As the realities of climate change show themselves more and more, it is important for us as a society to make what changes we can to mitigate the damage we do to our environment. Reducing the emissions from vehicles, large and small, is one way we can make a difference.
The vehicles with the least emissions are electric. Electric vehicles (EVs) do not emit greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. By promoting electric vehicles in big cities and rural areas, the United States could make significant progress toward the emissions goals that have been set for 2030.
Make no mistake, electric vehicle adoption has been on the rise over the last few years. By focusing on how to promote electric vehicles to not only current drivers, but to the drivers of the future, that adoption can be further facilitated.
Promoting electric vehicles is a multi-faceted task. Those facets include actions that will create an environment suitable to EV usage, that will financially benefit manufacturers and drivers of EVs, and that will set the stage for continued usage of EVs in the future.
When it comes to setting the stage for the future, NTC is in a unique position to inform young people about the importance of individual actions to conserve one’s own environment. Those lessons about conservation and how electricity is used in a community can lay the groundwork for future electric vehicle business.
With all that said—why switch to electric cars? What are the benefits? What keeps people from making the EV transition? How are people currently incentivized to drive EVs? And how do we go about promoting electric vehicles and their usage into the future?
What Makes People Hesitant About EVs?
EV demand has risen in recent years. However, there are still many people that are resistant to the idea of driving an electric vehicle. These resistances generally fall into one of three concerns.
- Vehicle size and capabilities
- Range per battery charge
Let’s look at each of these concerns to see how they have been addressed so far and what is the forecast for those concerns in the future.
Vehicle Size and Capabilities
When electric vehicles first began to be marketed as an everyday vehicle option, the cars were not exactly aesthetically pleasing. They were typically small—compacts and hatchbacks were the most common EVs.
This is no longer the case. EVs are now manufactured in all sizes and categories. There are EV models that range from sedans to trucks to city buses. A great deal of engineering know-how has been poured into developing more powerful and capable EVs by all the major automobile manufacturers.
This is in order to take advantage of financial incentives and to stay in compliance with EV regulations and production/adoption goals that federal and state government agencies have set.
Range Per Battery Charge
Historically, this has been a big obstacle for those promoting electric vehicles. With internal combustion engines, there is a plentiful infrastructure in place. If you run out of gas, the chances are good that you aren’t too far from a gas station.
The fear with EVs is that a driver will run low on their charge, and not have access to a station that they can use to recharge their battery. For many consumers, that means that EVs are only for short trips.
And there was a time when the range for an EV on one full charge was less than 100 miles. However, improvements in technology have increased EV ranges to between 200 and 300 miles.
Additionally, the infrastructure of charging stations has been steadily improving. Many shopping centers in and around cities have EV charging stations. And charging stations are spreading into more and more rural areas every day.
All this means that the need to maintain an internal combustion vehicle for long distance trips is becoming less and less necessary. EV reach is becoming increasingly viable for all of a person’s transportation needs.
The last hesitancy for many people when it comes to adopting EV usage is the perceived cost. New technology is always more expensive. Just look at the prices of the newest cell phone models for evidence of that claim.
Luckily, because modern EV technology has been on the market for several years, strides have been made to reduce the prices of major vehicle components such as the batteries. Previously owned EVs have also begun to show up for sale, which also helps reduce the costs for some individuals’s EV adoption.
As electric vehicles become more and more commonplace, both as new and used vehicles, the costs will continue to level out. And the costs of purchasing an EV are also mitigated by tax rebates and incentives from governments at the state and federal level.
Benefits of Making the EV Transition
While the obstacles to EV adoption for many people are being addressed and overcome to various degrees, the benefits of choosing an EV are only increasing. There are two primary categories of benefits that drive people toward the EV market.
- Environmental Benefits
- Financial Benefits
As previously stated, EVs do not emit chemicals which exacerbate climate change. That makes them a very important tool for an individual who is trying to reduce their negative environmental impact.
This is not to say that EVs do not have any detrimental effects on the environment. The power used to manufacture them and charge their batteries is still largely produced by fossil fuel-burning power plants, for example.
However, as solar power, wind power, and other alternatives to fossil fuels become more prominent parts of electricity generation, that impact lessens. And, over time, an EV still uses significantly fewer fossil fuels than an internal combustion engine.
All this is to say that promoting electric vehicles as the environmentally soundest vehicle option is still true. Month over month, year over year, and all through an EV’s life cycle, it will have a much smaller negative environmental impact than a similarly sized internal combustion vehicle.
State and federal government agencies have set strong goals for emissions reduction and EV adoption. To help achieve these goals, financial incentives such as tax rebates have been put in place for EV owners.
And those tax benefits aren’t only in place for individual citizens. Companies that make an EV fleet transition will also see financial benefits as they file their taxes. But taxes aren’t the only way EVs benefit their owners financially.
The cost of charging an EV battery is significantly lower than the gasoline costs of an internal combustion engine. Drivers are charged per kilowatt hour when recharging their batteries. For smaller EVs, a recharge at a charging station would come to between $16 and $18, depending on the speed of the charge (fast charging generally costs more). Larger EVs may cost $20 dollars for a standard recharge.
Maintenance costs are generally lower for EVs as well. So over the lifetime of your EV, you can expect to pay less than you would for a vehicle that runs on gasoline.
Promoting Electric Vehicles
In order to drive up EV demand, promotion of electric vehicles needs to address the obstacles to adoption and highlight the benefits. It is also important to get the word out about EVs to both current and future drivers.
That can mean highlighting the spread of EV infrastructure, so that people know how common charging stations are. It also means demonstrating the capabilities of larger models and drawing attention to the increased range of modern EVs.
Another way to promote electric vehicles is to highlight the effectiveness of electric city buses. Many cities have begun replacing their old buses with EV buses. They have the same capacity for carrying people where they need to go without spitting exhaust out at the people walking by on the sidewalk.
Shedding light on the relative air quality of cities with more EV adoption as compared to cities with less EV traffic can help improve the connection that people have in their minds between EVs and positive environmental impact.
Also, making sure that people are aware of the investments the government has made toward EVs is an important part of promoting electric vehicles. The Infrastructure and Jobs Act of 2021 set aside billions of dollars to expand the availability of charging stations while the Inflation Reduction Act extended rebates for people who buy new EVs and provided tax credits to purchase EVs.
As for promoting electric vehicles to future drivers—that’s where quality educational programming can be of great service.
Educating Future EV Drivers
Young people often fantasize about the cars they will drive in the future. While some of them will focus on Formula 1 or other race cars, others will think about their future vehicles a bit differently.
Students who learn about their impact on the world around them will associate EVs with environmental benefits. They will also probably want cars that look good, but EV models have become more attractive every year.
So how do these students learn about their environmental impact? What is a great way to teach young people of differing grade levels about conservation and how electricity powers a community and even how to save money and manage personal finance?
The answer is NTC. Our programs on conservation teach students about how they can impact the world around them and do their part to help improve the environment. Our programs about power and electricity help teach them how they can positively impact their community’s resources. Our programs about personal finance can help them learn to recognize opportunities to save money.
None of these programs are designed to tell young people to buy EVs, of course. What they do is show students the world around them and teach them how to recognize the way an EV could benefit them.
NTC shows students the pathways they can take to continue learning about important subjects. Those pathways will then help those young people identify opportunities to make a difference and make positive decisions as they grow into adulthood.
Electric Vehicles are the Present and the Future
Electric vehicles have come a long way. The increased demand from drivers for EVs is proof of that. And the ways in which EVs have been overcoming the major obstacles that stood in the way of many people switching over to them gives a very positive EV forecast for the future.
Promoting electric vehicles has become easier now that they come in a variety of models and styles, have better public charging infrastructure in cities and in rural areas, and offer numerous pathways toward saving money.
These improvements will continue to expand. And by educating the public about what EVs can do, the increased adoption of electric vehicles for both personal and civic and business transportation will continue apace.