Electric Vehicle Deployment – Where Should We Be Today?

By Melissa C. Lott | February 20, 2013

Guest Post by Tali Trigg

Electric vehicles (EVs) have come under siege in the media in the past two years, with several observers pointing to shortcomings like driving range, performance in cold weather and resale value as indicators of their imminent demise. Do we know for sure that EVs will overcome all these challenges? No. But we are seeing impressive year-on-year sales, declining battery costs, a decarbonizing power sector, and cities around the world committed to reducing congestion and local air pollution. For these reasons, EVs should not be dismissed and are among the best options to decarbonize the transport sector while boosting a flagging automotive sector, creating jobs, and reducing local air pollution.

The real question asked by few is this: where should EVs be today? The answer should probably be framed in terms of technological development and a close proxy for measuring development would be another vehicle such as the hybrid electric vehicle (HEV). In Figure 1, you can see new vehicle sales versus over time since the vehicle’s initial market launch (date of introduction in parentheses). This figure shows that all major battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) are on track or doing better than what the Prius HEV was doing at a similar time. Of course, this is not strictly an apples-to-apples comparison (it does not take overall vehicle market into account, nor potential subsidy effects, for example), but does help us evaluate a true answer, beyond the press eager for a fail-or-victory message.

Read more: Electric Vehicle Deployment – Where Should We Be Today? | Plugged In, Scientific American Blog Network.

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