The Slow March of EV Adoption

I recently posted my two-year review of my Tesla Model Y. While I still love the car overall, it does have some drawbacks that make me believe the future of EVs will be a slower transition than some expect.

Charging on the road is still a major pain point. If you can charge at home, you’re all set. I have solar panels so I can charge for free, which is great. But once you hit the road, the challenges begin. Most automakers are still not prioritizing ultra-long-range batteries, but the longer I’ve had my EV, the more I’ve realized range is crucial. Batteries degrade over time, and now after two years, I can’t make some of the long-distance drives without stopping to charge as often as I did when the battery was new.

Public charging stations are also becoming more scarce and expensive. More non-Tesla EVs mean the Superchargers are now crowded, and new stations allow non-Tesla vehicles. I used to be able to easily fast charge at specific stations, but now they’re often occupied or unreliable. A recent trip from Vermont to Virginia would have required 6-7 stops to charge, so I just rented a minivan instead. Filling up once with gas costs less than the fees at busy Supercharger stations. The cost savings of EVs decrease significantly when you factor in fast charging on road trips.

Early adopters like myself are still satisfied overall, but I can see how frequent travelers with EVs are frustrated. Used EV values are already dropping quickly as old batteries lose range. It seems adoption is slowing – inventories are rising and automakers are offering more incentives. I canceled my Fisker Ocean pre-order, despite its 360-mile range, due to less cargo room and a $60k+ price tag. I’ll revisit when leasing options improve.

The solution may be next-gen hybrids, with 200+ miles of EV range for daily commuting coupled with an ICE for long trips. Toyota is investing in this approach with their new Prius, though its EV range is only 44 miles. I think vehicles that blend EV and ICE capabilities will ease the transition, allowing EV benefits without range anxiety on road trips.

The EV future is bright, but infrastructure and technology still have a ways to go. Rather than a rapid overhaul, the transition to electric may be a slow march as charging, range, and affordability challenges are gradually addressed. Patience and realistic expectations will serve us well.

The shift to electric vehicles still faces hurdles. For now, carefully weigh the pros and cons of owning an EV given your driving needs. Have realistic expectations about range, charging options, and maintenance costs to make the best decision for you.

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