On the road in the US this month, I’m noticing the vehicles around me as well as the conversations about technology and transportation. The past decade has seen some memorable moves when it comes to electric and hybrid cars, the most visible in North America and Europe is definitely the Prius. President Obama announced last week in his State of the Union address that the US car industry was back, and everywhere I look there are ads for new cars, and the roads are packed with them (gas powered). But despite all the rhetoric by business or political leaders, and the success of the Prius a few years ago, are people really buying electric cars in any significant numbers? Some new reports say yes, they predict sales of electric vehicles are a sure bet for the foreseeable future. Me, I don’t see anyone in the New York/New Jersey area worrying much about buying electric or even hybrid. Seems like that idea has been put on the back burner until better times.
The newest research that shows statistics that counter my less than bright outlook on electrics, comes from the research organization IDTechEx. This organization, which is not from the auto industry, nor from the government or any kind of advocacy group, claims that all things point to steadily increasing moves toward electric cars. They cite reasons including: better batteries, greater range, lower prices, more power generated from brake systems, and even the use of photovoltaics in combination with electric batteries. They say that by 2025, “35% of all cars sold will be electric, 25% of which will be hybrids and 10% pure EVs .” Beyond the major car economy of the west, they point to China where 32% of the world’s electric vehicles will come from. Currently in Japan, 25% of all vehicles sold are electric. A solid list of signs that counter my skeptical observations as I look at what Americans are buying and driving at the moment. So perhaps the numbers don’t lie, the era of the electric car is here… somewhere.