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Electric Cars Will Soon Just Be: “Cars”

One CT writer’s thoughts as they travel the electrified world.

A lot of progress has been made in the electric vehicle space over the last 10 years. There were very few models of battery-electric cars to choose from in many places around the world 10 years ago. The charging networks were also not as widespread as they are now in a lot of places. Modern electric cars now have much more range and can also charge a whole lot faster than 10 years ago. The increased variety of all electric cars for people to choose from, a ramp-up in production from OEMs and subsequent retail price reductions, and/or the availability of more affordable models allowing more people to afford an electric car, the improved range as well as the much improved charging networks, have all contributed to increased sales of EVs over the last couple of years.

Record EV sales figures have been reported in quite a few of the major markets recently and the market share of electric vehicles in those markets is growing all the time. In Norway, July’s combined plug-in share of 83.0% comprised 70.7% battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), and 12.3% plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). In China, the electric car market had a 28% share of auto sales in June! Germany, Europe’s largest auto market, saw plug-in electric vehicles take a 25.5% share in July. Globally, June saw a new record for EV sales in a single month with BEVs taking a 12% share of the global market.

Things have been a bit slower in the US.  However, the US recently reached an important point in EV penetration. 5% of new car sales in the US are now powered only by electricity. According to Bloomberg, “Once 5% of new-car sales go fully electric, everything changes.” This was after Bloomberg’s analysis of the 19 countries that have made the EV pivot. Everything is about to change, and electric cars will soon be everywhere, such that we won’t even call them electric cars anymore — they will be so normal that they will just be called cars!

Despite the US appearing to be moving much slower than other markets, a lot has changed over the past 10 years. I remember the first time I visited the US in June 2013. I spent some time in Seattle and also in the Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland) in Washington State. During my stay, I didn’t see many electric cars. One had to really look for some. A few weeks ago, I got to spend some time in Washington DC, Manhattan, and New Jersey. The opposite side of the country, but still the progress is crystal clear. Electric cars everywhere! I didn’t even have to look for them. Everywhere I went, I would just randomly bump into electric cars. A lot of Teslas, I mean a lot of Teslas! They seemed to be like Toyota Corollas or Honda Civics, because they were everywhere. Model Ys, Model 3s, Model Xs, and Model Ss. I even saw quite a number of the new Tesla Model S Plaids. In Manhattan, I saw a number of Model 3s being used as part of the famous Yellow Cabs. I also saw a lot of Model Ys that are part of Revel’s fleet. Other EVs I noticed were quite a few Kia e-Niros, Ford Mustang Mach Es, and some VW ID.4s.

I haven’t been to Norway, but I am just imagining what it would be like to have a walkabout along the streets of the major cities in Norway. If electric cars appear to be “everywhere” in Manhattan, New Jersey, and DC, in a nation with lower penetration rates, then walking on the streets in Norway should be a beautiful thing. So much progress has been made over the last 10 years. The next 10 years will be a whole lot better. Electric cars could literally be everywhere, and they will just be called cars.

Images by Remeredzai

 
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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.

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