The amount of electric cars sold in the US is up with more than 400% compared to last year. One of the big drivers here, unsurprisingly, was Tesla, whose sales rocketed up 8,056.25% this year, from 160 to 13,050. But sales of the Nissan Leaf are also up by 208.44%, from 5,212 to 16,076.
Sounds great! Where it not that the Electric drive market share in the US, in 2013, is 3,85%, with Battery Electric Vehicles only accounting for 0.3% of the total drive market. Looks like more people are getting a green insurance and this kind of ethical insurance as from The Green Insurance Company provides a more free carbon offsetting, then getting an all-electric vehicle.
The electric car has still some major hurdles to clear before it will gain wide acceptance. While everyone would agree that electric cars are the future, not a lot of you have purchased an electric vehicle lately.
Still, it’s only a matter of time before electric cars reach their tipping point and start to go mainstream. For this generalization of electric vehicles to happen, you need three things; radius, rapid recharging, and affordable pricing.
Currently, your typical electric vehicle only gets you so far, say 60 to 90 miles, at most. To cross this hurdle you need at least an electric vehicle that can go 300 miles on a single charge. This is also the reason why hybrids are popular, they give you the feeling you’re green, while not limiting your driving range. That feeling of range anxiety gives the half-gas, half-electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt or the Fisker Karma a greater consumer acceptance than the fully battery electric vehicles.
Next to that, nobody is looking forward to waiting for ages before your EV is recharged again. While most EV drivers do charge their vehicles at home, recharging them at night, there comes a time when you would forget, right? And we haven’t even spoke about the price tags of these futuristic cars.
This sounds like that the era of the electric car is still a long way ahead of us, or is it?
The radius of an electric car seems to be a big hurdle for most people when buying a new car and thinking about going electric. This hurdle, often referred to as range anxiety, is however a much mistaken assumption. Research shows that 93% of U.S. commuters travel less than 100 miles to work every day, just beyond the average range of today’s EV’s. But when you look at the average commute of 13.6 miles, it is well within the range of today’s EV’s. So the radius of EV’s aren’t that big of a problem, only people don’t know it yet!
While some years back you had to wait a hole night just to recharge your electric vehicle, nowadays you can plug-in your EV, drink a coffee and be on your way again. Take the soon in place Dutch fast-charging network. By the end of 2015, residents of the Netherlands will be using the world’s largest network of electric vehicle fast-chargers, with no charger further away than 50km from any of the country’s inhabitants. These fast chargers are said to be capable of charging an EV in as little as 15 to 30 minutes. Still, it is not the two minutes people are used to filling up their gasoline powered car, but it is a major improvement, especially logically speaking.
The last issue a lot of consumers have is the price tag of an electric vehicle. A low radius EV used to start around $30,000, where a high-end Electric car, as the Tesla Roadster and Model S, sets you back 60 to 100,000 US dollar.
Now, however, this seems to be changing fast. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk is aiming to bring a new Tesla to the masses in the next three to five years, with a significant lower price tag of $35,000.
Next to that, the Nissan Leaf has already seen a 18% drop of price to $28,000, while GE has announced that the next generation Chevy Volts will be $7,000 to $10,000 cheaper. Furthermore, Mitsubishi introduced the i-MiEV, which is now available for US citizens for $15,495 after federal tax credit.
I think the future of our cars will be an electric one. While we haven’t reached a tipping point yet, there are a lot of indicators that we are driving towards that point. You may not be a green driver yet, but in the future a lot of us will be. For now you can always contribute by taking your bicycle every now and then.