2013 will be a big year for electric vehicles. The initial teething phase of the industry is just about coming to a close, which means consumers can expect to see increasing economies of scale.
And that means drops in pricing all around—from EVs to the infrastructure that powers them.
Names like the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf have been tossed around, but they were the early market entrants. Now, competition is heating up, with the Chevy Spark EV, Fiat 500e, and others showing up at the recent LA Auto Show.
The Spark EV, for example, is expected to go for around $25,000 in the coming summer in California and Oregon, Time reports. That price, coming after significant rebates, will place it among the least expensive electric options.
Electric vehicular battery management is also a hot area, and there’s plenty of progress happening right now. With increasing options and a stronger market, prices will inevitably drop.
But not all is rosy. There’s some evidence that the appeal of EVs is restricted to a specific demographic within the U.S. market.
From USA Today:
A separated compilation of Internet responses by 990 electric-vehicle owners and enthusiasts by the Electric Vehicle Information Exchange, part of a consulting group called Oceanus Automotive, also found them to be different from most motorists. EV owners and fans were primarily “very well educated, upper-middle class white men in their early 50s with ideal living situations for EV charging,” usually garages where they can recharge their cars overnight, said the group’s report.
It isn’t very unexpected that affluence and high education would underpin the mindset necessary for early support for electric vehicles. Given the relatively untested and difficult state of the market right now, you might only decide to invest in an EV if you were both aware of the environmental benefits and were concerned about current emissions standards. And, of course, you’d have to be able to afford the high early costs.
And then there are other considerations. Living in an apartment, as Time points out, is a significant barrier to owning an electric vehicle, since garages are often important to owning and maintaining the vehicle.
And then there are the concerns about driving range, available charging infrastructure, and initial costs.
All things considered, EVs are making significant progress, and the coming year will see incremental improvements. But don’t expect radical changes on American roads just yet.