Electric cars are revving their engines

2015 is going to be a big year for electric vehicles (EVs). According to Forbes, “through November of [2014], 83,647 electric cars were sold in America. While this represents a 26% increase over the number sold during the same period in 2013, it is a small percentage of the total U.S. market.”

‘Tesla Toyko’. Image courtesy of Héctor García.

That’s true. The electric car market is small compared to the overall vehicle market. But then again, once upon a time, the number of Model T’s on the road was dwarfed by the number of horses. Things change, and the transition to greener cars is powering ahead.

Why go electric in the face of lower gas prices?

  • The reasons to buy electric (low or no emissions, low or no fossil fuels) are stronger than ever. As was widely reported, 2014 was the warmest year ever recorded, and putting more CO2 into the atmosphere is like adding fuel to a fire. According to Greenbiz.com, 16.5% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. come from cars and light trucks. So, a greener car is one of the more significant choices you can make to help solve the problem.
  • Car makers are addressing consumer stumbling blocks, including “range anxiety,” long battery re-charge times, and – in a case like the Tesla Model S –  the sticker shock of a $90,000 vehicle.
  • EV’s have the key features that attract all new car buyers, from built-in navigation and excellent connectivity to safety features like rear cameras and lane-departure warning systems.

The good news: 2015 will see more EV choices than ever

U.S. consumers have been getting used to electric cars and plug-in hybrids since the Toyota Prius arrived in 2001. Since then, models like the Nissan Leaf, the Chevy Volt and the “world-beating” Tesla Model S have offered more power and better features each year.

2016 Chevrolet Volt
2016 Chevrolet Volt at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Image courtesy of Automotive Rhythms.

This year, the most highly anticipated models, according to EVObsession, include:

  • Tesla Model X – After the Model S won an unprecedented Consumer Reports rating of 99 in 2013, all eyes have been watching for Tesla’s next move. This year the Model X is due, sporting falcon-wing doors and, sadly, a price similar to the Model S’s. Look for it in the second half of the year.
  • 2016 Chevy Volt – which was rolled out this past January with a sportier look and a longer battery range.
  • BMW 3 series plug-in – This model is just part of BMW’s plans to redesign all their vehicles as electrics. According to Car and Driver, BMW is settling on an electric-only range of about 22 miles per charge.
  • Toyota Prius HIP Hybrid – Consumer Reports says this model will be a “dramatic transformation” and that Toyota has been “secretive with details.” Supposedly, this Prius will average 55 mpg and that makes it “a car worth waiting for.”
  • Mercedes – The Mercedes C-class, E-class, and GLE-class will all be offered as plug-in hybrid models sometime this year. As usual, engineers are tight-lipped right now about the specifics.

Electric dreams come true

So if you love to drive, this year you’ll have more eco-friendly options to choose from than ever before.  Whether you want to go zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds (the Tesla) or drive the most gas-sipping version of a hybrid (the Prius HIP), the car of your dreams is here.

Buckle up out there.

Feature image courtesy of Windell Oskay

By Alison Lueders

Alison Lueders is the Founder and Principal of Great Green Content - a green business certified by both Green America and the Green Business Bureau. She offers copywriting and content marketing services to businesses that are “going green.” Convinced that business can play a powerful and positive role in building a greener, more sustainable economy, she launched Great Green Content in 2011.