The Road to Electric Cars

Experts lay out what has to happen for EVs to become as ubiquitous as conventional vehicles.

July 19, 2019

NEW YORK—Electric cars are hot right now, with major auto manufacturers unveiling new models that garner lots of positive press coverage. But what will happen when electric vehicles are no longer the new kid on the block?

Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysts forecasted that in two decades, more than half of new car sales will be electric, CNN reports. “We see a real possibility that global sales of conventional passenger cars have already passed their peak,” said Colin McKerracher, head of advanced transport for BNEF.

However, for that to happen, these analysts say several things need to fall into place. For example, electric cars will need a longer range on a single charge—and a faster charge. Seth Goldstein, an electric vehicle industry researcher at Morningstar, said that within a decade, electric cars should average 300 miles per charge, around 100 miles more than the current average.

Next, car shoppers will need to rethink “fueling” their vehicle. While gas stations blanket the country, electric charging points away from home don’t. So more charging infrastructure, like highway chargers at rest stops, needs to be built. Currently, several industry groups and companies, like General Motors and Electrify America, are working to increase the network of fast chargers.

“It is critical to put those highway chargers in place at appropriate distances so it’s not overbuilt,” said Pasquale Romano, CEO of ChargePoint. “And you’ve got to build that a bit ahead of the consumer demand because, optically, they need to see that so they can get over the hump mentally.”

Finally, there needs to be more electric vehicles—and at a lower price point—for consumer choice. Electric vehicles have also started holding their resale value in a more comparable range to gasoline-powered cars.