The growing concern about the environmental impact of transportation has many people searching for a sustainable solution that redefines transportation as a whole. Electric vehicles are the obvious step each person might take but they come with issues, too. There are several key factors to consider to help you confidently switch to an EV
The transportation sector alone accounted for over 31% of net U.S. emissions in 2021, representing a 10% increase from 2020 due to increased on-road travel after COVID restrictions were lifted. A clear indicator of this spike is the high demand for diesel, rising 9% from 2020 levels, and 0.4% above 2019. These demands increase emissions that strengthen the greenhouse effect, accelerating climate change.
Despite pressing environmental concerns, including the need to mine and recycling the element of EV batteries, the electric alternatives in transport have yet to see mass adoption. There are still diverse challenges stopping or slowing down the transition. However, as EV technology advances, many manufacturers are investing to build EVs that make way for a smooth transition.
Before You Make the Switch
Despite the apparent benefits of switching to an EV, you should first consider how much you will drive it as well as the proximity of available charging stations. Although many people may drive a few dozen miles a day, others might use an EV for more than just a local commute car. If you’re in the latter category, consider the following.
Despite the variety of models available from industry giants such as Tesla and Ford, some people are hesitant to switch to EVs due to a limited driving range. They fear running out of battery power before making it to their destination or the nearest charging station.
There are models now that deliver a longer driving range – some as far as 520 miles, such as the Lucid Air Dream Edition, or 405 miles for the Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD. Battery capacity has increased over the years to compete with gas-powered cars. Although at the moment EVs are best suited for local travel, EV technology continues to advance to provide a longer driving range.
Let’s assume that you have a BMW i3 with a 120-mile range (one of the lowest on the market these days). Most Americans (more than 71%) had a commute of fewer than 50 miles in 2021. And considering the 7.7-kilowatt charge acceptance rate of BMW, an average BMW i3 owner would need less than four hours to recharge an empty i3. Even if you don’t have an EV charger at home to charge your car, you can still make it to work if you live fewer than 50 miles away from work. Having an EV charger at your workplace would cover all commutes without having a charging station at home.
According to a recent study, about 40% of consumers report cost as one of the main reasons not to buy an EV. However, industry giants such as Tesla, Toyota, and BMW are investing billions in EV technology and batteries to bring out new models this year. These ambitions go as far as releasing economical compact EVs for as little as $25,000, which can help make the transition to EVs more appealing to consumers.
The Charging Landscape
Despite the slow growth of the EV market, the charging infrastructure is not keeping pace, which is discouraging consumers from making the switch to EVs.
One of the biggest obstacles is the lack of charging stations, causing EV owners to form lines with long waiting hours to charge their vehicles. With as few as 113,600 charging stations around the country, installing more power stations and charging outlets is critical to increasing EV sales.
There’s a greater influx of capital to invest in charging station infrastructures to address these concerns. Industry giants such as Tesla are building over 4,500 charging sites across the US. They also offer wall connectors that users can install in their homes for both indoor and outdoor use. The best part is that Tesla started making the Supercharger network available to non-Tesla EVs earlier this year (2022) in an effort to increase EV adoption.
In today’s fast-paced environment, EVs also need to keep up with drivers’ lifestyles. This can mean that charging times for vehicles need to be minimized considerably. We need more charging stations for public use around the country, and these stations must facilitate the charging process. Easy access to EV charging will allow EV owners to plan their day accordingly to optimize their time and continue using their EVs.
The Rise of Electric Mobility
The EV industry has attracted more than $400 billion in investments, helping companies develop technologies that will ease the transition to electric transportation. These innovations will reduce EV costs, making them a viable alternative to owning a gas-powered car. Such innovations will also help align climate, energy, and transport policies to noticeably reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A clear example of this ambition is Biden’s administration aiming for a 50% EV for 2030, attracting greater investments and building momentum to help this sector rise further.
Solving these issues will facilitate the rise of electric mobility, allowing consumers to reduce their transportation’s environmental impact. It’s important that businesses consider the consumer’s lifestyle — or help them rethink their lifestyle by offering convenience and comfort as a step toward EV-only transportation.
About the Author
Director of business development at Cyber Switching, Nick Zamanov is an EV researcher, futurist, engineer, entrepreneur, and father to a 1-year-old baby girl. Prior to Cyber Switching, Nick founded two successful e-commerce startups. He is enthusiastic about the sustainable world and the EV industry.