Consumer EV Adoption
The popularity of electric vehicles has increased significantly worldwide. Even with increasing annual production, supply does not meet demand – especially in North America. As of 2019, the United States had roughly 268 million cars on the road (second only to China). Converting the U.S. vehicle fleet to electric is no small task, but crucial if humanity is to curb C02 emissions and slow down global warming. A Consumer Reports survey by the Union of Concerned Scientists shows that within all income levels in the U.S., demand for small electric vehicles and trucks is high. Specifically, 63% of Americans are interested in electric vehicles and 31% are considering a purchase, including 31% of consumers earning less than $50,000 annually.
The path to full establishment of EVs in the American mainstream is clear. Consumers are placing their value on:
Another study calculated the necessary average price of a vehicle for mainstream adoption in American society – $36,000. This is roughly equal to current prices of the most in-demand models, including the Tesla Model 3 ($37,990), Chevy Volt ($32,496), and Nissan Leaf ($32,545). So, the price of electric vehicles already hits the sweet spot for demand.
Consumers expect an average range of 291mi/469km, until the next recharge. The above vehicles have an official range of 237mi/381km (Tesla Model 3), 259mi/417km (Chevy Volt) and 149mi/240km (Nissan Leaf). This makes EV range nearly in line with expectations. With the ever-increasing rate of battery efficiency, average EV range will cross this threshold in the very near future.
These two factors of price and range are closely linked, which is why the focus has been primarily on batteries to reduce costs while maintaining or improving range. The average price of batteries has dropped from $668/kWh in 2013, to $137/kWh in 2020, and is expected to continue falling. If range and price will no longer be hurdles to mass EV adoption, then what is the main challenge with firmly establishing electric vehicles in North America? Charging.