What’s Driving Electric Cars Into the Mainstream? Plenty

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What’s Driving Electric Cars Into the Mainstream? Plenty

Financial inducements, lower battery costs and more charging options will help electric vehicles take over the road.
Charging options for electric vehicles at the workplace, public library or grocery store advance awareness and adoption. Photograph: General Motors
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What's driving #electricvehicles into the mainstream? Plenty. @GM @Guardian http://bit.ly/28XOvGU
Monday, June 27, 2016 - 11:15am

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Many electric vehicle owners love their ride, considering it their dream car. They enthusiastically share tips on, say, how to drive more electric miles. They gush that these vehicles offer a quiet ride and zippy torque that makes them feel like luxury automobiles – without the premium gas prices.

Despite all the electric vehicle (EV) fans, though, these cars have yet to merge into the mainstream. Range ­– that is, how many miles an EV can go before recharging – as well as price and limited spaces for charging remain barriers to widespread adoption.

But automakers are responding. For example, Chevrolet will begin production of its more than 200-mile-range electric family car, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, later this year. The Bolt EV will be priced at $30,000, after full federal and state tax credits. Of course, there are more reasons why such cars will gain mass appeal in cities around the world.

Monetary carrots

In the US, federal as well as 15 state rebates, along with incentives, promote adoption of EVs. Buyers can receive tax credits of $2,500 to $7,500 depending on the size of the car. Britta Gross, GM’s director of advanced vehicle commercialization policy, says these monetary offers have proved to increase sales.

Similar incentives are available in other markets. For example, Germany recently revealed its plans for $1.4bn in inducements for electric car purchases. New Zealand is rolling out a stimulus program aimed at doubling the number of EVs in New Zealand every year until 2021, with the goal of reaching 64,000 vehicles by then.

Charge into the new fueling station

According to a study by the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the country’s electric grid could support more than 150m pure electric vehicles – equivalent to 75% of vehicles on the road today. Rising renewable energy adoption will only raise that figure.

Infrastructure changes are important to increase the availability of public charging stations. Still, in 2015, only 3% to 4% of drivers charged their cars at such depots. The vast majority juice up their vehicles at home and go all day on the charge. And for those who need a boost while at the office, hundreds of workplaces are installing charging stations.

The Department of Energy launched the Workplace Charging Challenge in 2013 with the goal of achieving a tenfold increase in the number of US employers offering workplace charging by 2018. GM, for example, has more than 500 charging stations across more than 50 US facilities.

More public charging stations make EVs seem more practical. Charging options at the workplace, public library or grocery store advance awareness and adoption.

“Look at your business, look at your household, and think about why an EV makes sense,” Gross says. “There’s no good reason why there isn’t a plug-in vehicle in every driveway in this country right now.”

Reposted from TheGuardian.com/General-Motors-Partner-Zone with permission. 

Keywords: Environment & Climate Change | Britta Gross | Business & Trade | Carbon Footprint | Chevrolet Bolt EV | Ecotravel & Tourism | Environment & Climate Change | Ethical Consumerism | Ethical Production & Consumption | GM | General Motors

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