Odds are you’ve heard about electric vehicles (EVs), if for no other reason than Elon Musk and Tesla constantly appearing in the news (when he’s not launching his car to Mars, he’s inventing submarines to save children from underwater caves — the man is a legend). The fact of the matter is, with or without Tesla, EVs are positioned to be the largest advancement in transportation since the invention of the internal combustion engine (ICE).
It doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to see that relying on fossil fuels is not sustainable in the long term. Gasoline is a non-renewable pollutant that is costly (and dangerous) to extract. Remember the BP oil spill or the Exxon Valdez? Those kinds of disasters don’t occur when all you’re farming is wind or sunlight.
And since true EVs run entirely on the energy stored in their battery — energy that could easily be generated by renewable sources — this type of car is the natural next step in the transition to zero-emission, 100% green transportation.
Here are the top five things you need to know about EVs.
1) EVs think differently about refueling
Right now you probably get gas about once every two weeks. You wait until your car is just about empty, you pull into the gas station, and pay about $50 to fill up.
With an EV, however, you’ll likely be charging up every day. And, yes, at first blush that may sound like an inconvenience, until you remember that you’ll be able to charge up whenever you park your car — be it at work, while you’re shopping, or at home.
And you won’t be charging your car because its nearly on ‘empty.’ Instead, you charge it because you can, just like plugging your phone in when you get to work, even though it’s still at 65%.
It’s a shift in the way you’ll think about refueling, but one that will end up saving you time and money in the long run. Oh, did I forget to mention that the average EV charges up at an equivalent rate of ~$1.00 a gallon? Yeah, there’s that too.
2) EVs are on the move — but the U.S. is still behind
With over 3.2 million EVs on the road worldwide, according to the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), the EV market has been growing exponentially year-over-year. The lion’s share of EVs are on the road in China (1.2M), followed by the U.S. (750K), and Japan (201K).
And it’s not just about the number of cars on the road. Certain developed countries, like Sweden and The Netherlands, are seeing EVs sell at a rate of one in every 10 cars or higher — Norway is more than one in three.
That’s why, even though the U.S. has the second-highest number of EVs on the road of any country, percentage-wise it’s still far from the most developed. For instance, in 2017, 39% of Norway’s automotive sales were EV. In the U.S., on the other hand, EV sales are still less than 1%.
And it’s not just about the percentage of cars sold — it’s also about where. Over half of U.S. states sold fewer than 1,000 EVs this past year. To put that into perspective, California sold 94,873 EVs — the rest of America combined sold 93,113. That’s over half our market in just one state. So while it may appear that America is one of the leaders in EV adoption, it’s really just 49 states riding California’s coattails.
3) EVs are hitting the tipping point
With most new technology, there is a sort of bell curve in terms of adoption. Those at the very beginning (the “early adopters”) are willing to put up with more inconveniences and spend a little more money just to say they were there since the beginning — like the guy who bought a five-gig iPod for $400 back in 2001.
But as later generations of the product are released, the price goes down and reliability goes up. That’s where we are in the EV market today. Five years ago, battery range on an EV was around 80 miles and public charging stations were few and far between. But today, most EVs have a range of over 200 miles, and in most parts of the country, EV charging can be found fairly easily — or installed right in your garage.
As a result, more and more drivers are seeing EVs not as a change they’ll make in the face of convenience, but because of convenience. You save up to 75% on fueling costs, can fuel up right at home while you sleep, and promote a cleaner environment.
Oh, and because the engine is comprised of a big battery and not a series of controlled explosions, maintenance costs tend to go down as well. Wins all around.
4) Installing EV charging stations can be a new revenue stream
A lot of businesses are installing charging stations at their location, and they’re not just doing it out of the goodness of their heart. Having charging stations not only encourages a whole new demographic to stop by and do business with you (a demographic that also tends to be younger and higher earning), but it can also present a fairly lucrative direct revenue stream as well.
For example, if you had a string of EVBox BusinessLine stations in your parking lot, you could set the charging rates yourself and collect a few dollars every time someone pulls in to charge. And while that may not be enough to pay for that new entertainment system right now, in the coming years when more EVs hit the road, you could be racking up cash around the clock on every parking spot you’ve got charging stations.
What’s more, depending on where you live, right now there are rebates that could get you those charging stations for free (looking at you, California).
5) This is just the beginning of the rEVolution
With many countries vowing to end the sale of gas cars by 2040 or sooner (France, China, Norway, India, Scotland, and Germany, to name a few), it’s clear that this transition is happening, but in terms of applications, we’ve only just scratched the surface. What could the future hold? Imagine a world where everyone is transported in smart batteries on wheels.
Where cars have a range of over 1,000 miles and act secondarily as storage units, hanging on to surplus energy generated from the solar panels on your roof or the wind turbines on your porch — energy you can sell back to the utility for a tidy sum.
Imagine a world where the idea of automotive ownership is a thing of the past, and instead we rely on ridesharing in autonomous vehicles, simply calling a car whenever we need. Cars that set out on their own, communicate with other cars on the road, and together create roadways free of the congestion caused by human error.
Right now, we can only speculate. But the sooner we embrace the transition to electric vehicles, the sooner we can see where this road will take us.
Want to help out? Visit EVBox.com to see how you can help kickstart the EV revolution.