Since Robert Anderson developed the first electric vehicle (EV) in 1832, serious consideration of these vehicles has ebbed and flowed. A Forbes report from Feb. 24 indicates that the current increase in purchases of electric vehicles is due to the availability of new models combined with rising fuel prices, although EV sales have not necessarily correlated with high gas prices in the past.
Whatever the reason, an Ipsos study late last year indicated that interest in EVs tripled since 2018, with as many as one-third of U.S. car buyers now considering an EV. Market consultant AutoPacific supports those numbers, predicting that EV sales in the United States will reach 670,000 in 2022—a 37% increase from last year’s number.
Consumers value the lower cost of charging an EV, especially with special electricity rates that incentivize charging during off-peak hours—and they appreciate the convenience of doing it at home, according to AutoPacific. They also like the quietness of EVs and their diminished impact on the environment.
According to the Forbes and Ipsos studies, many of the traditional hurdles are being overcome on the way toward the national goal of 50% EV sales by 2030.
Availability of models: Historically, EVs have not been available in all forms, so drivers of pickup trucks, SUVs and luxury sports sedans couldn’t find an electric alternative. This is changing. Ford’s new F-150 Lightning, for instance, is capturing so much attention that the manufacturer stopped taking orders for the truck, which is scheduled for delivery this spring. GMC has followed suit and is taking advanced reservations for its Hummer EV pickup and SUV.
Cost: Upfront costs of EVs are higher than for gas-powered vehicles, but due to scarcity and increasing demand, some dealers are adding five-digit markups and nonessential extras. Another higher cost is auto insurance, which generally runs about 23% more for EVs.
Nevertheless, total cost of ownership is lower. At 36 months, it’s as much as 31% lower, and at 200,000 miles—the average lifespan of a vehicle—Car and Driver calculates that an EV costs $4,380 less. That includes costing 60% less to power, and maintenance costs that are lower by half, according to Consumer Reports.
Range: Range can extend anywhere from 100 to 500-plus miles. It’s a complicated calculation based on factors such as model, highway versus city miles, weather and charging infrastructure. EVs typically travel about half the distance of a gas-powered vehicle before needing to be charged, and with fewer than 46,000 EV public charging sites in the United States, according to Department of Energy data, that can be a problem. However, the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will significantly increase availability of charging infrastructure, with $7.5 billion allocated to construct a nationwide network of EV charging stations. Additionally, new models are using features such as an auxiliary power unit to extend range.
Ease and speed of charging: In combination with range anxiety, charging time remains a significant barrier. Adding 100 range miles can take anywhere from six minutes to 26 hours of charging, according to a study out of Harvard. Today, some public Level-2 charging stations offer DC fast charging, which can charge an EV to 80% in under 30 minutes.
About The Author
Lori Lovely is an award-winning writer and editor in central Indiana. She writes on technical topics, heavy equipment, automotive, motorsports, energy, water and wastewater, animals, real estate, home improvement, gardening and more. Reach her at: [email protected]