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When Will Electric Vehicle Sales Overtake Gas Automobiles?

Pierce Keesee
Pierce Keesee
January 30, 2022
When Will Electric Vehicle Sales Overtake Gas Automobiles?

Electric vehicles have become the norm for car companies around the world. Indeed, the market for electric vehicles is growing rapidly, which has led to a lot of people wondering, when will electric cars take over gas cars? The question can be therefore transformed into: will electric cars become the norm for Americans?

According to a report by Bloomberg NEF (BNEF), EVs and other zero-emission vehicles will make up 70% of new vehicle sales by 2040. This estimation is not influenced by any new economic or policy initiative pushed by governments. It’s simply due to the fact that EVs are getting cheaper while more and more automakers are producing them at accessibly low prices.

With the price of electric vehicles expected to continue dropping in the coming years, many are wondering, when will electric cars take over gas cars? Electric cars are often more fuel-efficient, safer, and environmentally friendly, which is why they have become mainstream.

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Electric Cars vs. Gas Cars

Over the past few decades, there has been an ongoing debate between proponents of electric cars and gas ones. Most people know that EVs are more environmentally friendly—they don't use as much or any gasoline (a non-renewable resource). Instead, they depend on electricity, which can come from renewable sources like solar or wind energy. 

Gas engines emit large amounts of pollutants into the air, which is especially concerning for countries whose economy depends largely on exports of oil. As such, many governments around the world introduced high taxes to discourage citizens from purchasing gas vehicles and invest in greener alternatives instead.

Electric vehicles often cost less to maintain. Even though electric car batteries are initially more expensive, they last longer than gas engines and need to be changed less frequently. EVs are also cheaper to fuel. It's no secret that gasoline is a very expensive commodity these days because of the taxes imposed on it by most governments around the world that use oil revenues to cover their budgets. Electricity prices depend on market forces, but they tend to fluctuate much less than gas prices do.

Electric cars are often faster, too—some EVs can go from 0-60mph in 4 seconds, while comparable gas engine vehicles often take about 5 seconds to reach such speeds. 

The Tesla Model S P85D has an insane amount of power (you won't feel the need to have more), and it's also one of the safest cars on the road. The Model S scored an overall 5.4 stars on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tests, receiving top scores in every category.

Newer EVs offer a more than decent range and can be recharged relatively quickly with DC chargers. Here's what you need to know about DC charging: it's fast, really fast. It typically takes 30 minutes to get an 80% charge. However, there are currently only around 17,000 DC fast chargers in the USA. This number is increasing steadily, but it's still fairly low.

There are two other types of charging you should be aware of: AC charging and Level 2 DC charging. These usually take much longer than DC charging, but they're less expensive to build into EVs. Both will likely increase in speed as the technology advances over time.

Charging your electric vehicle is one of the biggest headaches for many–that’s why you should download our free Optiwatt app to see when it’s cheapest to charge your electric car! 


Electric Vehicles and Green Initiatives

The Tesla Model S, Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf, and other popular electric cars are all 100% electric—no gasoline, diesel, or any other kind of fossil fuel is needed to power them. These cars may be much more expensive than your average gas vehicle, but the costs will match in time as governments around the world start taxing carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels. At that point, it'll be much cheaper to buy an electric car than a gas car.

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are much greener than their gas vehicle counterparts; they don't generate CO2, NOx, or SOx gases, which means they don't contribute to climate change or produce carcinogenic compounds like benzene—which can cause cancer. Driving an electric car is simply much better for the environment and not just because an electric car doesn't burn any fuel.

The US government has already done a lot to promote the use of EVs in America. President Biden set a goal for 50% of car sales to be electric by 2030, and his administration is doing what it can to help achieve that objective. They're offering a $7,500 federal tax credit for people who purchase an EV. 


Gas Cars: Pros and Cons

The invention of the modern gasoline-powered automobile was one of the great milestones in history. Throughout the 19th century, people were fascinated by the idea of personal transport, but it wasn't until Michael Faraday developed a motor that could power a car that things really got started. Gasoline-powered cars are on the road to this day, though they've evolved quite a bit since their humble beginnings. 

The invention of the internal combustion engine fueled the second wave of cars. Henry Ford put an affordable car on the market, and people were soon trading in their horses for Model Ts. Gasoline engines now represent 90% of all automobile engines today in the US.

Sales have been steadily growing as more manufacturers bring out new electric vehicle models. However, this does not mean that gas cars will eventually go away entirely. 

When Will Electric Cars Take over Gas Cars?

The following tables illustrate how far electric vehicle sales would need to grow in order for them to overtake gas cars. To have almost exclusively electric vehicles on the road, new plug-in sales would have to escalate to 100% in the next 15 years:

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/03/10/climate/electric-vehicle-fleet-turnover.html

Hurdles for Electric Cars to Overcome

In order for the widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) to occur, several issues need to be overcome. Research and development (R&D) need to continue as batteries can and need to be improved upon.

The following factors serve as barriers to electric car sales overtaking gas cars:

  • On average, gas cars still have fewer upfront costs than most electric vehicles on the market. Electric vehicles are much more expensive than gas cars because of the cost of batteries.
  • Electric vehicle owners must stop at charging stations more often than they would at gas stations. This is because of their limited range per battery charge (124 to 304 miles) compared to a full tank (300 miles).
  • The average American drives around 13,500 miles a year. If they want all-electric cars, this means the infrastructure for recharging needs to be universal and ample in all locations.
  • The life cycle impact of manufacturing batteries is often worse than manufacturing traditional internal combustion engines due to the number of greenhouse gases released during their production process. 

The Future of EVs

Electric vehicles will eventually take over, but it won't happen overnight. There are still many factors to consider. The next few years will prove interesting. EVs are not out of the woods, but they're getting closer and closer to achieving full mainstream status.

Right now, the cost of an electric vehicle is roughly similar to a conventional gas-powered car, and lower maintenance costs make up for some of the initial higher purchase prices. However, with battery technology improving, it's reasonable to assume that electric vehicles could drop in price over time as they become more widely adopted.

If you’re the owner of an electric car, you should register it here for free to make use of all of Optiwatt’s awesome features to make sure you get the best out of your car.

Fuel your savings. Spend 70% or less with every charge!

Pierce Keesee
Pierce Keesee

Technology enthusiast with background in battery building and electronic repair

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