, Tesla is already producing the pseudo-SUV Model X and the more affordable Model 3 sedan, but when it comes to breaking ground with new models, Ford is hot on Tesla’s (w)heels. The American automaker has announced that it expects to release its first fully electric pickup truck in 2021. For the consumers who still prefer the benefits of a larger vehicle, or even require it for their work, they will soon have a fully electric option.
For those looking for a luxury sports car option, the Porsche Taycan is the German automaker’s first fully electric vehicle. And like most Porsche models, the Taycan has already become a darling among passionate motorists.
Volkswagen has recently launched its marketing campaign to promote the new VW Microbus, which won’t hit dealerships until 2022. Nevertheless, VW is harkening back to its 60s roots with the Microbus which has aesthetic similarities to the design of its iconic “hippie” bus. With three rows of seats, it is also, notably, one of the few electric vehicles that can fit a large family.
With a greater variety in the type of electric vehicle available, more consumers will be inclined to ‘give up the gas’ and ‘go electric’.
3. Longer Range & More Reliability
In the early days of electric vehicles, there was a widespread fear (and a general misconception) that the charge for the electric battery only supported driving over short distances and when that charge ran out, your vehicle would die in the middle of the road.
While earlier models did indeed have shorter ranges, those fears were often overblown, and the vehicles quickly became equipped with a ‘turtle mode’ a power conservation mode that would alert drivers when the charge was low to give them an opportunity to find a charging station or pull over to a safe location.
As electric vehicle technology has improved over the years, so has the range for the standard EV battery; the 2019 Nissan Leaf has a range of about 200 miles, while the 2019 Tesla Model 3 has a range of about 300 miles.
But industry experts agree that the relatively longer range of today’s full-electric vehicles is only the beginning; EV batteries are expected to increase the charge capacity and thus their range by up to 10% every year. Tesla is reportedly working on a battery that could support 600 miles by 2022. If accurate, that would be a 100% improvement in range in just three years.
Furthermore, Tesla is reportedly working on a battery that has a total lifespan of one million miles (the current type of lithium-ion battery used in most Teslas is estimated to support roughly half that). That means, throughout owning the vehicle, the average driver will likely never need to change their battery due to lack of charge.
Perhaps the most significant factor in the electric vehicle range is the continued expansion of EV charging station networks. It is increasingly commonplace to find charging stations at grocery stores, outside coffee shops, installed in parking decks, and even in traditional gas stations!
As more homeowners, public facilities, and private businesses adopt EV charging stations to meet growing demand, the concern over whether EVs are capable of those long-distance road trips will continue to fade away.
The Future Is Here
Long past are the days when spotting a Tesla Model S or a Chevy Volt on the street was a novelty; today, EVs are everywhere, and their increasing presence in our daily lives makes a difference. Whatever stigmas or assumptions were once associated with electric vehicles and their drivers are already changing, opening the door for average consumers to consider giving an EV a test drive. That’s good for the electric vehicle market and better yet, for the environment.