Why don’t more people drive electric vehicles? They are more expensive to buy than internal combustion engine models, there are only a very few models available, and electric charging stations are few and far between. But that is now.
We are at a tipping point where all of this is poised for change.
A report by BloombergNEF forecasts 2027 as the year that electric vehicles will be less expensive to manufacture than their gas equivalents. Falling battery prices are a large part of this, as batteries are between one quarter and two-fifths of the price of an EV. An older report by investment bank UBS suggests that the date for price parity could be as close as 2024.
The infrastructure investment plan proposed by the Biden-Harris administration has a goal of removing gas-powered vehicles from the roads by 2035. His proposed investment in charging stations, which will allow EV’s to travel farther from home, can help make this feasible. The $174 billion investment in the electric vehicle market includes building out a network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030, making the federal vehicle fleet entirely electric, and providing rebates to consumers who purchase American-made EVs.
In addition, there will be new emissions standards for vehicles coming out in July. The new EPA administrator, Michael Regan, didn’t rule out limits that could force a phase-out of internal combustion engine vehicles. The projection of 60 – 70 mpg would be an impossible goal for gas-powered vehicles that struggle to get more than 40 mpg. Hybrids do better but struggle to hit 60 mpg.
Some countries have set deadlines for ending sales of gas-powered vehicles, as have some states in the United States. With the writing on the wall, car manufacturers have been stepping up, with many companies pledging to go fully electric or to provide popular models as electric vehicles.
The last piece of the puzzle is jobs and the transition from combustion engine vehicles to EVs. According to a report by Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), if we can create the manufacturing infrastructure to support EVs here in the United States instead of outsourcing, more than 640,000 jobs will be created. Although there are fewer parts in an EV than in a traditional vehicle, it will take roughly the same number of labor hours to assemble the EV. There will be shifts in the types of jobs, which may require retraining, but we can and should make sure those jobs stay here.