BY DANIEL SCOTT MITCHELL, STAFF WRITER
In many ways, 2018 was the year of the electric vehicle (EV). For example, despite numerous production delays, leadership scandals and other various roadblocks, Tesla ended the year with the best-selling luxury vehicle in the United States, the Model 3. In case you thought this trend was limited to Tesla alone, it is important to note that in 2018, each of the world’s 10 largest automakers also announced bullish strategies for approaching the electric vehicle market.
The growth of electric vehicles doesn’t just seem to be a short-lived fad. Many automotive companies’ activities seem to indicate that EVs are here to stay. Notably, Volkswagen recently placed an order for over $48 billion in batteries, per a Fortune magazine report. This order was large enough to require three of the world’s biggest battery companies to work together to fulfill it. Additionally, Ford announced that they will discontinue all of their sedans in pursuit of electric replacements.
Besides, it’s not just those two––almost every major car company has started terminating gasoline and diesel models and replacing them with electric hybrid or electric vehicles. This means that the model you currently drive will almost certainly be discontinued or electrified in the next few years.
What does this mean for you and me? Whether we like it or not, the next car that you or I purchase will likely be an electric vehicle.
As a passionate car enthusiast, my knee jerk reaction is to be disappointed by this news. If electric vehicles take over, I will certainly miss the low rumble of my pickup truck turning over or the sweet purr of my turbo-diesel hatchback as I rev the engine.
Even though the engineer in me is excited to see the progression of technology, I sometimes catch the automotive enthusiast voice in my head muttering about electrification being a bastardization of the automotive industry. However, the more I learn about EVs, the more I can’t deny that electrification of the automotive industry is a good thing.
If you are an Elon Musk groupie, a climate change warrior, or the owner of a large battery company, this news should excite you––but what’s in it for the rest of us? Although change is painful, electric vehicles are showing trends that are promising, not just for automakers but also for us, the drivers.
Notably, EVs are intended to have less of a negative environmental impact than gasoline or diesel cars, which is a plus because it will remove the guilt factor associated with driving your car to school or work every day.
Not to mention, electric vehicles are fun to drive. Due to the nature of electric motor-driven movement, the torque and acceleration of EVs leave traditional cars in the literal and figurative dust.
Furthermore, while current EV range is modest at best, in the near future ranges are expected to increase fivefold. Charging times will be cut to less than an hour, with shorter supercharging options to give your car a quick boost to get home. That means that soon, the inconvenience of having an empty tank (or battery) will be a thing of the past.
Most importantly, let’s talk about the money. While electric vehicles have lower maintenance costs than traditional cars, one of the biggest drawbacks to electric vehicles is their purchase cost.
As they stand today, EVs are more expensive to buy than the run-of-the-mill internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. However, this won’t be the case for long. In fact, a recent study notes that in parts of Europe, it is already cheaper to own and run an EV than an ICE vehicle. Likewise, Bloomberg recently estimated that in the United States, electric vehicles will be the cheaper option by 2025––just in time for today’s drivers to buy a new car.
All in all, as much as I have learned to love my gas-guzzling clunkers, I can’t complain if my next car is greener, faster, more convenient and cheaper than before. So even though our cars will soon be electric, that’s not such a bad thing after all.