As National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) takes place this week, more good news is occurring on the EV front with declining battery costs, growing consumer acceptance, more new models, and government support consistently boosting sales.
DENC’s model leverages public-private partnerships that best utilize limited resources to drive widespread EV deployment and help to reduce oil dependence.
Coinciding with NDEW, Securing America’s Future Energy’s Electrification Coalition is releasing a case study with the best practice recommendations developed through the Drive Electric Northern Colorado (DENC) initiative—a first-of-its-kind EV accelerator community. This fully integrated model leverages public-private partnerships that best utilize limited resources to drive widespread EV deployment and help to reduce oil dependence. With sales as high as 2-3 times the national average, DENC brought together local businesses, a key finding from the case study was the importance of leveraging the entire EV ecosystem by engaging all stakeholders from the beginning and combining their efforts with a supportive public policy framework to achieve a strong consumer response.
DENC’s work has overlapped with a period of sustained growth in the U.S. EV market, which is poised to see another record year in 2017.
Sales increased in August by more than 10 percent annually to 16,503 units. As of now, there have been 677,000 EVs sold since the beginning of 2011.
The U.S. EV market is continuing to grow at a healthy pace, poised to see another record year in 2017. Sales increased in August by more than 10 percent annually to 16,503 units. As of now, there have been 677,000 EVs sold since the beginning of 2011, thanks in part to automakers regularly rolling out new models. There are now 37 commercially-available advanced fuel vehicle (AFV) models in the U.S. market, including 23 plug-in electric hybrids (PHEVs), 13 EVs, and one fuel cell vehicle, giving consumers a variety of affordable options.
The Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius have been the leaders in the PHEV category, while among all-electric vehicles, the Chevy Bolt enjoyed a strong August as the hatchback is now commercially available throughout the U.S. The Kia Soul and Ford Focus have also experienced strong sales numbers as of late. In Frankfurt on Monday, Volkswagen’s CEO said that by 2030 his company will bring to market electric versions of all 300 of its models. Meanwhile, last week, Nissan rolled out its 2018 Leaf, with the retail price of $30,000 and an improved range of 150 miles.
There will be plenty of buzz surrounding the new Leaf this week as Nissan, the automotive sponsor of NDEW, is planning a number of events around it in different cities. The Leaf, though, will be one of many highlights at NDEW. In the number of cities hosting events, EV drivers, automakers, city officials, and potential consumers plan to raise awareness of increased electrification of the vehicle fleet by showcasing new models, accommodating test drives, announcing government initiatives, recognizing leaders in the EV space, and rolling out new charging infrastructure. There will be events in more than 260 cities, compared to less than 30 at the first NDEW in 2011, further reflecting the growing acceptance of EVs.
This year’s event, organized by Plug In America, the Electric Auto Association, and the Sierra Club, is happening in the midst of global transportation revolution. Self-driving cars are seen as an impetus toward increasing electrification, more governments are aiming to move away from conventional vehicles in the next couple of decades, EV sales are seeing enormous growth globally, and forecasters are positive on their long-term outlook.
The latest big news comes from China, which is the largest car market in the world and has seen the largest growth in oil demand in the past decade and a half. Chinese officials say that they are working on a timetable to end sales of fossil-fuel-based vehicles. China’s ambitions are occurring on the heels of others, such as Norway, France, India, and the U.K., stating their long-term plans to go all electric.
While the headlines from China are, at first glance, positive for the developments of EVs and reducing dependence on oil, it is too soon to say how realistic its goals are and how quickly they will shake up the global oil market.
While the headlines from China are, at first glance, positive for the developments of EVs and reducing dependence on oil, it is too soon to say how realistic its goals are and how quickly they will shake up the global oil market. Details have yet to emerge on the target date and how the government will implement such a strategy. Furthermore, a system mandated by the government to move away from oil is not the most durable approach to support the penetration of alternative fuel vehicles, given that there will likely be unintended consequences for consumers, automakers, and the environment (China is heavily skewed toward using coal-fired generation).
Nevertheless, it’s clear that there’s strong momentum behind EVs—in the U.S. and globally. And it will continue for the foreseeable future. Governments should take a common-sense approach to ensure that the technology is implemented in a way that builds a sustainable market that will maximize the long-term benefits.