For more than a decade, Plug In America has been telling anyone who will listen that electric drive is the future. It is simply a better technology for getting from place to place. It’s cleaner, more convenient, more economical, safer, and a lot more fun to drive. Those of you with long memories will recall that Plug In America got its start protesting the crushing of the EV1 and other early electric cars.
This week, General Motors concurred, and declared its intention to move to an all-electric fleet, with at least 20 all-electric models by 2023, just five model years from now, barely a wink of the eye in the automotive product planning cycle. No doubt, the engineering and market success of the Chevy Bolt has helped that decision. (By the way, the Bolt sold a record 2,632 vehicles in September.)
General Motors joins Volvo which recently made a similar commitment. In the past few days, General Motors was quickly followed by a Ford announcement that it was scaling up its electric efforts and an announcement from Daimler (maker of Mercedes) that it would offer electric versions of all models by 2023. Can you spot a trend?
While we’d like to think that this is all just because Plug In America’s message has finally been heard by automakers, recent declarations from China—the world’s largest auto market—along with France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom about their plans to phase out internal combustion engine cars probably played a big role, too. California is now also hinting that it will soon be joining these other jurisdictions.
Does this mean that our job is done, and after a solid 100-year run, the internal combustion engine is off to join its cousins, the horse and buggy and the eight-track tape? Not yet. All of the above commitments from countries and automakers will be difficult to keep and backsliding is bound to happen. Despite their potential, EVs still make up less than 1% of the U.S. auto fleet. These commitments show us that an electric future really IS possible, but our support will still be essential to ensure that it all comes to fruition.
These commitments show us that an electric future really IS possible, but our support will still be essential to ensure that it all comes to fruition.