Longer ranges, more selection, lower prices, and of course more charging stations, in short, 2017 is primed to be the biggest year yet for electric vehicles.
While the year ended on slightly shaky-footing, due to the surprise of the election, things have settled and we have a fairly clear view of the year ahead and for EVs it sure to be a big one. Not only will we get our first real look at Tesla's massively hyped Model 3, but will also see a wide scale rollout of the Chevy Bolt. Two affordable, high-range electric vehicles for the masses, and that's just the beginning.
More EVs For More Drivers
We will certainly see more of the aforementioned Bolt and Model 3 this year, as Chevy as already started deliveries and collecting accolades for its new all-electric vehicle, raking in Motor Trends' Car of the Year and named as one of Car and Driver's 10Best for 2017.It looks to be shaping up for a great first year for the Bolt on the US market. Beyond Chevy, as we close out 2017 Tesla is slated to start the first deliveries of the nearly 400,000 Model 3 reservations it took in last April. Finally pitting two low-priced, high-range vehicles aginst each other in the market.
However, there is a lot more to be excited about for EV enthusiasts. The new EV market is only half the picture, right now the used market has begun to formulate and looks to be a great place to find killer deals on slightly older models. Current wholesale prices on 2013 Tesla Model S can go as low as $30K, while you and I might not be able to score wholesale prices (wholesalers typically reserve their cars for dealers only) we can most likely see some very eye-catching prices in the near future on almost all used EVs. If you were thinking "If the car is so great why did the original owner give it up?" you should know 92% of Tesla owners said they would buy again. So odds are good they sold their 2013 to upgrade to the 2016 model.
All this translates into a lot more EVs on the road in 2017 and thats a very good thing for the market.
China Dominate the EV Market (At Least in Total Sales)
As I've written before, China is poised to make some very big jumps in the EV market, and 2017 will cement their place as the world leader at least in sales. The Chinese Government has quite a few reasons to push the EV market but public safety is the big reason leading the way. With another Red Alert issued this past month effectively shutting down many cities in the Northeast of the country, China is rapidly ramping up zero emission vehicles and that means EVs.
In 2016 China Became the Largest EV Buyer in the World
China outsold both the US and Europe in 2016, 650,000 vs. 560,000 and 630,000 respectively, and will look to take that to new heights this year. With continued government incentives and an even stronger public opinion, EV sales may well hit 1M units by mid-year.
All's not lost in the US, while China boasts a strong manufacturing market the US has a large technological lead. With Tesla leading the charge, and a multitude of new startups entering the market the US EV market is no slouch. However, with so much money being funneled into the Chinese EV market it's only a matter of time before they take the lead there too, it just won't happen this year.
More Charging (In the Right Places)
It's no secret I've rallied aginst the build out of Level 2 public chargers on multiple occasions, but this year we will finally see charging stations built intelligently. Throughout 2016, many government agencies added grant proposals for EVSE installs (this isn't new) what's surprising is these proposals called for stations to be built in the right places (office parks, multi-family homes, airports, etc.) rather than building out a Level 2 network at shopping malls and grocery stores. With Level 2 charge times reaching 2-4 hours daily it really only makes sense to build these where cars are parked for significant times everyday ie. work and home.
Moreover, we should begin to see the fruits of Volkswagen's dieselgate settlement come in. While the EPA settlement is still in the air, the $800M settlement to invest in a large public charging network with CARB (California Air Resource Board) is full speed ahead. What this means, at least in California, is we will start to see real competitive market form much like when the first gas stations came to be. That means the main reason why people don't buy EVs (lack of charging stations) will finally be a thing of the past.
While some of these things are pure speculation on thing is for sure, 2017 is going to be a banner year for electric vehicles.