New electric vehicles are improving, but can technology catch up to consumers’ demands?
I have three small children who each have a car seat, I live in the city and I coach tee-ball two nights a week. I would love an electric vehicle (EV) to help carry my load, but the realities of my life, as well as the state of the EV market, make it, in a word … difficult.
EV technology is improving each and every day. In fact, Honda just announced its new Fit EV: The EPA rated the vehicle with an all-time high 118 MPGe, annual operating costs of about $500 per year (the average new car on the road consumes a little more than $1,800 annually in gasoline), and a range of 82 miles before having to plug it in for a recharge.
In addition, sales of existing EV vehicles – particularly the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf – continue to improve. In fact, June 2012 represented the second-best month ever for the Volt, selling more than 1,750 vehicles.
However, the purchase price for these cars continues to be high – near $30,000, including incentives. Car manufacturers are finding new and creative ways to keep the cost of ownership down. For the Honda Fit Electric, car owners/lessees will not have to pay for the car’s collision coverage. In addition, maintenance costs and roadside assistance service will be included in the lease.
The hope with these types of incentives is to encourage other early adopters to snatch these automobiles up as quickly as possible, which may help bring down future prices for the rest of us.
With my gas-guzzling truck on the constant go, I am anxious to see steady improvements (and enlargements) for EVs. While I’m not in a position to be an early adopter, I see a heavy dose of city driving, rarely exceeding the 85 mile threshold on any given day. And with additional infrastructure in place to handle EV vehicles, I’m ready to make the move.
But for now, I’m at the mercy of many other potential EV consumers. Hopefully their perseverance and manufacturers’ breakthroughs will help make the EV market more accessible for others like me.
So tell me, are you an early adopter? If not, what is your biggest hurdle to purchasing an EV?
Article by Tim Laughlin, appearing courtesy Xcel Energy Blog.