Electric vehicles have consistently grown in popularity over the years since Tesla released the Model S. While many have stated a desire to own an EV at some point, the actual number on the road has remained low compared to the overall car market. However low the numbers have been in the past, it's beginning to look more and more likely that EVs are going to make a big jump in numbers this year.
Used EV Market Finally Matures
Its no secret that both Chevy and Tesla have drawn a line in the sand on low-priced, high-range EVs. What is surprising is how this will affect the used car market. Up until recently EVs have been merely hobbyist vehicles and as such finding a decent used EV in the open market was akin to spotting a unicorn, it just never happened. This year is much different because we will finally have a mature used EV market.
Look no further than Tesla's own website. Buried on the site is the pre-owned section where bargain hunters can pick up a used Model S as low as $40K. Considering brand new these vehicles retail between $70K-100K+ getting one for roughly half that is quite the deal. Furthermore with Tesla's ability to provide over-the-air updates (hardware permitting) used vehicles can obtain autopilot features (late September/early October 2014 Models and after), making some used models a seriously great deal. The even better news for Tesla fans, these prices are only going to fall further as new models roll off the Gigafactory line.
If the high-end market is a little out of your price range, you shouldn't fret as Tesla wasn't the only one making EVs this whole time. On the wholesale market you can even find a few decent EVs priced as low as $4K (No Joke). These low-end vehicles won't dazzle like a Tesla and don't have anywhere near the range (60-120 miles), but they do make great daily commuter vehicles. Taking into account most Americas daily driving averages around 40 miles roundtrip and you realize just about everyone could find room for one of these in their garage.
As with the gasoline auto market, in order to have a robust used market the new cars need to be equally great and this year we are going to see two amazing EVs.
Finally An EV For The Masses
Remember all the hype around the Model 3 back in April? Well, the first of the nearly 400,000 reservations are set to be delivered by year's end. Not to mention Chevy is already shipping the award-winning all-electric Bolt. If things continue down this path 2017 will certainly mark the true beginning of an EV in every garage.
Speaking of the Bolt, it isn't just collecting things like Green Car of the Year (even though it took that home too), its also pulled in Motor Trends Car of the Year and was named one of Car and Driver's 10Best for 2017. Meaning not only is this car incredibly green, its also incredibly impressive. Scanning through news articles its hard to find one negative thing said. In short, the auto critics love this car and its a good bet you will too.
The best news here isn't that an EV is being lauded with such high praise, its the fact that its finally not a Tesla. Don't get me wrong I'm a huge fan, but one thing is certain, competition is great for everyone involved. Tesla needed another player in the game who could actually keep up and now it finally has the race it always wanted.
With all these EVs suddenly appearing a big problem is looming.
Charging needs a Jolt
I couldn't say all this without bringing up the obvious. Two things hold EVs back more than anything else, lack of education and lack of charging stations.
One of the biggest complaints about EVs is the lack of a public charging network. In simple terms EVs already outnumber public charging stations 15-to-1 and that number will only continue to grow. It might not seem like it but this isn't a problem, level 2 (240V) charging stations can be easily installed in your home garage and with technologies like EverCharge's SmartPower multi-tenant facilities like offices, apartments, condos, and hotels can install with ease too. Why is this important? Well because having an in-home charging stations is by far the best way to own an EV. Instead of trying to consistently find a station and then wait for charging to complete, you just go home, park, and plug-in.
Two things hold EVs back more than anything else, lack of education and lack of charging stations.
However, if you're still not convinced and feel a public network is essential, you're in luck because a big one is about to be coming your way. Lost in all the hubbub of dieselgate and its settlement was the deal that CARB and the EPA struck with Volkswagen. In addition to compensating car buyers, VW will invest $2B in the buildout of a national charging network ($800M going to California) and work is slated to begin soon as once the deal is finalized VW has to spend $500M on charging station within the first 6 months, meaning odds are good you'll see a lot of these first stations coming online by years end.
The hurdles have been removed, the market is ready and now we will see just how big the EV market can grow.