Living with an EV

Living with an EV

Episode 3947 , Episode 3953
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Lots of people like the idea of having an electric vehicle as their daily driver --  at least in theory. Many still have qualms about range anxiety and how owning an EV will affect their daily routines. We’ve been talking to EV owners about these issues and have found plenty of compelling reasons to flip the EV switch!

When asked why they considered buying an electric vehicle, most EV owners point to the environmental benefits - that driving electric means emitting zero tailpipe emissions.

But once people dive into the EV lifestyle, they quickly point out other reasons for not missing their internal combustion cars.

RICHARD HARTNETT: The biggest benefit I think is the extremely low cost of ownership, and of course, the side benefit that it’s extremely healthy to the environment. Because it’s not a gasoline powered vehicle, it’s not spewing any carbon emissions out into the air, which is good for all of us.

JOYCE BREINER: Part of it was, reducing our emissions. We were on a track trying to reduce our household, our family emissions, and the other part was actually a little bit of a surprise, was they are so much fun.

ALEXANDER YANEY: So, what I love about this car, is the acceleration. Zero to sixty in 4.2 seconds, which is better than any car I’ve had…

We’ve got to give some credit to Tesla and their Ludicrous Mode for popularizing the notion that electric vehicles can be kick-ass performance cars, and other EV makers are following suit, but even the most basic EV can be fun to drive thanks to their electric motor’s instant-on torque curve.

Sergeant Richard Hartnett of the Hyattsville Maryland Police liked his own Chevy Bolt so much, he lobbied to drive one at work too.

RICHARD HARTNETT: One of the big advantages of the Bolt as a Police car, is that because there’s no transmission per se in an electric vehicle, when you step on the accelerator, the car just sorta takes right off..and that’s a little different than the gasoline-powered police cars, which have a little bit of sluggishness when they first take off. So, it’s very quick off the line, it’s had no problem keeping up with local chases, the few that we’ve had with it, and it’s very very quiet, so if i have to sorta sneak up on something that’s going on, the bad guys don’t know that I’m there.

Currently, plug-in vehicle sales in the U.S. account for a very small percentage of all vehicles sold, but we’re starting to see a new generation of drivers for whom nothing else will do!

I started driving on electric vehicles about 8 years ago. I took my driving test in a Nissan Leaf.

And don’t forget, EV’s are not limited to four wheelers..

VANESSA THOMAS: I rode motorcycles for a very long time, I grew up on motorcycles because my parents both ride. When I heard there was electric motorcycles out there, I was intrigued and wanted to find out more.. So I actually rode up to the closest place that had an electric motorcycle for sale, which was in New Jersey, which was a couple hundred miles from where I live, and rode one, and had a grin on my face from ear to ear all day long after that, and just knew i wanted one, so I’ve been riding electric ever since.

Of course, the other big benefit of electric vehicles is lower cost of ownership and maintenance.

VANESSA THOMAS: I really haven’t had much to fix on it so its been very low cost, very low maintenance.

JOYCE BREINER: In a nutshell, EVs are so much less expensive to own or operate.

It’s about 4 cents a mile to run an EV, and the maintenance is like non-existent you’re not worrying about going to, going to the shop for oil changes or anything like that. And they’ve pretty been maintenance free for us for the most part.

The number of publicly accessible charging stations reached about 26,000 in 2020, offering over 83,500 outlets.

But most owners we talked to say that bypassing the gas station and “fueling” at home is the greatest benefit of owning an EV. Plug in to a 110-volt outlet and virtually any electric vehicle can be fully charged overnight for a fraction of what a tank of gasoline or diesel would cost.

VANESSA THOMAS: It costs a little over a dollar to charge up from zero to  full, so I can get you know 150 miles on a dollar.

For those who’ve made the electric switch, it seems there’s no going back!

JOYCE BREINER: EVs are fun, fun, fun to drive, and they’re easy, they’re safe, too. And I wouldn’t really want to be in anything else.

EV Sales 4

EV Sales

Episode 4336
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

The headlines are everywhere: electric vehicle sales are down! Dealers are swamped with unsold EVs! Car companies are doubling down on internal-combustion engines! The EV era is over before it began! And so on…

You know, there’s a lot of misinformation swirling around these days about the state of the current EV market. So, what are the facts and where might EVs go from here?

We’re in the midst of the most revolutionary shake up of the automotive market since the car replaced the horse as our preferred form of personal transportation back in the early 1900s. Then, as now, drivers faced the same decision of choosing petrol or electric power for their cars, and carmakers offered both options.

EV Sales 1

As it turned out, the rapid expansion of our interstate road system outpaced the electrification of rural America, paving the way for petroleum to take the lead in widespread availability, and to largely squeeze electrics out of the car market. Fast forward a hundred years: America is now wired from coast to coast, and advances in battery technology have made it possible for electric vehicles to perform competitively with gas and diesel models.

But more importantly, environmental concerns have become an important factor in determining our fuel of choice, fostering the second coming of the electric vehicle.

Now EV sales, including both plug-in hybrids and pure battery electrics, are surging beyond the early adopter and novelty stage, rising 46.5% in 2022 and 53.8% in 2023, achieving a record 9% of the total car market last year. After such rapid growth, some moderation was expected, but are EV sales really falling as headlines proclaim?

The short answer is no. While growth has slowed, plug-in vehicles still grew 17% in the first quarter of 2024, increasing their market share further as overall car sales rose only 5%.

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JOHN O’DONNELL: “There’s a lot of articles and media suggesting that we’ve already reached a plateau for EV sales, and that’s false, that’s incorrect. The rate of adoption is slowing, but it’s still increasing nationwide. State by state, it varies.The coasts, east and west coasts, have the higher penetration. The center of the country is adopting at a more slow rate, but make no mistake, this is not going away simply because somebody wrote an article.”

Another trend we’ve noticed is that consumers’ preferred type of EV is shifting. For all of 2023, about 80% of EVs sold were pure battery electric. But plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid sales are growing, and currently make up a quarter of total EV sales.

When faced with the EV market’s three-headed conundrum: limited number of affordable battery electric choices, fear of range anxiety, and a public charging infrastructure that’s still a work in progress, many buyers see plug in hybrids as a safe near-term bridge to eventually going all-electric. And that shift is now forecast to widen for the foreseeable future, as manufacturers release more new PHEVs into the market.

EV Sales

JOHN O’DONNELL: “Consumer affordability is always on our minds, representing the people who sell the cars, but it’s also on the mind of the state, local and federal governments. They know that they need to help us balance the amount of technology, which costs money through research and development, and what the average consumer can afford.”

The good news for consumers is that EV prices are already coming down, and, with dozens of new electric vehicles of all types expected to enter the market over the next 18 months, there is little doubt that such increased competition will cause EV prices to moderate even further. Thus, most market experts are still conservatively predicting EVs to pass the 12% market share point for all of 2024, and 15%, or over 2 million new EVs on the road, in 2025.

Add to that continuing improvements in driving range and charging infrastructure, and the future of EVs in America is still quite bright. American consumers are smart enough to question the naysayers. They know that the time is finally right for the electric automobile to come into its own. It’s not only the best thing for the environment, it just makes good driving sense.