According to AAPEX, adoption of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in the U.S. has increased substantially in recent years — they accounted for 6% of new vehicle registrations in 2022 and are forecast to reach 56% of vehicles sold in 2035 and 81% in 2045. This would translate to 19% of the U.S. fleet being BEVs or hybrids in 2035.
Personally, I’ve long been intrigued by the idea of electric cars. I know they’re not the green panacea that some proclaim them to be. Making (and disposing of) those batteries doesn’t come without an environmental cost, and the electricity used can come from many sources, some distinctly not green. However, I do think they’re a step in the right direction toward better sustainability. But what would it take to get more people to make the leap?
As the proud new owner of a 2020 Tesla Model 3, I can only tell you what made me finally take the leap last month. And that was knowing people who already had done so — early adopters, I suppose. Riding in my friends’ EVs, getting behind the wheel myself, and seeing how simple the recharging aspect was (and how prevalent the stations are today) made the decision seem much easier.
Lifestyle changes helped, too. I now work from home full time, so gone are the days of a 50-mile daily roundtrip commute into the city. Most of my days consist of not driving at all or perhaps driving a dozen miles — getting groceries or driving my son to and from lacrosse practice. (Plus, my husband still drives a gasoline car, so we have that at our disposal for longer trips.)
Even the home charging is easier than I would have guessed. The included mobile charger plugs into the 110V outlet in my garage, so I’m putting off the decision to have an electrician come install a 240V outlet. The 110V is slower; it gets me about 5 miles of charge every hour, so roughly 120 miles every day. But as I rarely drive that much, the slow charge is fine for my needs.
One argument I always heard was the slowness of the on-the-go charging. I’ve found it to be convenient and fast. Charging to full with a Supercharger took about 20 minutes for me, and I was surprised how many were in and around my mid-sized city. They’re placed unassumingly in the corners of supermarket parking or gas stations; I’d never noticed them before. And should we take a road trip, the on-board computer knows where the chargers are along our route, when to stop at one, and how many charging slots are open. The car even starts warming up the battery as we’re closing in on one, to optimize charging times. Brilliant.
Maybe that’s my favorite thing about it. I feel like I’m driving a well-designed computer that’s constantly being upgraded with the latest software. The engineer in me appreciates that, and maybe I’ll pay it forward by showing more of my friends that they, too, can take the leap.
Filed Under: EV Engineering, Commentary • expert insight