Driving green
Are we ready for electric vehicles?

Move over internal combustion engines, the future now belongs to the electric car. Electric vehicles, once lauded simply as green alternatives, are fast becoming mainstream today, and are threatening the very existence of the traditional automobile industry. These eco-friendly machines are literally painting the town green - by pushing the everyday gas guzzlers and polluters off the streets, one car at a time.

Americans are no strangers to electric vehicles, with homegrown Tesla leading the electric revolution globally. Already, there are over a million electric vehicles driving on American roads, and over a dozen fully electric models on sale in the country. Driven by mounting environmental and economic concerns, more and more Americans today are taking the green leap. That explains the nearly 81% jump in the annual electric vehicle sales in 2018. Still, there is a huge percentage of people that have yet to make the switch. So, what are the factors that are gearing them towards EV’s, and which are the ones keeping them away? Piplsay (powered by Market Cube) finds out*.

It’s the powerful combination of zero-emission and smart technology that makes electric vehicles a hit among the masses. Still, there are those who refuse to be swayed by the green debate. While electric vehicles themselves are non-polluting, the same can’t always be said about their manufacturing and usage. This is because most of the world’s electricity used in the mining, production, and charging of lithium-ion batteries comes from fossil fuels, a major source of CO2 emissions. Still, a lot of countries and manufacturers are working towards using only renewable energy sources. Tesla, for example, uses solar power at its Gigafactory while most European countries rely on hydropower for electricity.

Lack of infrastructure seems to be a major reason why people are shying away from EV’s. With most US cities having less public charging per capita, this certainly seems like a challenge. But state governments, as well as private players, are increasingly stepping up and making huge investments in building public charging networks and increasing access to existing resources. High battery costs and range anxiety are also two big concerns. While electric vehicles are definitely more expensive than the traditional gasoline vehicles, the high upfront cost likely gets offset by cheaper fuel and lower maintenance costs, in the long run. Additionally, technologies are significantly improving the driving range and are making batteries cheaper, lighter, and quick to charge.

Challenges notwithstanding, subsidized charging and lower registration charges are likely to play an important role in promoting electric vehicles, according to 68% of Piplsay respondents. A number of countries and states are already offering generous tax breaks and incentives to EV buyers. While the US offers tax credits to subsidize the upfront cost, countries like Norway and Sweden dole out additional perks like free or subsidized parking, toll and charging to make EV’s attractive.

With approximately 5.3 million passenger cars sold in 2018, the scope and potential for electric cars in the US is simply huge. All that’s needed is for us to take a step in the right direction.

*Based on 19,500 online responses

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