The electric vehicle is with us, and every month we are seeing more of them around us on our roads. But the road to travel will be a long one before they dominate the market. The long-range trend seems unmistakable, however: a new study just published by AAA reveals that one out of five Americans wants their next vehicle to be electric.
We can extrapolate these numbers to see how they reflect the Canadian reality. In Quebec, the proportion is likely higher than 20%, as green cars are more firmly implanted here. The same applies, albeit to a lesser degree, in Ontario and British Columbia, the two other provinces that offers incentives to electric-vehicle buyers.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the AAA study, however, is the change over time in people’s opinions that it demonstrates. In just one year, the percentage of people affirming they want to buy an electric car next time around jumped from 15 to 20%.
The obvious caveat here is, of course, as to do with the gulf that often exists between words and deeds.
Still, the survey’s respondents provided some interesting and certainly relevant reasons to explain their wish to go electric. Many claimed to be increasingly concerned with the question of the environment; they also noted that electric vehicles now offer longer ranges. And fewer than ever used the argument that the scarcity of charging stations or the fear of running out of juice make electric cars a bad choice. What’s more, an increasing number of people understand that, over the long haul, the cost of ownership of an electric vehicle is significantly less than vehicles with solely combustion-engine powertrains.
The AAA study also reveals two major areas of concern that stand out: the first regards infrastructure, or the lack of it, and the second has to do with charging time. Both are major issues as regards the long-term growth of electrically powered vehicles. In terms of the latter, it should be mentioned that the technologies for solid-state batteries could by themselves solve the problem. Toyota, for one, has been working with Japanese authorities on bringing these technologies to fruition. Once that happens, charging times will melt like snow under the hot sun, and people will be able to fill up their battery as quickly as they currently fill up their gas tanks.
With products that are continually offering longer range, and hopefully will soon make charging times a non-factor, it’s clear why electric cars are looking increasingly attractive to more consumers.
Perhaps the day when they take over a lion’s share of the market is not so far off after all.