The Inevitable Electric Vehicle Revolution

The resistance to or hesitation in believing that the EV revolution would happen has been brewing for over twenty years. But now, this movement is becoming a reality.

The electric vehicle revolution is happening, sales and consumer adoption are growing, and charging stations are beginning to appear in more places. Suppliers are developing innovative pieces of the puzzle, but there seems to be an emerging industry without a solid overall policy and plan.

With this EV growth and transition, some are cheering; others are kicking and screaming. As gasoline prices reach all-time highs, the EV Revolution stirs strong emotions—positive, negative, political, right, and left. The various stakeholders are many, including the fossil fuel industry, politicians, automakers, utilities, and customers alike.

We are seeing big players like Cadillac, GM, VW, and Ford double down with luxury EVs, SUVs, and Trucks. We anticipate that 50% of new car sales will be electric by 2030. There are also boutique manufacturers striving to develop niche designer EVs, while others are looking to cut costs to the bare minimum to establish a basic EV for the more frugal market.

While EVs are fun to drive, have impressive acceleration, and feel more exciting to drive than traditional ICE cars, it is easy to say it is a fad. The EV is more like an IoT or Smart Device that can detect and prevent accidents. Tesla, for example, has cameras on at all angles and can warn a driver of dangerous situations (and record them for future proof of conditions/violation).

It isn’t difficult to rationalize the value proposition of an EV vs. an Internal Combustion System (ICE) vehicle. Rather than looking at the sales price, consider the overall pros and cons of each type of transportation:

EV                                                      ICE

Tire Rotation / Cabin Filter                    Gas / Oil changes / Tire rotation

Wiper blades / fluid                              Fluids/Cabin Filter/Wiper blades/ fluid

Brakes                                                 Muffler/Emissions Tests/Transmission/Belts  Brakes

 

In Missouri, for example, the charge for an EV is 1/3 the cost of a traditional gasoline fill-up for the same range. No mess, no fumes, no smell. Better for the environment. For a 200-mile charge to an EV, a Missouri driver can expect to pay approximately $7 (at home) vs. $50 for the same range for gasoline at the pump. Consider all the other moving parts and possible repairs over the car’s life. Consider those costs in your monthly payment.

Of course, the nay-sayers will contend, well, what if the battery dies? Yes, there are refurbished options that won’t break the bank. What if it catches on fire? In comparison to ICE vehicles, the statistics are negligible. Longer battery life (with proper care) can give EVs 200 – 300K miles, just like ICE vehicles. Fire? Statistically, there are far more car fires from ICE vehicles than the few EV fires. There are various scenarios and situations, but this argument is not sound.

In 2021, nearly 10% of global car sales were electric, four times that of 2019. The total number of electric cars on the world’s roads is now reaching ~16.5M. Sales continue to rise, and Q1 of 2022 showed 2 million sales, a dramatic increase from the prior year.

From the outside, it may look like all is well in hand. But this is a stretch. With the increasing tensions about climate change, the Ukraine war, gasoline prices jumping dramatically, Covid, and the ongoing political policy tensions, the right and left hand do not want to work together collaboratively.

Political gridlock in Washington is keeping federal policies to further EV adoption from being enacted. Several stakeholders (especially petroleum/fossil fuel entities) have a considerable stake in delaying the EV revolution.

But the believers continue to drive forward through various obstacles, developing the infrastructure standards and taking some interesting turns. Entrepreneurial “value add” EV charging suppliers have added concepts to help accelerate charging stations to support the influx of the next generations of EVs. A few are Marketing kiosks at grocery store chargers showing deals of the day or pay-for-play ads. Others incorporate solar and battery to the systems, which decrease the cost of installation and operations (therefore, like the marketing kiosks, add value).

While Steven Covey’s concept, “start with the end in mind.”

was not possible during the uncertain transition to EVs,

various coalitions are making up for the lost time.

Most typical EV owner charges at home, where rates are less expensive than Public chargers. There are also incentives (in some states that give off-peak pricing that is even more appealing to charge at night and off-peak hours.

One of the challenges is that there are three (three plus) types of chargers. Level-1 (110 home charging) is ideal for early EV models. Level-2 is a 220 version that will speed the charge at home or work for early and most all models. Level-3 Fast Charging (like the Tesla fast chargers or Electrify America) is a wild card. Finally, Level 3 DC-Fast Charging is the fastest on the market. ~20 minutes for a 250-mile charge. Consider lunch? Grocery stop?

For long-range trips, the development of a solid infrastructure is critical. While the cars (and their batteries dictate the speed of charge), the number of vehicles on a series of chargers bound to the grid will determine the charge rate. Remember dial-up internet? For those who do, we remember that the internet was slow as molasses during peak times (like 5:00 – 10:00 PM). The same concept applies. The more people on a charging station, the slower the energy download (unless renewable or battery back-up is included).

One group, The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MoDNR),has administered Volkswagen (VW) settlement funds, setting aside 15% of the total amount provided for installing EV charging stations in key locations so that long trips will no longer bring on the “range anxiety” that many uncertain EV purchasers would fear.

Applicable Core Value(s):

  • Ensure reliable and resilient energy infrastructure and supplies.
  • Enhance Missouri’s competitive position in business retention, expansion, and attraction through affordable rates and renewable energy options.
  • Develop diverse in-state energy resources.
  • Create opportunities for energy-related technological innovation and workforce development.
  • Ensure affordability and equity in access to energy resources, services, and programs.
  • Promote the efficient and environmentally sound use of energy.

Another, Drive Electric USA, associated with the Department of Energy (DOE),was created to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. They are fully developing state-based “Drive Electric” programs that will engage individuals, utilities, legislators, dealerships, and others toward removing adoption barriers and accelerating plug-in electric vehicle use.

This approach includes seven tiers of activity:

  • Statewide Branded EV Programs
  • Develop Consumer Education & Local Chapter Development
  • Utility and Regulator Engagement
  • EV Charging Infrastructure Planning
  • Education of State and Local Government Officials measures issues for public charging
  • Dealer Engagement &Development of Preferred Dealer Programs
  • Fleet Engagement & EV Adoption

In closing, I would encourage consumers to consider the best lifestyle options. As an EV Ambassador, I encourage you not to believe the misinformation about electric vehicles readily. The ride is like no other, the benefits to the climate and our collective air quality are tremendous, and if you look at the overall costs (apples to apples), you might find an EV is a viable choice.