When will the majority of vehicles be electric in the United States?

I’m pretty sure it’s unavoidable, much like the change between film and digital cameras.

As with digital cameras (with their extremely low cost per photo) Electric vehicles also have certain advantages over older technologies: they’re considerably less expensive to operate and (usually) do not need to stop to refill their tanks They do not (directly) emit any harmful emissions and require less maintenance. They’re also quieter and more smooth.

As with the older digital camera (with their expensive price resolution, low resolution and costly storage media) They also have some limitations: their coverage is restricted, they’re more expensive and take longer to be charged.

The issue of range is fixable even if it’s not resolved. The latest electric vehicles have a range that is comparable to gasoline-powered vehicles.

The main issue with cost is one of battery costs (a battery is still priced at thousands of times more than the power it holds in one charge) However, it will continue to fall. The other components of an electric vehicle will likely cost substantially lower than gasoline as technology improves.

The issue of charging speed is one that’s always an issue. The fastest commercially-available chargers put out around 250 kilowatts. The speed of a gas pump can put out 25 megawatts. However, if you leave road trips out of the equation home charging is an issue that is solved for all except the most demanding everyday tasks.

It’s possible that battery swaps are a possibility (I’m waiting for a new kind of air-breathing cells will be popular, and an item the size of the size of a luggage bag can power an vehicle for 1000 miles) However, the trend is not going in that direction.

I believe the most likely scenario is that either the range of normal driving will reach the point where all-day, continuous driving is feasible, or that people are accustomed to plugging in whenever they need to stop for bathroom breaks and meals.

The time frame for that is an even more difficult issue. It’s true that many people can meet 90 percent of their daily needs using an electric car today, and probably at a similar price to a mid-priced new vehicle. I believe that a large portion of multi-car families will transition to having a single electric vehicle in the coming months, however I don’t believe that the tipping point would be reached until at most one decade later.


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