The electric car will not be killed, so please stop saying that
04.08.2020 - by Plug In America
The electric car will not be killed, so please stop saying that

Despite what naysayers are trying to say, the electric vehicle (EV) market is not going anywhere. A recent study showed that EV sales may drop 43% in 2020—hinting that the EV market is in trouble. Will we see a decline in EV sales in 2020? Sure, because COVID-19 is forcing consumers to stay inside and not go shopping for any car, period. Not just electric ones. But this temporary pause in vehicle purchasing doesn’t mean that EVs are out and the gas car is back in style. Here’s why.

Policymakers and consumers are catching on to the benefits of switching to electric transportation. Cities and states have committed to electrify their own fleets as a pathway to meet carbon reduction plans that cite transportation as the largest source of carbon emissions. 

Today’s current low oil prices also shouldn’t impact the future of EVs. Even if the price of gas remains low in the near-term, EVs are still a better bang for the buck in the long term with the savings on maintenance and better fuel economy compared to a gas vehicle.

COVID-19 is highlighting how reducing air pollution needs to be a priority for cities and states too. The New York Times recently reported a study that showed the linkage between air pollution and increased risk for health problems such as lung and heart conditions. Good thing that EVs have no tailpipe and, therefore, produce zero tailpipe emissions, the major cause of air pollution. Policymakers may be more inclined now to introduce even stronger policies that promote the growth of transportation electrification.

Furthermore, automakers remain committed to electrification. Despite some EV models being delayed due to COVID-19, major automakers have spent billions of dollars in research on EV technology that has been underway for years. Some automakers have literally bet their whole future on these vast investments. These long-term investments won’t just disappear. And, we weren’t expecting many new makes and models of EVs to be available for purchase in 2020 anyway. For example, Ford doesn’t have any makes or models of EVs coming out until 2021 and those are expected to be big hits with consumers: the all-electric F-150 and the Mustang Mach-E. Additionally, major automakers will also likely be again required to make and sell EVs in states that have adopted the zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate, representing nearly one half of the U.S. car market, once the legal battles play out over the EPA/NHTSA clean car standards rule.

What will impact the market is the release of Tesla’s Model Y. Currently, more than 75% of EV sales are from Tesla. The long-awaited Model Y, Tesla’s first foray into the popular small SUV market segment, began deliveries in March and will be ramping up later this year once Tesla is allowed to reopen its Fremont factory, which should have a big impact on the market. In fact, Tesla still saw a strong first quarter, despite production freezes in China and then North America, posting 88,400 global vehicle deliveries. This represents a 40 percent increase over the first quarter of 2019 for the leading EV automaker.

With declining demand for cars expected over the coming months, automakers are expected to be reducing shifts and maybe idling whole factories in response. For some, this could also be an opportunity to terminate struggling gasoline models and move more rapidly in taking their long-planned EV models into production.

 There you have it. Is the EV market in trouble right now? Our answer to that: the entire car market is in trouble as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with all of the factors discussed above, we believe that EV sales will hold up, noting that the entire auto industry may decline in the near term. We will get through this pandemic, and so too will EVs.

7 comments on “The electric car will not be killed, so please stop saying that”
  1. Bruce Ackerman, Volt and Bolt owner says:

    Good points here. Long term, EVs will prevail, both because they are far cooler cars, and because climate change and pollution concerns will inexorably ramp up, all of this driven by better and cheaper technology, batteries in particular. The big issue is that vehicles have a long life — perhaps passed through the new and then the used market, they tend to be driven for well over a decade. So the issue is sunk capital. The pandemic, by slowing down auto sales, helps reduce the sunk capital. If automakers decide to bet on a more EV-friendly federal administration, this year of slowdown could be a blessing by reducing the number of investments in ICE cars and *trucks*.

  2. Joel Pointon says:

    A very wimpy title…”please stop saying that”? Seems to just reinforce the message of nay sayers. A strong positive message would have served the industry better.

  3. Linda Nicholes says:

    As it becomes crystal clear, during the Covid-19 health crisis how important cleaner air is to our lungs and to our overall health, I believe the public will finally understand how absolutely critical cleaner transportation is to our wellbeing. If you need to be convinced of this, all you need do is look at a photo of smoggy LA compared to the beautiful, blue skies over the city now. (It currently appears that all southern California drivers must have all switched to EV’s!)

  4. Sami Khan says:

    I agree EV market is not going away, matter a fact, it the future and eventually it will become norm and part of global society, just matter of time. Not only it is clean but logically makes future sense and investments.

  5. Christof Demont-Heinrich says:

    Good points. I sure hope seeing the AMAZING clear skies in LA, New York, Atlanta, Denver, Boston, Chicago, etc. is a lead-in to more electrification and more renewable energy, ideally, 100 percent ASAP.

    However, one thing you didn’t write about, and which worries me A LOT: The insanely low prices for oil and gas, in part due to COVID and in part due to Saudi Arabian, Russian price wars, etc.

    I truly worry that this all is going to add ANOTHER 10 YEARS to the already way to long and drawn out move to EVs and 100% electrification + 100% renewable energy.

  6. Dave Salzman says:

    There are two very nice runabout or commuter 3 wheelers in the works.. The first is available now”The Arcmoto’ made in Eugene, Or. The second is the latest version of the “Aptera”. Recently brought back from China and now bing build here in the states. It was first built in So. Calif. some years back but never gained favor. The big difference now is the use of 3 wheel motors. Hope it works this time around.

  7. VoltOwner says:

    My new 2020 Bolt has only been driven home. It sits waiting for a dealer to reopen so I can drop off my 2017 as the lease has ended a few days ago. I’ve put 45 miles on the ’20 and about 60 on the ’17 in the last two months, 45 of that was going to get the new one..

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