Electrify America Explores How Automakers Are Trying To Take EVs Mainstream

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Volkswagen reached a $14.7 billion settlement in 2016 to resolve the claims arising from its diesel emissions cheating scandal, also known as Dieselgate. The agreement included federal penalties and consumer compensation, and compelled Volkswagen to invest billions in promoting and advancing green transportation technology. The most well-known part of the settlement for EV drivers was the formation of Electrify America, which is largely known for its charging network.

But, one lesser known facet of the settlement is that Electrify America must not only provide a charging network, but also take action to promote EV adoption in the United States. And, they’re still doing it today.

Despite the fact that electric vehicle sales more than doubled since only 2021, common misconceptions of these vehicles still remain. Many consumers, for example, incorrectly assume EVs are only available in a small size or cannot meet their lifestyle needs. However, with more and more options being made available every year, this dynamic is rapidly changing as the EV market continues to evolve.

These misconceptions are exactly what Electrify America is charged with combating, and they did this with a recent commercial in which they partnered with experts from other automakers to get the point across.

Manufacturers like Hyundai and BMW are also helping to combat common misunderstandings about EVs, by providing increased exposure and product improvements that make them available in almost every segment of the market. In the new video/commercial from Electrify America, Yuval Steinman (director of eco compliance & research at Hyundai) and Christian Voigt (e-mobility strategy manager at BMW North America) highlight the efforts being taken to make EVs more mainstream.

In the video, the auto executives tell viewers a bit about how their companies are bringing EVs into the mainstream and conquering the common misconceptions surrounding charging, the usefulness of EVs, and other things.

In order to further encourage EV adoption, BMW’s Voigt highlighted the cost savings of electric power compared to traditional fuel, which is currently a little less for similar vehicles. Yuval Steinman (Hyundai) also emphasized the need for increased range confidence, so that drivers can rely on EVs getting them to where they want without long charging stops.

While anti-EV weirdos and bots on social media will probably long spout lies about having to wait 24 hours to charge an EV on roadtrips, the truth is getting out there, and in driver’s hands. So, the tide is turning.

Robert Barrosa, Vice President of Technology at Electrify America, asked Hyundai’s Steinman and BMW’s Voigt how car manufacturers are driving awareness both to consumers and dealerships about EVs. They highlighted that there is much more being done than drivers may expect in order to promote the use of electric vehicles.

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BMW is aiming to create attractive EV offerings across major vehicle segments in order to further promote electric vehicles. The company also encourages dealers to experience and drive their EVs, so they can have a firsthand understanding of the technology and effectively convey it to potential customers.

Hyundai is focused on creating an ideal EV product that can accommodate both people and cargo, offer 300+ miles of range and take advantage of DC fast-charging networks like Electrify America. Additionally, the company is collaborating with dealers to ensure they are properly trained in EV service and maintenance tools, as well as capabilities such as range and charging so that they can pass this knowledge onto prospective buyers.

“Once people make the switch, they’re locked in for good,” said Steinman.

Steinman is optimistic that, as charging networks expand and people become more confident in the infrastructure, conversations surrounding EV charging won’t even be a factor when selecting an EV. Instead, consumers will simply focus on which product best meets their needs, knowing they will have access to reliable charging no matter where they travel.

“Range anxiety becomes range confidence,” said Voigt.

This video is only the latest in a series of videos about charging EVs in the United States. In one of the other videos, they explain to the public what goes into planning and building an EV charging station:

They explain that they must first figure out where to put the charging station, and they try to rely on data to make those decisions to make sure they’re useful to EV drivers. The next step is to get a permit (a process that seems to be a lot longer than the half-sentence they dedicate to it in this video), and get to the construction phase.

The charging equipment itself comes from a factory (several different factories) and gets shipped to the location for installation. They (perhaps very idealistically) explain that they offer maximum compatibility with all EVs, and also offer a seamless experience.

In another video, they explain that their company is about more than just offering charging sessions:

They start by explaining (without mentioning Dieselgate, of course) what I explained at the beginning of this article. The point of Electrify America is to push EV adoption, and the main barrier that existed (and continues to exist in many areas) is the lack of charging stations to make EVs as useful as gas-powered vehicles. But, the company is supposed to do a lot more than just that to achieve the overall goal of accelerating EV adoption.

When people stayed home during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we got to see a bit of what it would look like if there weren’t vehicle emissions dirtying up the air. In other words, it gave us a peek at what it might look like to transition to electric vehicles and power them with clean electricity. So, it’s something the public knows about now and can actually visualize.

In the rest of the video, they explain the specifics of how they work to advance EV ownership, but I’ll go ahead and let you watch it for yourself above.

One key thing that matters about all this is that Electrify America is actually putting in effort to achieve its mission. They might not do the best or be perfect at everything they do, but if they were really only doing it begrudgingly, they’d be doing this in a much more half-assed fashion. I really don’t think that’s the case.

Featured image provided by Electrify America.

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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1948 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba